Posts tagged ‘smoking’

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!

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!

 

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!

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!

 

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!

 

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 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.