Posts tagged ‘cancer’

September 15, 2014

Prostate Health: 4 W’s + an H

Elderly_exerciseProstate health awareness is lagging in the national conversation and plaguing men in the United States. We’ve all heard the 1-in-8 statistic for women’s breast cancer… but do you know the number for men’s prostate cancer? Hold onto your hats: this is a 1-in-7 occurrence.

 

What do these numbers add up to? More than a quarter million men in the US will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and 30,000 will die from it.

Why is prostate cancer so serious? Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (just behind skin cancer), and the second most common cancer-killer for men (just behind lung cancer). If signs and symptoms show up and are handled appropriately, a prostate cancer warrior can turn into a prostate cancer survivor – and join the 2.5 million healthy others in this country.

 

Who is at risk? The answer is every man. For better or worse, prostate cancer occurs mostly in men over the age of 65 (66 is the average age of detection) and is seldom seen in men under the age of 40. Though no one knows for certain what causes prostate cancer, there are certain risks to be aware of for prostate cancer:

 

Main risk factors for prostate cancer:

 

  • age over 60
  • African American men are more often affected and may have more serious (advanced stage) disease
  • genetics plays a role in prostate cancer in a small percentage of cases
  • family history, particularly if prostate cancer is present in a brother or father
  • family history when prostate cancer is seen in a brother or father before the age of 65 is even more important in risk
  • some studies have shown a link to higher consumption of red meat

 

Possible signs and symptoms:

 

  • Most men will be asymptomatic! Or..
  • Blood in urine.
  • Impotence.
  • Pain in bones of the back, chest and hips.
  • Trouble urinating.

Where do we go from here? Because early stages of prostate cancer are not associated with signs or symptoms, regular screenings are imperative. To understand your personal risk and to figure out what steps you should be taking, have a discussion with your doctor.

 

How do we look for prostate cancer? The screening tests include digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. These two steps are the cornerstone of screening asymptomatic men for the disease. These should begin around the age of 50 for average risk men, possibly earlier for those at higher risk due to family history or for African American men. If either of the screening tests is abnormal, further evaluation by a urologist will likely follow. Prostate ultrasound and biopsy may be the next step. Prostate MRI may be indicated in some men as well, particularly for problem-solving complex cases.

 

For more information, here’s a link to the American Cancer Society prostate health site. Special thanks to Kansas City Urology Care for sponsoring the Zero Prostate Cancer Run/Walk!

(Image attribution: “Elderly exercise” by National Institutes of Health. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

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!

 

September 8, 2014

7 Reasons Quitting Makes You a Winner


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Smoking by the numbers…

As physicians we want the best health for everyone. There are ways to work towards your best possible health including healthy diet and weight, regular exercise and getting regular screenings. Tobacco use has a huge impact on health, something we as radiologists see on a daily basis. Smoking kills. It’s an addiction, one of the hardest habits to break, but quitting IS possible and translates to immediate and long-term health benefits.

 

Just how bad is tobacco use?

 

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US.  Here are more shocking numbers about the impact of smoking:

 

  • 20.5% of men and 15.8% of women are current smokers.
  • 20% of deaths in the US are due to tobacco-related diseases.
  • 10 people die EVERY MINUTE from tobacco-related illnesses.
  • What kind of illnesses are related? Tobacco use is related to: cancer (lung, esophagus, oral, bladder and more), heart attacks, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, infertility, gum disease, emphysema, impotence and more!
  • Each puff of cigarette smoke contains 7,000 chemicals including 80 known to cause cancer. Did you know smoking brings carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and lead into your lungs with every puff?
  • 11% of pregnant women smoke during pregnancy.
  • Tobacco use contributes to 20-30% of low-birth weight infants and led to preterm delivery in 14% of newborns.

Sobering numbers and still only a small spectrum of tobacco’s impact. The bright spot is that smoking declined from 2005 to 2012 by nearly 3%.  Let’s keep that trend going by stamping out those butts. For more on taking the steps to quitting look here: http://smokefree.gov.

 

Now, on to a healthier you!

 

 

(Image credit: “Spitkid” by Opa – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

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!

 

August 11, 2014

The Post-Race Wrap-Up: Komen Congrats!

Komen Union Station Race NightThank you to all who were able to come out in the rain this weekend and make the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure such a wonderful success! It was totally worth getting soaked, wasn’t it?

 

Gatherings like these fill our hearts with hope and excitement. We ARE getting closer than ever before to reducing the toll that breast cancer takes. Komen is fantastic about providing support to those who face the battle against breast cancer. We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of their team!

 

We’d like to offer our thanks and appreciation to everyone who walked and ran, who handed out lip balm and water, who donated and cheered – everyone who made Sunday such a wonderful day.

 

Over 18,000 people participated – walking alongside 1,200 survivors! Approximately $1 million was raised! And just for kicks, SGK is applying for a Guinness World Record of more than 1,000 people in a selfie.

 

We are so happy – we believe a cure is in sight, as long as we keep striving. Thank you for all you do!

 

 

(Image credit: Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City)

 

 

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!

 

 

August 4, 2014

We Love… Get Your Rear In Gear!

Katie Couric VF 2012 Shankbone 2 by via david_shankbone Flickr Copright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)To end this series on GI imaging, we thought we’d shine a light of hope and health by talking about an organization we love… Colon Cancer Coalition!

 

This is an amazing group of people dedicated to the knowledge that early detection of colon cancer saves lives! Their mission?

 

“Empower local communities to promote prevention and early detection of colon cancer and to provide support to those affected.”

 

Katie Couric, through her own personal loss and resilience, has helped make colorectal cancer a nationally known and talked about  issue (and for this we are grateful). The Colon Cancer Coalition reminds us to Get Your Rear In Gear! This program in cities across the US funnels money back into the participating cities, supporting local education and screening efforts. Check for events in your community here.

 

Early detection is the key to saving lives from colon cancer which is a largely preventable disease – in most cases, colon cancer starts from small growths called polyps. If these are found early, no colon cancer will develop! From a healthy diet and exercise to regular check-ups and knowing the signs of colon cancer, we can all make a difference. Regular screening with colonoscopy at age 50 for folks of average risk can and will make a difference.

 

Catch up with the Coalition on Twitter. (We follow them too.)

 

Time to celebrate life – and kick cancer’s butt!

 

 

(Image credit: Katie Couric VF 2012 Shankbone 2 by david_shankbone via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 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!

 

July 30, 2014

MR Enterography

MR enterographyWhen investigating issues of the abdomen and intestines, there are multiple options, including small bowel series, small bowel enteroclysis and CT or MR enterography (entero- meaning intestine, our linguistic lesson for the day!).

 

Why would you need MR enterography?

 

MR enterography is performed for many of the same reasons as CT enterography. As with each imaging modality, there are nuances and benefits from the different techniques.

 

One of the reasons a patient may come in for MR enterography is due to an iodine allergy (iodine is the IV contrast agent for CT). MR technology uses a different IV contrast agent, one containing gadolinium.

 

Additionally, MR technology uses no radiation. This can be beneficial when the patient is pregnant (although only done in pregnancy after the first trimester). It is an ideal means for assessing younger patients with inflammatory bowel disease who may face the need for frequent, repeated imaging of the intestine.

 

How does a patient prepare for MR enterography?

 

Preparation for MR enterography is done similar to the CT version – fasting for up to 4 hours before the examination.

 

What can be expected when you have MR enterography?

 

As always, remember your basic MRI safety – no metal can enter the MR suite – this means all clothing with metal must be removed.

 

MR enterography relies on adequate distention of the small bowel, usually using the same oral contrast agent containing iodine as for CT enterography. Images of the abdomen and pelvis will be obtained while IV contrast containing gadolinium is injected. The imaging time is longer for MRI than for CT, usually close to 30 minutes total for MR. Holding still is important as any motion will cause loss of detail.

 

What can we find with MR enterography?

 

This can show vascular lesions of the wall of the GI tract, masses and mucosal lesions as can be seen with inflammatory bowel disease. It also allows us to see detail in the bowel wall and in the adjacent soft tissues. Fistulas (abnormal communications from bowel loops), strictures and blockages, and abscesses can be seen in patients, often in those with inflammatory bowel disease. Problems with the blood vessels going to the bowel will be shown, such as narrowings or aneurysms.

 

And after the exam?

 

To flush the excess contrast from your system – drink lots of water!

 

MR enterography is one more tool in the arsenal for imaging the small intestines able to produce beautiful images helping us keep you on the path to your best health.

 

 

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!

 

July 23, 2014

CT Ent-enter-entero-enterography! Whew!

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 2.52.56 PMWhen investigating issues of the abdomen and intestines, your doctor may order a small bowel series or enteroclysis. However, CT technology is also an excellent noninvasive way of looking at internal organs. It also allows us to better see the tissues adjacent to the small bowel. If a dedicated view of the bowel and adjacent soft tissues is needed there is a special procedure called CT enterography which may be used.

 

Why would you need CT enterography?

 

There are many potential reasons why a patient may come in for CT enterography, with the goal of precisely defining anatomy and potential causes of symptoms. Symptoms can include:

 

  • Abdominal pain (especially in the left or right lower quadrant)
  • Blood in stool
  • Possible bowel obstruction, usually partial blockages of the small bowel which can be difficult to diagnose and difficult to find the cause of
  • Inflammatory bowel disease – with CT enterography we can see not just the disease of the bowel, but any complications in adjacent tissues which are frequent
  • Hernias
  • Masses
  • Narrowings or strictures
  • Infections
  • Masses in the mesentery or adjacent organs that can affect the GI tract

 

How does a patient prepare for CT enterography?

 

Patient prep for this type of imaging is fairly basic: fasting (no food or drink) for 4 hours before the CT may be requested. At times the study may be done without preliminary fasting.

 

What can be expected when you have CT enterography?

 

Typically, CT enterography uses fairly large volumes of oral contrast agents which are iodine-based and iodine-based IV contrast. The oral contrast material helps distend the bowel, so that the wall is well seen. The blood vessels and any inflammatory changes are best seen with the IV contrast highlighting the vessels.  If you have allergies, let us know so we can plan ahead. CT uses radiation, so this exam in general is not done in those that are pregnant or who may be pregnant.

 

What might we see with CT enterography?

  • Inflammatory bowel disease – bowel wall thickening, abnormal enhancement of the wall of the bowel, strictures, fistulas (abnormal communication between bowel loops), adjacent abscesses all may be signs of inflammatory bowel disease and imaging with CT enterography can help assess its degree of activity
  • Masses – benign polyps and cancers
  • Vascular problems to the small or large bowel, including narrowings of vessels or aneurysms (small saccular outpouchings)
  • Blockages – we can not only see the site of obstruction but many times can find the cause of the blockage
  • Infections

 

 

CT enterography is a fusion of the best of CT technology, allowing us to see the soft tissues in the abdomen, and enterography which distends the small bowel, allowing us to best see the wall. With this technique, small bowel diseases are beautifully demonstrated.

 

 

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!

 

July 21, 2014

Intestinally Yours

small bowelIn our continuing series on gastrointestinal imaging, today we’re talking about the small bowel or small intestine. The small intestine is key in absorbing nutrients in our food.

 

Why would you need an imaging study of the small bowel?

 

The small bowel is a coiled tube in the abdomen up to 23 feet in length connecting the stomach and the colon.  In contrast to the stomach and colon which are easy to evaluate by endoscopy, much of the small bowel is beyond the reach of endoscopes.

 

Symptoms which might prompt a small bowel evaluation include:

 

  • diarrhea
  • blood in stools
  • abdominal pain
  • malabsorption
  • suspected partial small bowel obstruction
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • anemia

 

There are two types of fluoroscopy exams a patient can have to evaluate the small bowel: a small bowel series or a small bowel enteroclysis.

 

How does a patient prepare for small bowel imaging?

 

The prep for these studies is simple: no food or drink by mouth for 4 hours. Clothing with metal will need to be removed. Radiation is used, so these studies are not performed in pregnant women. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to oral barium please advise the radiologist.

 

What can be expected of a small bowel imaging procedure?

 

Both exams will start with a preliminary film which is used to assess the gas in the intestine. Signs of obstruction or bowel perforation may lead to the exam being cancelled or modified.

 

1. Small bowel series

For this procedure, the patient will be given barium to drink. Sufficient barium is necessary in order to fill up the small bowel in order to image it. Next, we will take a series of x-rays to follow the barium through the entire small bowel all the way to the cecum (first part of colon). Additionally, we will take images with gentle compression of the small intestine including the  terminal ileum which is the point at which small bowel ends and joins the colon. Please note it can take up to 4 hours for the contrast to travel all the way through!

2. Small bowel enteroclysis

This procedure uses a tube placed through the mouth or nose until the tip is in the first part of the small bowel. This tube is used to instill a solution of barium at a rate which distends the small intestine and limits normal peristalsis (those normal contractions which move food along). Images are then taken in the same method as above. The entire study can take up to 3-4 hours to complete.

 

So, what are radiologists looking for? What can we expect to find?

 

Images from either method will allow a beautiful depiction of your small bowel anatomy and a little about how it is functioning. Imaging can find:

  • tumors – benign polyps and cancers
  • inflammatory bowel disease IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • infections
  • strictures or narrowings which might partially block small bowel – frequent in patients with IBD
  • fistulas or abnormal communication between bowel loops – frequently found in patients with IBD
  • celiac disease

 

After a small bowel exam, drink lots of fluids! This will help flush out the contrast that was introduced for the exam.

 

The small bowel series and small bowel enteroclysis are methods of viewing the elusive small intestine. The resulting images can be phenomenal. We love being able to see into the human body to get you on the road to your best possible health!

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!

 

July 7, 2014

7 Resources for Quitting Smoking

Kicking the Habit!We talk a good game about vascular health and lung screenings… however, we realize that for many the difficulties of winning the war against tobacco are not easy. We can say “quit smoking”, but without offering suggestions for help in the fight, the words can seem hollow (and more than a little naggy!).

 

The great news is this: many tools and systems exist to help pave the way to tobacco-free healthier lungs and bodies. From mobile phone apps (many of which are free!), to encouraging support groups to some basic tips and tricks, help is just around the corner, or in the palm of your hand.

 

Both the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association websites have “how-to” resources for quitting smoking. Additionally, here are some useful phone apps we’d like to highlight:

 

  • SmokeFree Teen is available for the younger set – not starting is MUCH easier than quitting, and quitting is easier when the addiction is still young.

 

 

  • SmokeFreeTXT was created by the National Cancer Institute and uses text messages which pop up anytime, day or night. Additionally, the NCI has created a “Live Help” chat service to interact with as well. Chat here.

 

  • And, if you’re old-school and prefer to reach out for help on the phone, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) is there for you too!

 

  • Don’t forget your doctor – your physician can help you determine which is the best quitting strategy for you – including whether medications might be of help.

 

The most important step is the hardest first step deciding now is the time to take action. So, make the step, set a date for quitting – today is always good!- and know that the benefits begin immediately. Within hours your carbon monoxide levels drop and within a day your risk of heart attack decreases!

 

Whatever your method for prying yourself away from the pack, we’d be happy to hear about your success! Please share your successes with us on Twitter: @dic_kc! Best of luck and here’s to your best possible health!

 

(Image credit: No Smoking – American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out by U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Brittany Perry 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!

 

July 2, 2014

We Love… Free to Breathe!

Free to Breathe logoFor all our talk about lung cancer screening, what we’d love most is to not need screening at all – which is to say, what if… lung cancer were not the threat it is today? This is why we love Free to Breathe!

 

Free to Breathe’s mission is to “ensure surviving lung cancer is the expectation, not the exception.” For all the strides being made in the war on cancer, lung cancer lags behind in both survivorship and early detection.

 

Contrary to popular belief lung cancer doesn’t just occur in smokers (though smoking does radically increase risk and if you need to quit, here are a few things to know). Lung cancer can also run in families of nonsmokers, can be seen in those affected by secondhand smoke, may result from some environmental/ industrial exposures and may arise in people without specific risks.

 

According to scientific studies, “People who have never smoked account for 20,000 – 30,000 lung cancer diagnoses every year.”

 

Not only is it a debilitating and potentially deadly disease, lung cancer is typically detected late in the game. Signs and symptoms often show up late, but may include breathing-related issues like coughing up blood or trouble breathing but also back, shoulder or chest pain. See your doctor promptly if you have concerns.

 

Free to Breathe’s vision is to cut lung cancer deaths in half by 2022. We can’t wait for this to be the reality! We encourage you to like them here too.

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!

June 25, 2014

Lung Cancer Screening Gets Another Leg Up

Symbol kept vote Green by Zorglub via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedThe votes in support of low-dose screening CT chest for high risk smokers are growing. Recently the American Medical Association – the largest association of doctors from all specialties in the US – added their support to guidelines recommending this potentially life-saving exam.

 

Lung cancer is a killer. In the US, lung cancer causes more deaths than breast + prostate + colon cancer – more deaths than all of those cancers combined! Studies on low-dose CT screening (the National Lung Screening Trial) showed early detection saves lives! There was a 20% reduction in deaths in heavy smokers from lung cancer due to CT screening in this study. This is why low dose chest CT is so crucial. Finding lung cancer early, when it is potentially treatable is the goal of screening.

 

As accredited members of the American College of Radiology, we are thrilled that the ACR is fighting to support the recommendations of the United States Preventative Services Task Force for high-risk patients. (Read all about it here.) The Task Force recommended coverage beginning January 2015 for high risk patients, including those 55-80 years with significant smoking histories (defined as greater than a 30 pack-year history of smoking) or for those who were former heavy smokers who have quit in the last 15 years. The Task Force recommendations will apply to those patients with insurance.

 

The fight for coverage of Medicare patients is still on-going, and is the focus of the ACR and other groups. The Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advising Committee made a controversial stand against support of low-dose CT screening early this year. Medicare will make its final vote in the fall. We think including Medicare patients in coverage for this important, potentially life-saving exam is crucial.

Make your voice heard – add your vote in favor of low-dose screening CT chest for all who will benefit- including Medicare patients! Contact your local congresspersons (here) and let them know you agree.

(Image credit: Symbol kept vote Green by Zorglub via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

 

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!