Archive for ‘general health’

October 13, 2015

Dr. Harrison Will Be Taking Your Calls on Dr. Mirabile’s Radio Show!

ASK-THE-DOCTOR-FINAL-BLACK-3[1]Great news! Our very own Dr. Linda Harrison will be the guest on Dr. James Mirabile’s radio show Ask the Doctor this Saturday, October 17th from 1-2p on KCMO Talk Radio (710 AM / 103.7 FM). We’re very excited about this!

This weekend’s show will also feature Carli Good, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City. Dr. Harrison and Ms. Good are friends and cohorts in the fight against breast cancer. The show will focus on Komen’s role in the community as well as barriers that keep women from getting life-saving breast cancer screening.

Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, both ladies have incredibly busy schedules. However, they are very happy to take some time out to answer your questions, and share some of what they’ve learned, in years of service to women’s health.

Please tune in! Please ask questions! Please have a wonderful weekend and take good care of yourself!

You can listen live here.

Submit your questions online here.

July 31, 2015

Vaccines Save Lives!

Vaccines save lives. In a world before them, many people of all ages died from common and painful diseases. The adoption of vaccines into society brought about a radical change – a reduction of mortality across all ages, especially true for children. For pediatricians who lived through this medical revolution, it was time for cheers and champagne.

Now vaccines are again in the news – this time for sad reasons. Not everyone is getting them, and as a result, people are suffering. The good news is: we have the power to affect change. We can share the important message that vaccines work and help make sure that everyone gets their vaccines.

This is why Diagnostic Imaging Centers is proud to support Vaccines Work KC! On Sunday, August 2nd from 2p-4p at Mill Creek Park (better known as J. C. Nichols Fountain on the Plaza).

We believe in the power of knowledge and medicine – that the two can go hand in hand and make the world a healthier and safer place for all. We invite you to join us for family fun and sharing of knowledge – see you Sunday!

More details can be found here.

 

 

“Immunizations are the cornerstone of public health. I’ve seen many of the  diseases of the past  that are preventable with immunizations. When I was a young doctor I saw some of  these diseases and the damage they would do to children. I’ve seen countless lives saved by vaccines.

We don’t just vaccinate  for our health and safety, but for that of our children and our grandchildren and their children too. If we don’t continue to vaccinate today, the diseases like polio and meningitis that we have vaccines for and can eradicate will return to cripple, infect or kill children in the future. The future generations will  be asking why we didn’t do more to put an end to these diseases like we have done for smallpox.

“An act of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” This is why it’s important to get the word out and take care of our children now. We need to vaccinate everyone to put an end to diseases that are preventable! Vaccines work!”

Dr. Edna Perez-Koury

December 19, 2014

Avoid the Ahhh-Choos!

Blowing her nose by oddharmonic via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)As doctors we have become familiar with germs.  When you have them you often need us to help with diagnosis and successful treatment.  We want to help get you on the road to your best possible health!

 

But as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And because the flu has no magical (or scientific) cure specifically, this season is all about prevention.

 

So what can you do in order to avoid having to stop by your friendly neighborhood doctor’s office?   You are feeling great and want to stay that way?  Here are a few handy tips:

 

  • Manage your health: Eat well, sleep well and get a good amount of exercise. Everything you do that’s good for you is good for your immune system!

 

  • Manage your germ contact: Disinfect surfaces and keep a safe distance from others when you feel you are coming down with something, or someone in your life is sick.

 

  • Manage yourself: Cover that cough and wash your hands! Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth too, germs love to sneak in through those places.

 

These may sound like simple solutions but old habits are sometimes hard to break. Stay vigilant, and develop good practices.

 

Oh, and if you’ve heard the kerfluffle about this year’s flu shot, keep in mind that while it is less effective than intended due to mutations, it is still effective. Get your vaccine – and get a better shot at staying healthy!

(Image credit: Blowing her nose by oddharmonic via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

June 4, 2014

We Love… Best Bones Forever!

Best Bones Forever by Office of Women's Health via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public DomainAs doctors, we find many people and organizations we love – from patients who we care about deeply to nonprofits that are assisting others on the road to their best possible health. Today we’d like to highlight a really great initiative: Best Bones Forever!

 

Best Bones Forever focuses on the bone health of young girls with the hope of avoiding bone health issues later in life. You know the old saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure – well, it’s true! Taking care of yourselves when you are young can help avoid a world of aches further down the line.

 

An initiative of the Office of Women’s Health, the hope is to help prevent conditions like osteoporosis, or loss of bone mass that affects many elderly women. Bone loss can lead to a higher risk of fractures which can be associated with life-threatening complications and side effects which have a profound impact on quality of life. As it turns out, keeping bones strong now means having stronger bones in the future. So whether it’s exercise or a diet with the proper nutrition, the aim is to help girls develop a lifestyle of healthiness that will last them a lifetime and result in less risk for bone loss as aging occurs. And for their parents, some handy notes can be found here.

 

(Oh, and you can like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for more helpful, healthful information!)

(Image credit: Best Bones Forever by Office of Women’s Health via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public Domain)

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

April 17, 2014

Shoulder Pain: When You Can’t Shrug It Off

Shoulder joint by National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases (NIAMS) via Wikipedia Copright Public DomainThe shoulder is a complex joint of mythical strength (at least if your name is Atlas and you’re carrying the weight of the world on it).

 

From baseball pitching to carrying little kids to lifting overhead, the shoulder gets quite the workout. It’s important to take care of this joint – especially if it’s been injured. One of the most common injuries is to the rotator cuff tendons.

 

There are four tendons surrounding the shoulder to provide stability and assist in the normal range of motion. Pain and limited range of motion are often the first indicators that something could be wrong with those tendons. They can be inflamed, torn partially or torn full-thickness.

 

After an initial evaluation with your primary healthcare professional, you may be sent for imaging. Typically, this area can be evaluated with MRI or an  ultrasound. Some shoulder injuries are difficult to see without some fluid in the joint – this is when an MR arthrogram might be performed. MR arthrograms can evaluate partial tendon tears and provides an excellent evaluation of the labrum or cartilage lining the joint. Labral injuries may be seen in patients who have had a dislocation of their shoulder joint as well as in athletes.

 

Some of the rotator cuff tendons sit underneath the acromioclavicular joint – the smaller part of the joint on top of the shoulder. Changes in the acromioclavicular joint, either differences in the shape of the acromion or degenerative arthritis, may predispose you to problems with the rotator cuff tendons or may lead to chronic tendon irritation or tears.

 

The shoulder is a complex joint, and vital to many daily functions we don’t even think about, such as brushing your hair or lifting your groceries. So if you have an injury, pain or develop difficulty in moving your shoulder, don’t hesitate to see your doctor.

 

And remember – prevention is the best medicine! Stronger shoulders are less likely to incur injury, and strengthening the rotator cuff can be achieved. Here’s a Real Simple way to improve your shoulder health.

(Photo credit: Shoulder joint by National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases (NIAMS) via Wikipedia Copright Public Domain)

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

April 15, 2014

Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes by james.swenson13 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Over the next few posts we’re going to highlight some common injuries affecting familiar joints. As the title suggests, we’re starting near the top.

 

But before we get ahead of ourselves and start talking about these individual parts, let’s talk about how we image them…

 

There are many techniques for imaging the body, and the ones we use depend upon the type of injury and the most likely tissues injured. Here’s a gimme: broken bones? We’ll start with an x-ray – perhaps a CT if it’s complex. Here’s a not-so-gimme: soft tissue injury like torn ligament? Options here include MRI, ultrasound and arthrograms.

 

First off, not every injury is imaged. Why? Sometimes a careful exam by your doctor can answer the question – imaging in these cases is not done, unless symptoms do not improve in the expected manner. There are carefully developed rules helping your doctors determine who will benefit the most from imaging in the case of many of the common injuries, for instance ankle sprains.

 

After your doctor’s initial evaluation, you may be sent for imaging. In many cases this will start with conventional films (x-rays) to exclude fractures or other bony changes. Beyond that, a patient will be directed based on the clinical concern.

 

Imaging of patients who have multiple sites of injury from a fall or motor vehicle accident for instance may be done with CT. This allows quick evaluation of bones as well as some types of soft tissue injuries. Multiple structures can be evaluated at the same time with CT, such as looking for fractures in the lower back, while also assessing the abdomen for signs of damage to internal organs.

 

Soft tissue damage, such as torn cartilage or ligaments, will often not be apparent on a conventional film. Visualizing soft tissues can be done with ultrasound, MRI or an arthrogram (where contrast material or dye is introduced into the joint space). We may follow the arthrogram with imaging with MRI or CT.

 

So… we will start our journey of the joints with your shoulders! (See you Thursday!)

 

(Photo credit: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes by james.swenson13 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

March 18, 2014

Radiation Risk Management

Everyone is exposed to radiation in daily life. It’s a part of living on our planet. As radiologists, we are schooled in managing radiation in the imaging of patients.

There are many indications for the use of imaging studies using radiation to image the body – from finding fractures to finding cancers. Your referring clinician and your radiologist constantly weigh the pluses/minuses of using radiation in order to answer a clinical question. There are imaging techniques such as ultrasound and MRI which do NOT use radiation. As radiologists, one of our jobs after it has been determined that an imaging test is necessary is to make sure the radiation dose is appropriate – using the least possible dose to answer the question.

Radiation Exposure Is Measured and Focused

The pioneers of radiology faced the dangers of radiation without knowledge of its strength – many of those pioneers died from the effects of the radiation on their bodies . As the field of study evolved, radiation was over-used to treat benign conditions, like acne… and even initially for non-medical things like shoe-sizing (no kidding). The negative effects of large doses of radiation were soon recognized, and management of radiation dose is an integral part of the training of today’s radiologists and radiology technologists.

Radiologists regularly work with physicists to assess and address dose. Together, we wrote this: What Does Radiation Safety Mean to DIC?

Exposure Doesn’t Always Mean Cancer Risk Increase

Modern techniques focus on limiting radiation to the area being examined and using the lowest dose possible to get the images needed to make the diagnosis. These principles govern our use of radiation in imaging. For almost all, imaging tests and the radiation from them will NOT have a detrimental effect. The risk of developing cancer from radiation related to medical imaging is theoretic – and most of the information has been extrapolated or guessed at from dose and information related to survivors of the atomic bombs.

Radiation Therapy Is a Different Story

Radiation therapy to the body to treat malignancies is a different story – here larger doses of radiation are being used to destroy a cancer -and save a life. Radiation oncologists make every effort to limit the field of radiation to the area of cancer, sparing adjacent tissues whenever possible.  Some sensitive tissues may be in the field of view. For example, if the breasts are in the field of radiation, there may be an increase in the risk for breast cancer. This is why patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma with treatment with radiation to the chest are recommended to screen with breast MRI 10 years after completion of radiation therapy. This will supplement mammographic screening (starting at the usual age) in these patients. Other sensitive tissues and the risks of radiation therapy to them should be discussed with your physician and radiation oncologist.

In summary, radiation is never used lightly. As radiologists, we work carefully with a dedicated team and look at the big picture of your overall good health. Your best possible health is our number one priority.

March 13, 2014

Self-Exams for Men (and Women)

Operation Truck Nuts - Successful by The359 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Cropped

Operation Truck Nuts – Successful by The359 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Cropped

Okay, we’re slightly nerdy.

Aside from being fans of thought-gems on TED.com you may have noticed on our other blog, MammographyKC.com that we’re also fans of Lifehacker. We can’t help it – there are thought-gems there too. Recently, they did a report on Three Self Exams Everyone Should Perform. Because early detection saves lives, and we as radiologists have the capacity to assist in early detection, we are great fans of self-exams.

But there’s so much to learn!

Self-exams put the power in your hands. You are the first line of defense when it comes to taking care of yourself, from eating right to exercise to noticing unusual changes in your body. But you have to pay attention! This is why we loved the article so much – it encourages you to pay attention.

We’ve written about breast self-exams on our MammographyKC blog (here) so today we’d like to use the Lifehacker article as a jumping-off point to talk about men’s health and the scrotal self-exam.

Men’s health is something we care about too.

The Lifehacker article gives good tips on how a man can perform his own scrotal self-exam. Knowing how to do it and what to look for are step one!

Testicular cancer is a leading cancer type in young men – and if found early, most testicular cancers respond well to treatment. Scrotal self-exam after puberty is one of the ways of finding scrotal changes that may be a sign of this cancer. Testicular cancer will often present as a firm or hard persistent lump in the testes.

If you find a scrotal lump on self-exam, step one is to get in to see you doctor. He will perform a careful physical exam and may also evaluate blood work. Depending on the results of those tests, you may be referred to a radiologist for a scrotal ultrasound.

Earlier on this blog, Dr. Sid Crawley talked about scrotal ultrasound and what to expect. It’s a non-invasive and relatively quick procedure. Besides masses or lumps what other symptoms may prompt a request for a  scrotal ultrasound? Pain, feeling of heaviness/fullness, infertility and scrotal trauma are also reasons men may be referred for scrotal ultrasound. Remember any persistent scrotal changes should not be ignored!

What can we see on scrotal ultrasound?

Scrotal ultrasound examines the scrotum and contents including the two testicles, spermatic cords, and each epididymis. The exam evaluates for the presence or absence of masses within or outside the testes, infection, trauma, fluid accumulation (hydroceles) and testicular torsion (an abnormal twisting of the testes which causes blood circulation to be impeded and can lead to permanent damage or loss of the testes). The sonographic evaluation will help guide your clinician to the appropriate course of treatment.

Just as we talk about in the breast, all lumps are not cancers. Many benign cysts and other benign masses may feel like a lump or knot. The beauty of scrotal ultrasound is being able to examine right where you are having symptoms, and answering the question of what is this lump!

A quick word about scrotal trauma – many times, trauma to the scrotum prompts a first scrotal self-exam. If you feel a lump do not assume the lump must be from the trauma – one of the most common scenarios for finding testicular cancer is the patient who first feels a lump after an episode of trauma.

Take a breath.

Most often, the scrotal ultrasound will reveal benign, treatable conditions. A monthly scrotal self-exam is an excellent means of keeping aware of your body and finding changes early. So breathe easy and take care of yourself with a simple monthly self-exam.

January 9, 2014

Smokers and CT Screenings

Smoking woman Kelsey by Kelsey via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Smoking woman Kelsey by Kelsey via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

As a follow up to our post in July of this year on the United States Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF or task force for shorter!) draft recommendation with regards to lung cancer and CT screening, the final report has been recently published with full recommendations just in time to start the new year.

While the recommendations for who should undergo what type of screening have not changed since the initially-released draft, putting the full voice of the USPSTF behind it does have an effect. Under new healthcare legislation, Task Force-backed cancer screenings will be covered without co-pays in the relatively near future. This means that those who need screening tests will have greater access to them.

So, who needs to be screened for lung cancer? The task force has specified who fits in the high-risk category for lung cancer.

  • Those who smoke at least a pack a day for 30 years (or its equivalent, such as 2 packs a day for 15 years), are between the ages of 55-80 or have stopped smoking less than 15 years ago fall into the high-risk, should be screened category.

  • Exemptions are made for those who have been smoke-free for 15 years or more or those who aren’t currently well enough to go through cancer treatment.

If you fall in a high-risk category, screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT can save lives by finding lung cancer when it is smaller and more treatable, offering hope for a disease which until now had a pretty dismal outlook. The CT scan is done in a matter of a few minutes, and differs from a routine CT in that lower than usual dose is used so that the study can be repeated annually as needed.

And because early detection saves lives, this new CT screening test holds the possibility of moving the approximately 10 million high risk individuals* on their way to better health.

 

*Yes there are that many who fall into the “high risk” category. Please give up the habit!

October 29, 2013

A Blood Test for Lung Cancer

We’re fans of whole-body health and that means all the parts… but we’ve been keen on lungs lately. Who needs a good reason? We all enjoy breathing.

Biopsie Lunge Computertomographie BC by Hellerhoff (via Wikimedia Commons) Copyright  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

We’ve talked about the power of CT for lung cancer diagnosis (here and here) and even covered the topic of smoking-related breast cancer risk over on our mammography blog (here). Today we’d like to talk about more good news in the world of lung health: a potential alternative to current management of lung nodules found on a CT scan. Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer death in the US – for men and women.

While the research (and technology) is still in the early phases, it looks like a promising future in the search (and hopefully destroy) mission for early detection of lung cancer. In a study published on October 16th in the journal Science Translational Medicine, a new blood test was unveiled that can aid in finding lung cancer in a minimally invasive manner. The article is a heady read, so we’re going to break it down for you:

If a patient has a lung nodule, the current next step is often a biopsy, possibly with surgery or imaging guided. This new blood test screens for a select set of proteins that can help determine if the nodules are benign or cancerous.  So, a normal blood test could potentially save a person from undergoing a biopsy or alternatively might lead doctors to surgery at an early treatable stage.

Working in a scientific field, we know that further studies must confirm the initial positive results before anyone can shout this as a revolution. But we are thrilled and optimistic that there’s progress being made in early detection of lung cancer – because early detection saves lives.

Additional reading here.