The Importance of Low-Dose CTs as Lung Cancer Screenings

Survival rates are 5x higher when lung cancer is detected early.

Lung cancer is one of the most prominent cancers in the United States and throughout much of the world. Because of the prevalence of cigarette smoking and the subsequent secondhand smoke, more people than ever before are being diagnosed with lung tumors and cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015 alone, as many as 153,718 people died from lung cancer.

Every year over 218,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer and have to begin treatment. What can be done to combat these overwhelming statistics?

To begin, education about the seriousness and detrimental effect that smoking has on the body must continue. Several anti-tobacco coalitions have been successful in their efforts of creating shock and disgust at the consequences of smoking like this commercial or this video. Children need to be shown these horrifying effects early in their education and the other harmful symptoms can results due to smoking: premature aging, fertility problems, tooth decay, mouth cancer, mood imbalances, and many other side effects. If children are given the truth, a truth they can see and touch, they will probably be less inclined to try smoking as teenagers or adults.

But it isn’t just children that need to learn the dangers of lung cancer. Parents, teachers and other role models need to set an example that smoking is a serious and harmful habit that only leads to sickness, disease, and ultimately death. In addition to practicing what they preach in their own life, adults can do their part to protect their children and friends by supporting legislation that seeks to eradicate workplace smoking in places like bars, music venues, and casinos. The employees that work in these areas are only trying to make a living for their family and yet they are exposed to massive amounts of secondhand smoke every day. So many stories already exist of service industry workers contracting lung cancer even though they themselves have never smoked a cigarette in their life. It should be stopped for their protection.

This life-changing diagnosis of lung cancer can be prevented or at the very least hindered. Come to Doctors Imaging to have a low-dose lung cancer screening test performed. By having a low-dose CT scan performed, you can reduce the amount of radiation you’ll be exposed to as well as getting a clear picture of the condition of your lungs.

You may qualify for a low-dose CT lung cancer screening test if you meet the following conditions:

  • Adults without symptoms aged 55 to 80 years
  • You have a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • You currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Having this procedure performed will help to give you, your doctors and your family better understanding of your medical condition and what the next steps should be in getting you healthy. The best part about this procedure is that it is only $99 at Doctors Imaging in Metairie as opposed to the $150-$200 price tag at hospitals.

Why is this procedure so important? By having a screening test done early — before symptoms begin — doctors can determine if there are treatments available to save a life. By having this procedure performed, the risk of death due to lung cancer can drop by almost 20%. Prevention and early detection are the best methods for staying healthy and with your family for longer, so consider Doctors Imaging for your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test.

Request your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test today using our appointment form or by calling 504-883-8111.

Understanding CT Scans and Their Remarkable Images

CT scans have been a tool for diagnostic medicine for several decades. As medical technology and research become more advanced, this tool has been found in places other than hospitals, places like laboratories and history books. By using the power of CT machines, numerous educational institutions are able to use CT technology to decipher and explain the mysteries of the past.

CT scans, or computed tomography, use computer technology along with X-ray capabilities to photograph the internal organs. CT imaging produces cross-sectional images of the organs, so that doctors do not just see a flat picture, they see splices of the examined area. With CT scans, doctors can see through, into and around different body parts without the impediment of things like bones and muscles. This allows for a high level of detail and accuracy when looking at a patient’s body and finding the cause of disease.

Understanding CT scans is a key skill for historians that specialize in the discovering that which has been dead and buried for centuries. For many archeologists and scholars, CTs can provide answers that no other method of academia can. They can even act as a forensic tool in solving centuries old mysteries. The most recent example of this is British scholars finding the skeleton of King Richard III, a man who died over 500 years ago. While the stories and portrayal of King Richard III may be varied and less than perfect, what cannot be denied is how he died, thanks to understanding CT scans.

For many centuries, the skeleton of King Richard III was misplaced, a highly unusual fact for a person of royalty. In 2012, a group of scholars matched a map of the Battle of Bosworth Field and found what they believed to be the King’s skeleton underneath a mediocre parking lot in central London. However amazing their discovery might have been, without concrete, forensic evidence, there would be no way to prove that this was the skeleton of a former English ruler.

Different accounts of Richard III remark at his physical appearance, most notably, a hunchback. The unearthed skeleton contained a spine curvature combined with his location, those who found him were positive that it was the former king. Historians were able to test the DNA of surviving relatives to Richard III find out more about his appearance and answer the question as to how he died. By understanding CT scans and examining the skull, they were able to determine 2 specific blows to the head as well as an additional 11 other harmful injuries on the body that likely contributed to his death. They were able to discover these facts about a 500 year old skeleton thanks to the high imaging features of CT scans. Imagine what they can see in you!

CTs work to take “slices” of the body’s interior, meaning that if there is a spot or area to be examined, the machine takes several images of the same part but from multiple angles, ensuring that nothing is missed.  They are able to uncover what cannot be seen by the naked eye. And for patients that need CTs, they are the best way to get critical medical information without making any incisions. Because of the low dosage of radiation used in CTs, children and senior citizens can experience the benefits and advantages that CTs offer. This technology helps so many doctors and their patients, as well as scholars and their students, find answers and help maintain a high quality of life.

If you have other questions about what CTs can see and do, check out the CT Scan Service Page on Doctors Imaging website or you can call 504-883-8111 and speak to a representative.

How PET-CT Scans help Diagnosing, Staging & Treatment for Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is a disease that affects 1 million people and estimated reports claim that as many as 50,000 to 60,000 new cases are diagnosed per year. The disease has gained more notoriety and support since celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali have revealed their conditions to the public. Thanks in part to their courageous choice to live in the spotlight with their disease, there more hope for finding a cure and counseling those diagnosed each year.

Neurodegenerative diseases are both emotionally and physically taxing. Whether it is Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or Huntington’s, these kind of diseases can be hereditary and can present in different ways. For some there is a type of foreknowledge if a parent or family member had the same disease but for many, these kind of diseases come as a shock. After the initial diagnosis, most often people want to know how advanced their disease is. There are several tests that doctors will perform to determine a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

To begin, questions are posed to the patient in regards to their daily life and movements. Has there been increased difficulty performing any of these tasks? Pain performing these tasks? Forgetfulness or lethargy where there was once more energy? After that, the doctor will perform a physical test looking to see the presence of tremors, face slanting, stiffness in the neck and limbs, and balance irregularities. Other tests to test motor functionality are done to see how a patient moves and the time it takes them to perform certain tasks to see if there is a slowing or difficulty.

One method of diagnosis that has been particularly important in studying these diseases and their symptoms is medical imaging. After these preliminary tests are conclusive for Parkinson’s, doctors may prescribe a PET-CT scan to patient. PET scans or positron emission tomography, is a way of imaging the brain that makes deciphering between diseased and healthy tissue the easiest.

Like a traditional CT scan, doctors administer a radioactive drug into the bloodstream that reacts when coming into contact with diseased tissue. The brain is an organ, made up of tissue and billions of nerve cells. Diseases like Parkinson’s cause degeneration in dopamine neurons located in the midbrain. By injecting the radioactive drug 18-fluorodopa into the bloodstream, the PET machine measures the presence of these neurons as highlighted by the drug. It may be worrying to see the word “radioactive” but the drug is an extremely low dose and the procedure only takes 30-45 minutes at most. It is a non-invasive and helps doctors to determine progression of diseases and recommend further treatment.

If you have more questions about Parkinson’s and PET-CT scans, feel free to contact Doctors Imaging office in Metairie at 504-883-8111 or by filling out this online form.

More States in Need of LDCT Screening Centers

As opposed to cancers like leukemia and prostate, lung cancer is most often caused by lifestyle choices such as smoking cigarettes, other tobacco products or working in areas where carcinogen-filled smoke is present.

There has been an increase in advertising and lobbying for anti-tobacco campaigns. In addition, there are more than a few organizations now attempting to stop potential smokers in their youth before they pick up the habit. Thanks to these efforts and increased study on the connection between smoking and lung cancer, the rates of lung cancer in the US have decreased considerably.

In hopes of combating the lung cancer statistics, the American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to offer certification and accreditation to different facilities around the country that have met the strict informative, functional, and practicing ways that contribute to increased knowledge and prevention of lung cancer.

This initiative makes states more competitive in their efforts toward eradicating lung cancer, especially in states where there are high numbers of diagnosis.  Medical imaging communities have done studies on the effectiveness of these centers throughout the country by first surveying how many are currently in operation. The survey showed that “nationwide, each state, including Washington DC, had a mean of four screening centers; however, 11 states had no screening centers identified. There was an average of 0.3 screening centers per 100,000 people aged 55 to 79. Among the states with the best capacity of LDCT screening centers were Washington, DC, Connecticut, Virginia, Colorado and Maryland.”

The areas that need improvement are states like Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia and Missouri because they have some of the highest prevalence of lung cancer. Luckily for Louisiana residents, Doctors Imaging in Metairie has become the first in the Greater New Orleans area to receive the ACR’s accreditation.

Low-Dose CTs have been shown to be one of the best measures taken in early diagnosis of lung cancer. Because of the aggressive nature of lung cancer and the rarity of lung transplants, the earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin and the better the chances of survival are. CTs, or computed tomography, is using X-ray capabilities with computer technology to in order to examine the internal structures of the body. CTs are the preferred imaging tool when searching for the presence of lung cancer. Lungs are made up of tissues, blood vessels and nerves. Because CT imaging can produce cross-sectional images of the body’s tissue, CTs can see through bone and see the lungs from several angles, reassuring the patient that their scan is thorough.

Some may be hesitant to book the appointment for a lung cancer screening because they are worried about pain from the procedure or the possibility of radiation exposure. CTs are completely non-invasive and the average procedure takes no more than 30 minutes. The CT machines are calibrated so that the radiation used to highlight the internal organs is an extremely low dose, about as much natural radiation a person experiences during a year. Even more beneficial is that your results will be ready and transported to your practicing physician in the same day. He or she may need more time to review the results but you won’t have to wait for an obligatory waiting period.

If you believe that there is a possibility of you developing lung cancer or you are a former or current smoker over the age of 50, you should come in to Doctors Imaging for a lung cancer screening test. Be sure to have your test performed by radiologists that are specifically accredited by the American College of Radiology as a Lung Cancer Screening Center. Our machines are state-of-the-art along with our friendly and experienced staff want to help you with your imaging questions and concerns. Please feel free to look through our CT Scan Page to learn preparations and common questions or call our offices at 504-883-8111.

Medical Imaging Exams and Equipment to Help Diagnose Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. The cause is debatable between poor diets, lack of exercise or genetics, but regardless of why it is happening, people need to take the necessary steps to improving their lives. Any physician will tell a patient that the way to better cardiac health is through the tried and true methods of eating better, exercising more and taking precautions if your family has a history of heart disease.

Because of the widespread presence of heart disease around the world, doctors and scientists have been able to develop new and innovative ways to detect and combat heart disease. Medical imaging is the premier way for doctors to determine the probability of developing a heart condition and there are a few different kinds of tests to use.

MRIs are one method that doctors sometimes use to test the heart and blood flow through the coronary pathways. MRIs use strong magnetic and radio waves to create images of the internal body.

MRIs are not the only imaging exam that doctors can use when a patient is concerned about their cardiac health. Another frequently used medical imaging exam for determining the condition of the heart is through CT or CAT scans. CT scans are beneficial to examining the heart because the heart is a muscle and CT scans use X-ray and computer equipment to produce cross-sectional images of the body, including several types of tissue. In some instances, technicians administer contrast dye to view the coronary arteries in an exam called coronary CT angiography or CTA.  Other conditions to be on the look for include pericardial disease or heart disease that occurs in the pericardium or the sac that surrounds the heart. CT scans do use radiation to create the images of the body but Doctors Imaging calibrates all the machines to the lowest possible radiation setting so patients do not need to worry about further injury.

If your doctors are concerned about the possibility of a vascular problem leading to heart disease, he or she may order a carotid ultrasound. The body has two carotid arteries and if either one becomes compromised, the patient could go into cardiac arrest or stroke. If a patient is worried about their cardiac condition, ultrasounds are another completely safe and effective form of medical imaging. Ultrasounds only use sound waves and computer technology to create their images and patients and doctors can see the flow of blood throughout the body in real time, making it that much easier to determine and cause and find treatment.

All these tests are important for gauging your cardiac health. That doesn’t mean they need to be performed at once or you might miss something. Every patient and their symptoms are different and thus, every patient needs a personalized treatment plan for their illness. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, patients may have a 15 minute consultation as well as personalized treatment plan for their injury or illness.

For more answers to your questions or for more information feel free to contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-883-3555 or by filling out our online message form.

What Should I Expect as a Patient During a Low-Dose CT-Scan?

CT scans are used by doctors in order to create detailed cross-sectional images of the internal tissues and organs. By using the lowest possible dose of radiation in combination with computer technology, doctors can give patients clear and accurate diagnoses.. For those that have never had this particular imaging procedure performed, a little preview might be helpful in order to calm fears or concerns.

What is a low-dose CT scan?

A CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology in order to create images. X-rays use a small amount of radiation in order to show the body’s internal structures and produce images. On average, Americans are exposed to 3.1 mSv of radiation annually., CT scans use a slightly higher amount than that and qualified radiologists use the lowest possible dosage with respect to the size of a patient.

What Happens During the Exam?

CT scanners have the appearance of a tube with a spinning detector that collects the images your radiologist will use. For some procedures, the radiologist may ask that you abstain from eating for one or more hours prior to your examination.

Your CT scan will proceed as follows:

  1. While lying on your back,  a table will move your body slowly, feet-first, through the machine.
  2. If need be, your doctor may request contrast  for your CT scan procedure. Contrast is a substance that is used during imaging procedures to better understand your medical condition. Contrast material will be administered through an IV or by drinking a flavored substance. Some patients mention an itching or cooling sensation near the injection site or a slightly metallic taste, but it is still relatively safe and painless.
  3. As you are moved through the machine, your technician will be able to see, hear and speak to you.

The images and report are made after the procedure is performed, and you and your personal doctor can review the results  together to determine your treatment options.

You should inform your doctor if you have medication allergies or an allergy to iodine. You should also let your doctor know if you suffer from diabetes or any heart, thyroid or kidney conditions as contrast material may sometimes cause an adverse reaction in patients with these conditions. Otherwise, CT scans are non-invasive and painless and can provide incredibly useful information for your doctors to use in providing the best treatment options for you.

Doctors Imaging is now offering low dose CT Lung Cancer screening, recommended annually for those at high risk for lung cancer, for the low cost of just $99. Lung screening is performed without contrast.  To schedule your appointment, use our online appointment form or call 504-833-8111.

What Imaging Procedures Should Men Over 50 be Considering?

Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death for men over the age of 50 in the United States. Whether this is because of genetic defect, health condition or lifestyle is unclear, but what is perfectly clear is that these two conditions account for more than 45% of the deaths of men between the ages of 45 and 54 (and that number increases to 53% for ages 65+). It is an unfortunate fact that everyone gets old, but more so, visits to your physician can become critical and significant visits if the proper procedures are not performed. If you are nearing or over 50 years of age, even if you feel that you are in good health, discussing these procedures with your doctor can be a great preventative measure to keep you healthy and fit longer.

Your first line of defense in medical imaging procedures could begin with a chest X-ray. X-rays may seem like an archaic medical practice but they are effective in determining many conditions in the chest. A chest X-Ray is inexpensive and may unveil correctable conditions that improve your health. If you are a heavy smoker between the ages of 55 and 80 a low dose lung cancer  CT screen is now considered essential to save lives .

An ultrasound is also a prudent procedure that men over the age of 50 should consider having. Ultrasounds are useful for examining the internal organs and blood flow throughout them. Ultrasounds are used in examining areas like the thyroid and scrotum. In determining conditions like prostate growth or enlargement, ultrasounds may be the first procedure your doctor will order. Ultrasounds are usually painless and non-invasive.

Men over 50  may benefit from a having a CT CALCIUM SCORE TEST. Whether you have lived a healthy, active lifestyle or you spend most of your time eating cheeseburgers and soda, a chest CT scan can be a huge indicator of serious medical problems such as heart disease and cancer. CT scans can help determine problems such as heart tumors, coronary heart disease, and the vascular abnormalities that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

MRIs can provide additional detailed information regarding tumors and cardiovascular disease. MRI scans of the heart structures and blood flow to the surrounding organs can highlight areas containing blockages or diseased tissue. You may feel fine now, but inside, you could be a ticking time bomb and having these procedures done will help to show areas that require attention. A fear of medical procedures, because you’re worried bad news will come back, does not help the situation. Instead, think about how something unfortunate, when caught early enough, can be treated to keep you healthier and happier for years, if not decades longer.

If you’re a man over 50 who hasn’t had imaging procedures performed yet, take the time today to discuss preventive health with your doctor and make an appointment. It just might save your life!