Posts tagged ‘CT’

November 11, 2015

November Is Lung Cancer Awareness Month!

Sheer_w_gold_ribbon[1]November is lung cancer awareness month, highlighting the leading cancer killer of adult men and women. Over 150,000 deaths from lung cancer are estimated to occur in women and men in 2015 making lung cancer the leading cause of cancer deaths by far. Only 15% of lung cancers are found at a localized stage meaning low survival rates.

What are the facts about this killer?

  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of lung cancer. Around 90% of lung cancers are related to smoking.
  • Risk for lung cancer from smoking are related to the length of time and amount of smoking. Those who have smoked the equivalent of 30 pack years or more are at the greatest risk but even a history of 10 pack years of smoking means a higher risk of lung cancer.
  • Other risk factors include second hand smoke exposure, exposure to asbestos and exposure to radon gas. Family history may play a role in some.
  • Signs and symptoms from lung cancer are nonspecific, overlapping with many non-cancerous conditions and include: cough, shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing up blood.

What can we do to beat this killer?

  • Smoking cessation is key! If you smoke, your doctor has resources that can help you or your loved one quit.
  • Finding lung cancer earlier means improved survival.
  • Screening with low dose CT can lower the risk of dying from lung cancer with the largest study showing a decrease in the risk of death by at least 20%.

Who should undergo screening?

  • Current smokers or those who have quit smoking in the last 15 years.
  • Those who have smoked an equivalent of 30 pack years (for example, smoking 1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years, etc.).
  • Smokers aged 55-75.

Screening will occur with a low dose CT performed every year while criteria are met. Screening should be performed as part of a total program aimed at reducing the risk of lung cancer, meaning smoking cessation is a key part.

This November, let’s spread the word: lung cancer is a leading cancer killer, one which we CAN do something about. If you are at risk, get screened with low dose CT yearly and reduce your risk by joining the ranks of the non-smokers.

(Image credit: Sheer w gold ribbon by Niki K, copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

June 17, 2015

Knock Out Lung Cancer with Low Dose CTs

Patient-Flyer---Lung-CT-UMKC

February 9, 2015

Medicare: A Life-Saving Screening Now Covered

CT chestThis past week brought great news for Medicare patients! Medicare is now covering the cost of low-dose screening CT chests in selected patients. Screening with low-dose CT chest has been shown to save lives with the ability to diagnose lung cancer when it is small and more treatable.

Here are the details:

WHO is covered?

  •         Must be between 55 and 77 years of age
  •         Must be a current smoker or have quit smoking in the past 15 years
  •         Must have smoked the equivalent of 30 pack years (that means 1 pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years, or any other such combination)

WHAT steps are needed for coverage?

  •         Must have a  visit with their referring physician or nurse practitioner prior to the CT for “a shared-decision making/smoking cessation counseling session prior to being referred for their first screening exam.” This is not needed for studies after the first.
  •         Must have an order from the doctor or nurse practitioner.

HOW is the test done?

  •         This is a quick,  non-contrast CT of the chest done with low dose.
  •         This is part of a total program to reduce lung cancer risk, including the most important part – a goal of smoking cessation.
  •         The test is a screening test – meaning, if something is found (about 10% of the time) something else may be recommended – this could mean further imaging, including a CT chest with contrast, PET imaging or short-term follow up CT studies, or could mean a lung biopsy.
  •         This is intended to be repeated annually.
  •         Sites providing coverage must meet many requirements, including specifications on dose and follow-up of patients.

The possibility of decreasing the number of deaths from lung cancer by getting patients into a screening program is exciting.

 

If you or someone you know fits the above criteria, get an appointment with your doctor.  If it’s a loved one, you may be the voice that prompts their action!

 

Screening of smokers with low-dose CT chest is a huge leap forward in the fight against lung cancer.

 

 

 

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 9, 2014

Barium: Great for Imaging, and Okay for Puns

Bariumsulfaat by Dr.T via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedImaging of the gastrointestinal system can be done many ways, using scopes, fluoroscopy/x-rays, ultrasound, CT and MRI studies. The gastrointestinal (GI) system includes everything from the mouth or oral cavity and esophagus down to the rectum and anus. The GI tract can be thought of as one long hollow tube, and filling the tube with fluid to image it with xrays was one of the earliest techniques developed when radiology was in its infancy.

 

This technique is still used today with barium sulfate the most commonly used contrast agent. Barium blocks the xrays from travelling through the body resulting in a white appearance on the image. Since its first development, many different forms of barium are now available allowing us to see different parts of the GI tract in detail.

 

Barium studies include UGIs (upper gastrointestinal exam to evaluate the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small bowel), esophagrams (to image the esophagus), small bowel series (to image the small intestine) and barium enemas (to evaluate the colon or large intestine). Barium or other oral contrast agents may be used for CT examinations of the abdomen and pelvis, allowing better visualization of the GI tract. Over the next few posts we’ll be covering these imaging tests in detail.

 

Barium has been used for years and is inert, traveling through your system without being absorbed. It is well tolerated in almost all patients. After a study using barium, patients are advised to drink extra fluids in order to flush the barium out of their system.

 

Oh, and we promised a groaner of a pun too. What do you do with a chemist who has passed on? Barium!

(Image credit: Bariumsulfaat by Dr.T 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!

 

June 30, 2014

Introducing… Indy!

independence-officeIn our final installment of the “Introducing Diagnostic Imaging Centers” series, we’d like to introduce our Independence, Missouri location.

 

Indy, as it is affectionately known, is a wonderful clinic full of compassionate staff and expert radiologists. Found at 4911 Arrowhead Drive, it is conveniently located near the intersection of highways 70 and 470/291.

 

As at most of our offices, we offer a full range of modalities: breast imaging, CT, DEXA (bone density), MRI (both traditional and “open”), nuclear medicine, ultrasound, fluoroscopy and x-ray. Walk-in appointments are available for many modalities, including CT and mammography – have some time? Come on by and our dedicated staff will take care of you!

 

Our patients love the care they receive at this office – from the smiles at the front desk to the above and beyond care they get from technologists to doctors. With good-humored colleagues, the Indy team is serious about their work and lighthearted in their approach to life. From the front desk, to the technologists, they embrace their tasks with professionalism while putting patients at ease. If you require imaging procedures, you have a choice in where to go and the DIC staff at our Independence office and at all of our facilities appreciate you choosing to come to us.

 

Passionate about top quality imaging care, the team at Indy has passions beyond their work. From the Komen Foundation to Head for the Cure to gardening and grandkids, DIC-ers are a caring lot. For our staff, caring about people is more than a job.

 

But to quote LaVar Burton, you don’t have to take our word for it… here’s what our patients had to say about their experiences at our Independence office:

 

“Nikki (front desk) is awesome and smiles every time I am here!”

 

“Stephen went above and beyond for services. Dr. Koury went even farther, if that is possible. Many thanks to both of them!”

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!

 

June 23, 2014

Introducing… DIC’s Northland Clinic!

North OakHappy Monday! We’re excited to continue our Mondays-are-introduction-days series on the Diagnostic Imaging Centers’ clinic. Today we have… the Northland office!

 

It comes as no surprise that, when talking to staff here, the resounding theme of love for their jobs is people – something that all DIC’s locations have in common. They appreciate and respect their co-workers, they love their patients, and they want nothing more than the best possible healthcare experiences for everyone.

 

Some of the ways our team has found to improve the healthcare experience for patients include finding small ways to solve larger problems, such as claustrophobia. Another CT tech explained that he’s learned some basic, important terms (like “hold your breath for a moment please”) in other languages.

 

Whether it’s greeting someone in their native tongue or helping reduce MRI anxiety, caring shines through. We also found that their passions don’t end at the door: from KomenKC to KCPT to the Nelson-Atkins, DIC-ers put their energy into keeping their hometown awesome and everyone healthy. They are an inspiring crew.

 

In North Kansas City, the best “care” in radiology can be found at 5400 North Oak Trafficway (Suites 119, 206), where we perform: bone density (DEXA), mammography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, x-ray, fluoroscopy and MRI, both “open” and “closed.”

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 16, 2014

Introducing… Diagnostic Imaging Centers’ Lee’s Summit Clinic!

Lees SummitDiagnostic Imaging CentersLee’s Summit clinic is typical to DIC in their passion for people… and typical in having some lively characters for colleagues!

 

Located just off of 470 in Lee’s Summit, this mid-sized clinic offers a multitude of imaging modalities including bone density, CT, mammograms, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, x-ray and MRI (both “open-sided” and “open-ended”). It also offers a colorful staff of compassionate teammates: from the front desk to the techs to the doctors and manager, everyone has a story.

 

If you’re nervous about your procedure, we won’t just tell you to magically “not be” but we will entertain all questions, and likely as not be entertaining along the way. From the smallest of solutions for curious children to the most thoughtful provisions for claustrophobic adults we make the experiences for our patients as comfortable as possible.

 

When one tech was asked recently about any challenge she encountered and how she solved it. She said there are a lot of interesting opportunities to help different people throughout the day, but in this instance she had to take an x-ray of a small child who had a spectrum disorder. The little one was a bit squirmy and didn’t respond to her usual tricks of showing stickers to get him to hold still.

 

However, when she went to adjust the x-ray film, the machine door made a click sound which mesmerized him. So she played with the door a few times and he finally calmed down enough to take a quick shot. It was a simple ploy, but the heart of the matter was taking the time to find something that worked – and it did! No one was frustrated or at a loss for what to do. It was just a matter of “reading” the patient’s needs and accommodating.

 

What was most interesting about her experience, she explained, was that it was in some ways an “everyday thing.” Needs are different for everyone. Every patient is unique and as long as we keep listening carefully, we can help them all.

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 11, 2014

Vascular Series Part 2 – What Is CT Angiography (CTA)?

CTACT angiography, or computed tomography angiography, (now you see why we like to call it CT angiography- such a mouthful!) is a way of imaging the blood vessels and surrounding tissues.

 

Why would we do that? CT angiography is a noninvasive way to exquisitely evaluate blood vessels within the body. With a simple venous injection of contrast we can quickly and elaborately evaluate the artery, the wall of the artery and the surrounding tissues.  Let’s look at an example. Say we need to evaluate patients with suspected narrowing in the neck arteries – CT angiography may follow an abnormal carotid Doppler to confirm how narrow the vessel is and to see if surgery will be necessary. It will show calcifications and noncalcified plaques and show how they affect the lumen (inside of the vessel) of the artery. This test is helpful in planning any necessary surgeries.

 

CT angiography can also be used to look at the arteries in the head for patients with strokes from bleeds. Aneurysms  (focal outpouchings) and their relation to the vessel are well seen and this procedure can help plan interventions needed to address them.

 

So now we know why we need to perform CT angiography, it begs the question, why is this modality of imaging the best choice for a situation? In the past, catheter angiography was the traditional way of imaging blood vessels of all types. However, it involves  putting a catheter through the skin into vessels, usually with an approach through the groin or in the arm. This creates beautiful images of the insides of the vessels, but is associated with some risks related to the catheter and the arterial puncture.

 

CT allows us to get exquisite images of the vessels with an injection into a vein in a less risky fashion while also allowing us to see the blood vessel wall – not just the lumen as is seen in traditional angiography. CT angiography can be used to evaluate blood vessels from the head to the toes and most parts in between.

In some cases, CT angiography has replaced or nearly replaced the need for catheter angiography (CT angiography chest to evaluate for pulmonary emboli or blood clots in the vessels in the lungs is one example). Other times, CT angiography will identify those patients that will benefit from catheter angiography – often this is used when interventions like angioplasty (ballooning narrowed areas in the arteries) or stenting (putting in metal or mesh stents to open up narrowings) are needed.

 

All told, CT angiography may be a lot of syllables but it can save a lot of lives.

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 9, 2014

Introducing… DIC’s Plaza Location!

DIC at plazaThe Plaza office of Diagnostic Imaging Centers (located at 48th and Main, just upstairs from the library) is one of several places we get to call “home.” With staff who have been with us for 40+ years in midtown Kansas City, it pretty much is home!

 

Speaking of homes… just as a home is a place of comfort, we strive to put every person at ease when they come to our home away from home – not  just an office, but a place to come for imaging with care.

 

When talking to the staff at DIC’s Plaza clinic, one of the most resounding points they make about loving the work they do is people: co-workers and patients alike. It’s not just that they care about others, it’s the opportunity to show it that matters.

 

“One of my favorite things about working here is being able to give immediate results for mammograms,” said one tech. Said another, “It’s all about communication.” Being forthright about what’s going on during a procedure is necessary for great results. Whether it’s allowing a young person to hold the wand for an ultrasound or allowing them to put the gel on themselves – anything to take the fear-of-the-unknown out of the equation, that’s what we seek to do.

 

The DIC way of showing we care exists in all ways, large and small. From the first point of contact with a receptionist to the exam itself all the way to the exit door, someone is with you. Everyone who comes to our clinics gets a thank you card with the manager’s number on it should they have any questions or comments.

 

The Plaza location of Diagnostic Imaging Centers is just one more example of how hard we work to give the best possible in imaging. Conveniently located, with convenient hours… we are your home for imaging!

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!