Posts tagged ‘screening’

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)

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.

June 17, 2015

Knock Out Lung Cancer with Low Dose CTs

Patient-Flyer---Lung-CT-UMKC

April 14, 2015

We Love… KC C.A.R.E. One-Day Free Clinic!

the dr is inKansas City is hosting a FREE one-day clinic, open to all who need it. Here are the details:

For the medically underserved in the area, a team of local medical organizations including Diagnostic Imaging Centers is coming together to provide free healthcare on Saturday, April 18th at Bartle Hall from 10a-5p. No one will be turned away.

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics in conjunction with the Kansas City C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinic is bringing this special day to those in need in Kansas City. We are proud to be working with these great organizations.

At the C.A.R.E. Clinic, services offered will include: medical exams, medical tests (diabetes, cholesterol, pregnancy, HIV and EKGs), prescription medications, kidney screenings, and behavioral health care. Additionally, services to help with health insurance navigation, follow-up care, and health education are available that day.

While mobile mammography units will not be available on-site the day of the event, vouchers will be provided to women who cannot afford a mammogram with the vouchers providing a free mammogram at any of Diagnostic Imaging Centers’ six conveniently located outpatient offices.

The free screening mammogram vouchers are being provided thanks to our partnership with the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation which is committed to “helping women survive.” The Foundation offers grants to clinics nationwide for screenings and mammograms for the uninsured and underinsured.

With scheduled or walk-in services and immediate results, Diagnostic Imaging Centers aims to take some of the frustration and worry out of breast imaging. Quick and easy, it’s approximately 20 minutes from check-in to check-out for a screening mammogram. Almost worry free!

To date, the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation has helped over 11,000 women receive breast care since its inception in 2010. To learn more about their services, please visit www.breastcancersurvivor.org. Diagnostic Imaging Centers takes care of the women of Kansas City to the tune of over 50,000 mammograms per year- a number that has been steadily increasing over the last fifty plus years of service to our community.

More details about the C.A.R.E. Clinic can be found here. To learn more about breast health, visit www.mammographykc.com.

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!

November 3, 2014

Happy Monday After Halloween! Things Radiologists Find Scary…

Monsterhigh custom Skeleton&Frankie by gama__ via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Boo! Did we scare ya?

 

Happy Belated Halloween!

 

Friday was a great day for fun. Little princesses and cowboys  begging for candy and grown-ups telling ghost stories…

 

As radiologists who are used to sitting in dark rooms all the time, it takes a lot to spook us! We ain’t afraid of the dark…

 

We are afraid of some things though. So in honor of Spookiness Fest 2014 we list a few of our scariest things:

 

  • Skipping your annual mammogram! Fear, lack of knowledge of risk, denial – all can be scary reasons to keep women from getting screening that can save a life. Let a compassionate technologist hold your hand through the process. Know that if you have breasts you are at risk. Come to a place that will give you your results immediately so you don’t have to fret.

 

  • Ignoring unusual changes in your breasts. If something feels wrong, get it checked out. Lumps, skin changes like puckering, nipple changes, nipple discharge or leaking – all may be from benign, non-cancerous changes – but we can’t be for sure until you are evaluated.

 

  • Thinking one cigarette won’t harm you. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths and disease in our country. Cigarettes bring carcinogens of many types into your body, doing damage to your lungs, your blood vessels, your GI tract – your whole body. Don’t start smoking, and get help to quit if you do. If you have a long smoking history, see if you qualify for screening with low-dose CT.

 

  • Skipping out on doctor’s appointments. Being healthy requires vigilance. We doctors love to take care of people – we aren’t scary. Illness is.

 

  • Ignoring or not knowing your numbers. Know your resting heart rate, your body weight and BMI (get up off the couch! french fries don’t count as veggies!), your blood pressure, your cholesterol and glucose levels. If they are in the green zone – great! If they are in the scary zone, your medical team can help you fix it!

 

Missing opportunities to take care of yourself – that’s what we find scary! We love our patients and love to see them love themselves. When you take a stand for your best possible health, there’s nothing to be afraid of!

 

 

PS That’s a picture of us… after a long day in the reading room at our office…we promise we aren’t usually that scary!

 

 

(Image credit: Monsterhigh custom Skeleton&Frankie by gama__ via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 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!

 

October 29, 2014

Donuts, Bagels, Claustrophobia and MRIs

1024px-Plain-BagelFor people with severe claustrophobia, MRIs can be intimidating. Even people who are only mildly claustrophobic may find MRI exams stressful – but they don’t have to!

 

The best imaging technologists and radiologists will always work with patients to provide feelings of safety and comfort during MRI procedures.

 

The first step in managing stress and claustrophobia comes in arming yourself with information. Information on how long the exam will take and how you will be positioned in the magnet can help prepare you.

 

Here are a few tips and tricks for the time you may find yourself in a donut-shaped machine:

 

  1. For many with mild claustrophobia, two things will help the most: covering your eyes and practicing visualization exercises. While this may sound “new age”, these sorts of mental exercises have been shown to get people through their MRIs. The best thing is to concentrate on breathing and on visualizing in your mind a calm, open space – one you find restful. Get that picture in your mind – a beach, a meadow, a mountain slope – someplace wide open. Get the smells and sounds in your mind as well. Keep coming back to it – it will work! This in conjunction with talking with the technologist throughout the study will get you through the test in no time.
  2. Because MRIs are loud, ear protection is provided. Some clinics offer music as well, which can be calming.
  3. If the above isn’t working, consider asking for a procedure done on an open bore magnet – the latest in technology is a more open cylinder design, still with a high field strength magnet (our Olathe clinic has such a machine!). True open MRI units may be an option as well, but those may be lower strength magnets and imaging times can be longer!
  4. If claustrophobia is still an issue, you may need to seek some help from your doctor or the radiologist. Some doctors who refer patients with claustrophobia for an MRI will write for a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication, like valium, to be taken prior to imaging. At some facilities, your radiologist will be able to provide medication, often Xanax, but make sure this is discussed with the facility beforehand as it may mean changes in how your prepare for the study, and it will require you to have someone available to drive you – no machine operating after these types of anti-anxiety meds!

 

Armed with this knowledge and the help of caring technologists and staff, you can survive the MRI experience. And with medical imaging comes the ability to diagnose and get you on the road to your best possible health!

Plain Bagel by Evan-Amos (Own work) [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!

 

October 9, 2014

MRI: Not If You’re the Tin Man

Tin Woodman by William Wallace Denslow via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public DomainWhat are the risks of an MRI?

The main risks of MRI come from the fact that the machine is made up of a giant magnet – which is never turned off.

 

Safety for MRI studies relies on removing any metal on your body and fully understanding the impact of any metal within your body. Many types of metal implants, like joint replacements, are not a problem and patients with them can safely undergo MRI.

 

Some battery operated implants, like most pacemakers and many neurostimulators, can be adversely affected when exposed to the magnet. The safety of any implanted surgical device or metal should be thoroughly discussed before the exam – preferably at the time of scheduling.

 

On the day of the procedure, removing all metal (all hairpins included!) prior to entering the MRI suite is important for the safety of you, the technologist and the machine. No metal in clothing, no metal in pockets, no watches or phones!

 

The other main risk of MRI comes from those studies that require the injection of IV contrast. This allows us to evaluate blood vessels and the vascularity of organs and masses. This contrast contains gadolinium which is a heavy metal. Allergies or reactions can occur, although rarely. Gadolinium contrast materials should be used with caution in those at risk for kidney disease. You will be screened for the possibility of kidney disease, and your kidney function may be evaluated with a simple blood test before we give you the contrast if you have risk factors.

 

MRI is an amazing technology but requires strict safety precautions for everyone. We’ll be writing more about MRIs and the claustrophobic patient in our next post – stay tuned!

(Image credit: Tin Woodman by William Wallace Denslow via Wikimedia Commons Copyright 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!

 

October 6, 2014

MRI: It’s a Magnet!

Magnet by AJ Cann via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)Radiology can be confusing. How these exams work can confuse the smartest people. As radiologists, we get lots of questions. Which exams use radiation and which do not?  How safe is the exam?

 

Today we will attempt to answer some of your questions and concerns about magnetic resonance imaging or MRI.

 

MRI – how do we make images?

MRI or magnetic resonance imaging, is one way of viewing the body that uses NO radiation (a plus!). We can create amazing images of all parts of the body with… a magnet! MRI machines are loud, clunky-sounding machines made up of a giant magnet. The noise comes from the second part of the name – resonance, or radiofrequency waves. This combined with computers creates images of the body. And, oh, the things we can learn about you with this technology.

 

The MRI Experience

Having an MRI involves being positioned on a table and moved inside the MRI unit. The inside of the MRI is called the bore and is basically a long tube the size of which varies. We center the body part being evaluated within the bore.  Bore sizes and configurations vary depending on the magnet strength and configuration of the MRI unit.

 

“Open MRI” units have a more open environment for imaging.  They are often used for the claustrophobic patient or larger patients.  The open MRI units can have limitations of longer exam times and lower quality of images. This is because the signal created and used to make the images is directly related to the magnet strength – which is lower for some open magnets.

 

High field magnets or traditional MRI trump an open magnet when we want imaging speed and precision, so it’s highly encouraged when at all possible. It can be done! There are many ways we can help our patients be comfortable while getting the highest possible quality images.

 

Over the next few days we’ll talk more about MRI safety as well as limiting patient discomfort in the machine.

 

In the mean time, cheers to your best possible health!

(Image credit: Magnet by AJ Cann 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!