Posts tagged ‘disease’

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)

February 11, 2015

3D Mammography Is HERE!

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!

September 17, 2014

There’s a Better Way To Calculate Body Fat (and We’ve Got It!)

3D-printed Laughing Buddha (right) by Digital Nuisance via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)Obesity and its negative effects on our collective health has been covered repeatedly in the news. There are ways of defining being overweight or obese, most based on height, weight and body mass index (BMI). Body composition is another means of analyzing percentage of body fat, and another tool to help guide and follow treatment.

 

Let’s start with the numbers: accurate weight and height are a starting point. Getting your body mass index (which you can do here once you have your height and weight) is helpful in determining whether your weight is appropriate for your height. But to be truly accurate about weight, body fat and its affect on health, knowing what percentage of your body tissue is fat specifically can be helpful. Here is where radiology can help: DEXA is the most accurate means of assessing body composition.

 

DEXA is known most commonly for measuring bone mineral density. This can identify those with osteoporosis or those beginning to show signs of bone loss. Knowing your bone mineral density is increasingly important with age, and preventing fractures is a goal.

 

DEXA (or Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry if you want to know the words behind the acronym) is the most accurate method of assessing body composition. A DEXA scan is a medical test and is considered the Gold Standard in body composition testing with over 99% accuracy. This imaging technique using low dose x-rays can evaluate bone density, fat density and lean body mass. DEXA gives a total picture of body composition, useful for planning a course of action and then seeing the success (we’ll think positive!) of those actions.

 

Eating well, exercising regularly, talking to your doctor or consulting with a dietician are all actions that can help you on the way to better numbers. Decreasing body fat percentage while maintaining healthy lean body mass is the goal. Decreasing body fat percentage is as significant as overall weight loss to your health.

 

So start with your numbers and move from there. You have the power to get yourself on the road to your best possible health! And we’re happy to help in any way we can, from sharing healthy recipes to exercise tips and tricks to advising you on your DEXA scores to cheering you on and educating you along the way! If you follow us on Pinterest you’ll see more ideas everyday!

(Image attribution: 3D-printed Laughing Buddha (right) by Digital Nuisance 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!

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!

 

June 20, 2014

We Love… The National Stroke Association!

Does the face look uneven by Charles Hope via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Just to be clear, we love the National Stroke Association, which is the opposite of loving strokes. After our series on vascular imaging as well reporting on recent studies on stroke prevention, it’s important to talk about the warning signs, additional prevention and what can be done if someone is suspected of having a stroke.

 

In health, action is everything.- for strokes, time means brain.The longer those neurons or brain cells go without blood flow, the greater their chance of death and loss of function. The sooner we  react to a situation, the better the chances of recovery. This is why it’s important to know the signs of a stroke and what to do if one is happening.

 

First, if you believe a stroke is occurring, call 911 immediately. What are signs of a stroke? They are sudden and can include any of the following: numbness, weakness, confusion, trouble seeing, walking or speaking, and/or severe headache. Nerve changes like numbness and weakness may occur on only one side of the body. Act immediately – time equals brain!

 

Risks for cerebrovascular disease and stroke include modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors. The National Stroke Association has an excellent breakdown of the many, many potential risk factors here. If you have any of these risk factors, from family history of strokes, to diabetes or high blood pressure (to name just a few), extra vigilance and modification of those factors you can control is key.

 

Strokes are disorienting experiences and can present with a wide spectrum of findings, based on which part of the brain is being affected. For an insightful first-person account, Jill Bolte Taylor’s TEDtalk about her experience (“My Stroke of Insight”) is a fascinating video.

 

Because of all their hard work toward the best possible health for all, we love The National Stroke Association. And if you like them too, you can do so here!

(Image Attribution: Does the face look uneven? by Charles Hope via Flickr Copyright Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0))

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 18, 2014

The Study Is Out: Animal Proteins and Strokes

 

Copper river sockeye smoked salmon mit salat und crumpet 07.04.2012 20-30-53 by Dirk Ingo Franke via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedNow that we’ve discussed carotid Doppler, CT angiography and MR angiography, here’s a reminder that we are advocates for an ounce of prevention over a pound of cure. Preventing vascular disease is much better than detecting it!

 

According to a recent analysis of seven health studies, one of the best ways to fight stroke is by a healthy diet (pause to act surprised here). One key to that healthy diet is lean animal protein (okay, you’re allowed to be surprised now).

 

The study showed that as lean protein intake increases, stroke risk decreases. This study included over 250,000 patients but was focused on those living in countries where unsaturated, lean proteins like fish are popular. Those who ate 20 additional grams of protein a day had a 26% lower risk of stroke. What is behind the reduced risk is less well-understood. Likely, there are multiple factors involved. For instance, a protein-rich diet can also naturally include extra nutrients like potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber, all of which may be stroke deterrents.

 

We should not take this study to mean increase your protein intake without considering the type or quality of the protein -lean animal protein seems to be the key here. While the occasional steak or hamburger is acceptable, increasing your daily dietary intake of these type proteins will not yield the same results seen in this study.

 

The long and the short of it is this: a careful diet is good for you; proteins, including lean animal proteins, seem to help with reducing stroke risk. For further reading, there are articles summarizing the findings here and here.


For your best vascular health, don’t smoke, keep cholesterol and glucose levels healthy, and consider a diet focused on healthy lean proteins.