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Archive for the ‘Computed Tomography’ Category

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Earlier this year, we looked at “Why Your Thyroid Gland Matters” take a quick review HERE. For some, this may be a reason why there are issues with weight gain, fatigue, etc.,  As an Oncologist and being the cancer world, topics such as “over-diagnosis” always renders a reaction from me. If a life is being saved in the long run, can we truly quantify “over-diagnosis” in cancer?

thyroiddA new study published in the journal Academic Radiology lists reasons why thyroid cancer over-diagnosis.  Although there were an estimated 62,000 new cases of thyroid cancer in 2014, the number of fatalities was estimated at fewer than 1,900. Incidence rates have risen by 185% in 35 years, and surging rates and a mismatch between incidence and mortality signal a problem with over-diagnosis.

3 Key reasons considered for overdiagnoses of Thyroid cancer are:

  1. the imaging of incidental thyroid nodules. Such nodules are present on 16 to 25 percent of computed tomography (CT) scans, which is lower than other modalities. The malignancy rate of incidental nodules on CT and ultrasound is less than 12 percent.
  2. A second underlying reason is thyroid nodules are easy to biopsy. This suggests the biopsy threshold (reason to do a biopsy) is low and that decisions may not always comply with recommendations. The number of fine-needle aspiration biopsies for thyroid nodules doubled from 2006 to 2011, which was linked to a 31 percent gain in the number of surgeries for thyroid nodules.
  3. The third reason is routine processing of surgical specimens for other thyroid diseases such as goiter and thyrotoxicosis find incidental cancers in anywhere from 6 to 18 percent of patients.

Would you want to know if you have thyroid cancer or thyroid disease?

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

 

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Americans and claimed ~160,000 precious lives in 2014. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now mandated coverage for lung cancer screening and we are on the way to saving many lives! However, many “high risk” patients are not aware if their “risk” status and availability for lung cancer screening is available.

Should you have Lung Cancer Screening? You may be a candidate for lung cancer screening if you answer “YES” to ALL of the following:

  • Are you 55 to 74 years old?
  • Are you in fairly good health (no symptoms of disease)?
  • Do you have a long or heavy smoking history? (use this link HERE calculate packs per year smoking history- http://smokingpackyears.com/calculate)
  • Are you still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years?

lung_anatomy_rizwan_nuraniThe National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) was a large clinical trial that looked at using a type of CT scan known as low-dose CT to screen for lung cancer. The cost for a low-dose CT scan as a screening test for lung cancer is generally about $300 for each test, but prices vary widely at different centers.

Medicare recently decided to cover the cost of lung cancer screening, but if you are privately insured ask if your insurer covers lung cancer screening – they just might!

If all of the criteria for lung cancer screening listed above was answered “YES”, then you and your doctor (or other health care provider) should talk about starting screening. I would encourage you to also discuss screening, even if only some of the criteria listed are met, especially if you are concerned. Discussion should include what you can expect from screening, possible benefits and harms, as well as the limitations of screening.

The main benefit is a lower chance of dying of lung cancer, which accounts for many deaths in current and former smokers.

CAN LUNG CANCER BE PREVENTED?

  • Not all lung cancers can be prevented, but there are some ways you can reduce your risk of getting lung cancer
  • The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is not to smoke and to avoid breathing in other people’s smoke
  • If you stop smoking before a cancer develops, your damaged lung tissue gradually starts to repair itself
  • No matter what your age or how long you’ve smoked, quitting may lower your risk of lung cancer and help you live longer
  • People who stop smoking before age 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared with those who continue to smoke

After watching the videos below, you will know more about lung cancer and lung cancer screening than most. Take the time to become an advocate for yourself, family and your community!

Great Video: Learning About the Lungs and Lung Cancer

Is Lung Cancer Screening Right For You?

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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If you have never had a Computed Tomography, which is also called CAT or CT Scan, it will only be a matter of time before your physician recommend one. CT scan is painless and is considered a more advance/sophisticate X-ray machine. However, unlike an X-ray that shows only “2-dimension” images, CT Scan uses “3-dimensions” and allows us to see inside your body (see below).

One of the many fear, is that too many CT scans can cause cancer. However, as noted in this recently published article, the benefits of CT scans far outweigh the risks of the reasons why the CT Scan was ordered in the first place.

Excerpt from Medical News:

Like a donut - open at top

Like a donut – open at top

“In recent years, there has been widespread media coverage of studies purporting to show that radiation from X-rays, CT scans and other medical imaging causes cancer.

But such studies have serious flaws, including their reliance on an unproven statistical model, according to a recent article in the journal Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment. Corresponding author is Loyola University Medical Center radiation oncologist James Welsh, MS, MD.

“Although radiation is known to cause cancer at high doses and high-dose rates, no data have ever unequivocally demonstrated the induction of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates,” Dr. Welsh and co-author Jeffry Siegel, PhD, write.

CT showing tumor in a child

CT showing tumor in a child

Studies purporting to find a cancer link to medical imaging radiation have other flaws besides the questionable LNT model. For example, two recent studies suggested possible increased cancer risks from low-radiation doses associated with pediatric CT scans. But these cancers likely are due to the medical conditions that prompted the CT scans, and have nothing to do with the radiation exposure, Drs. Welsh and Siegel write.”

Read more HERE or http://www.news-medical.net/news/20150701/Low-radiation-doses-from-CT-scans-do-not-cause-cancer.aspx

No need to fear CT scans! There are so many other proven cancer causing elements you should be aware of – smoking, alcohol, obesity…and much more. Pay attention to and fix what you can!

 

Video: What is a CT Scan?

Video: Patient’s experience

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Seeking a second opinion is often exercised in many areas of life. It is often quoted that:

  • 70% of people consider a 2nd opinion for home improvement
  • 55% of people would consider a 2nd opinion on vehicle repairs.
  • What about Cancer diagnosis? How many get another opinion?

second-opinion-cartoonWhen it comes to cancer diagnosis and other serious chronic diseases, a second opinion is not only ok, it is recommended!

Your treating physicians should not mind, and in most cases, a good physician may even recommend that a second opinion be obtained. This recommendation is NOT a bad thing! As physicians, we are often very comfortable with our recommendations, but understand that there may be other ways of accomplishing what is best for you, the patient.

***Cancer is often a scary and frightening diagnosis! It is my recommendation to NEVER go to an appointment alone, if at all possible.***

PREPARING FOR A 2nd OPINION

Don’t wait too long after diagnosis – time is of the essence! Once you have completed your 1st set of appointments (or even during the process):

  • Tell your physicians that you would like to have a 2nd a opinion. They may recommend another hospital or physician and may assist with arranging an expedient 2nd opinion appointment. Alternatively, you may do this on your own, by seeking recommendations elsewhere/trusted sources
  • Sign release forms and/or gather all of your relevant medical records—including biopsy/pathogloy/test results, blood work, or any imaging test (CT scans, MRI, US, Mammograms, etc.,). This will prevent the need to repeat these exams – save time and money!
  • Create a list/time line of all the symptoms that lead to your diagnosis, if any was experienced
  • Write down and bring a list of all the medications you are currently taking (prescription and over the counter)
  • Write down and bring a list of all your questions. If you do not know what to ask, consider the things discussed at your first oncology appointment…AND please bring someone with you!

WHAT TO EXPECT

  •  The hospital/clinic may repeat their review of the pathology report to confirm the diagnosis
  • They will provide additional details about the type of cancer and its overall stage (a description of where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body)
  • Perspective from experts in different oncology disciplines, such as medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical oncology
  • Discussion treatment options (sometimes doctors may disagree with the original diagnosis or the previous proposed treatment plan – different chemotherapy, different radiation therapy approach, no chemotherapy or radiation, different type of surgery, etc.,)
  • The availability of clinical trials that you may want to consider
  • The favorite question most of my patient like to ask me – “What would you recommend if I was your…___(fill in the blank/relative)” … It never hurt to ask the same!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of recommendations in preparing for a 2nd opinion, but it is a start – for a blog *smile*.  Apply these recommendations to any other serious diagnosis. If possible, ask  questions before any surgeries or serious treatment. Oh, by the way, your research on the internet does not count as a second opinion!

Again, take someone with you on your appointments!

God’s speed!

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

 

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From the Physician’s Desk – Weekly Blog!

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ct_whole_bodyI recently had a conversation with a colleague regarding the increase use of whole body CT scans as a “preventive measure” and why this continues to be a major problem … who is going to curtail its use?!

Whole Body CT has become a hot trend and many Ads are proclaiming this as a Preventive Health Measure. Not true at all!

Why do you need a whole body CT scan?  The question to ask is, “Will the whole body CT scan be a life saver if I get it?”  If you are otherwise healthy, this is not necessarily true. Consider the following:

  1. Not Studied or Proven! The FDA knows of no data demonstrating that whole-body CT screening is effective in detecting any particular disease early enough for the disease to be managed, treated, or cured and advantageously spare a person at least some of the detriment associated with serious illness or premature death.
  2. Such screening provides uncertain benefit with potential for some risk: The most concerning being unnecessary Radiation Exposure
  3. The Cost: The cost ranges from $300 to $800 per scan and usually not reimbursable by insurance
  4. Not Recommended: Public health agencies and national medical societies – the American College of Radiology, the American College of Cardiology, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, and the American Heart Association – do not recommend CT screening.

Any presumed benefit of whole-body CT screening is currently uncertain, and such benefit may not be great enough to offset the potential harms such screening could cause (false positive, unneeded biopsies, increased stressors about what was seen or not seen, additional screening to rule-out what may have been seen, psychological affects, etc.,)  

Additionally, please know that getting a whole body CT scan because you are anxious about possible illnesses, will not solve that problem. Consider speaking with a Behavioral Health professional to address any anxieties  you may have…to get to the root of the matter!

Click below to watch (great questions from reporter!)

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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