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Coping with scan phobia

Posted by

I'm not sure where to ask this so the 'general' forum seemed appropriate.

A relative of mine has had bowel cancer surgery from which she has recovered remarkably well. But she freaks out when having a scan, because of the noise she says. Having never had one myself I don't know whether this is reasonable or she is being hypersensitive. She has had CT and MRI, which she had to ask them to stop. The scans so far show a mark on her liver which is probably a cyst, but they want to investigate further.

They now want to do a PET and she is refusing unless she is sedated. The hospital receptionist she spoke to said that isn't possible. 

Any comments or experience?  She is 78, if that is relevant. 

Posted by


You have certainly found the right place to ask this question.

I know exactly how your relative feels, the scanning equipment can be a very noisy place to be in with all the banging the magnets are making, I'm not surprised she gets freaked out because depending on the scan she could be in for sometime.

It's probably not possible to sedate her as more than likely they would need an anaesthetist or a doctor to administer it as the radiology staff are not trained to do so.

Anytime I've had a scan, and I've had a few, I am given earplugs and headphones to wear to suppress the scanner sounds, I'm also given the opportunity to take in a favourite CD or audio book and it is put into their CD player and whatever's on the disc comes through the headphones and blocks out the sound completely and maybe your friend should ask about this facility (it's normally tells me on my appointment letter that I can do it).

I'm more concerned about going into the scanner and how close it is to me, I always feel very claustrophobic and sometimes have an eye mask on and fall asleep whilst in it and have to wakened when they're finished.

I hope my experiences of being scanned help you to understand how your relative is feeling and you are able to pass on my suggestions to her.


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