Blog - August 2016

3D Mammography: Am I a Candidate?

Posted on August 31, 2016 in mammography

It’s time for deciding on candidates! No, we’re not talking about the kerfuffle between Clinton/Trump, etc. This is much, much easier. And frankly, it’s more pleasant. We’re talking about YOU. Are you a candidate for 3D mammography?

 

There are so many great parts to your candidacy: No stump speeches, none of the incessant handshakes and kissing babies (though occasional baby kisses are endearing), and no complicated foreign policies to puzzle through.

 

In fact, you don’t even have to decide on liking (or disliking) one person over another. This is a decision about you: what can you do that best suits your needs? All you need is a quick review of the facts. Ready?

 

Simply being a woman carries risk of breast cancer. No matter what, you’re a candidate for annual screening mammograms (2D or 3D) starting at age 40 if you’re at normal risk.

 

3D mammography, also called breast tomosynthesis, is a special kind of mammography, known for its ability to see more details. Instead of taking a few images of the breast from a few angles, the “camera” (technically called a “gantry” but that vocabulary word won’t be on any of your tests) moves in an arc, taking images from multiple angles, which allows us to see your breast tissue, more clearly. This technology is being shown to detect breast cancer at earlier stages - and early detection saves lives.

 

Am I a Candidate for 3D Mammography?

  1. Do I have a family history of breast cancer? While around 80% of breast cancers occur in people who have no family history of breast cancer, risk jumps up with genetics.
  2. Do I have a personal history of breast cancer? Regular diagnostic mammograms will be a part of your life to ensure no breast changes develop  - and if it does, it gets caught early.
  3. Do my mammograms usually involve follow-ups, such as ultrasounds? About 10% of women require additional imaging. This doesn’t mean cancer, it means being careful. 3D mammography can reduce the time, cost and fretting over more work-ups.
  4. Do I have dense breasts? (It’s okay to admit if understanding the whole “breast density” is a little difficult - here’s a cheat sheet.)

 

So… how did you do? If you answered “YES” to any of those, you’re a candidate! You can be one of the many people who best benefit from the increased imaging capacity of 3D mammography. When scheduling your next annual mammogram, be sure to ask for the best imaging for your needs!

 

We’re voting for your best possible health!


 

(Image credit: Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst, Copyright Public Domain)

 

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Kinds of Breast Cancer, Different Kinds of Treatment (Celebrating Science Version)

Posted on August 29, 2016 in mammography

Whoa. Time to halt the works and talk science. Not she-blinded-me-with kind, but the they-opened-our-eyes kind. There’s a recent study we want to tell you about - it’s all about genes and breast cancer and the impact can be seriously good news for women with early stage breast cancer. Let’s start with the basics:

 

Genes are the way our traits are handed down from family members, be it eye color or hair color or left-handedness. It can be fun and interesting to note the qualities we share with parents, grandparents, siblings and more! It can also be more serious than that.

 

We’ve talked before about the BrCa gene (discovered by a hero, Dr. Mary-Claire King), a family trait that carries an incredibly high risk of breast and ovarian cancers. (It’s a good thing there are organizations like Bright Pink that are here to help!) It’s also important to know that even without BrCa specifically, there are other less-well-understood family traits handed down that also increase breast cancer risk.

 

It is being shown that genes don’t just help us determine how breast cancer travels in a family, but also what kind of breast cancer you have. You may have heard the term “triple-negative” breast cancer and that refers to certain genes in one specific type of breast cancer. It is becoming clear that knowing what kind of cancer and one’s genetic makeup can help determine the best course of treatment which can save time, side-effects, and yes, lives.

 

In his somewhat heady but very interesting TED talk from ten years ago, Juan Enriquez cited the HER2-receptor and its effect on the functioning level of certain medicines. (His comments start around 14:28 here.) Science is showing that the genetic code of your cancer can be the short-cut to skipping ineffective treatments and getting right to ones that can save your life!

 

And that was just one lesser-known fact from ten years ago - so why are we so psyched about the recent news we promised to share just paragraphs earlier? Because the New England Journal of Medicine published a five-year study about seventy (70!) genes that can help us understand - and treat - breast cancer better!

 

We realize that as medical doctors and science fans that not everyone will get as giddy as we do over a 70-gene panel test. But even the New York Times thought you, thought everyone, should know! These findings can “apply to to 35,000 to 40,000 women a year in the United States” alone. The more information doctors have, the more doctors can help, and in this case, perhaps help women by the tens of thousands.

 

We will keep doing our best to help women by screening for breast cancer. We will keep reminding you to get your annual mammograms. And we will always keep the mantra: “Early detection saves lives.” In other words, we are in this fight against breast cancer, we want to see a world full of healthy, thriving people. And as of this study, science just stepped up its game.

 

 


 

Image credit: Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry is pictured (l-r) with: Collette Carson (Head of School for Applied Science, SERC) & Ashleigh Reid (student) after opening new science labs at SERC, by Northern Ireland Executive, Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

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Komen Greater Kansas City Race for the Cure 2016

Posted on August 17, 2016 in mammography

A sea of pink, a smattering of pink tutus, smiles and hugs, names of loved ones on tags on backs - these are a few of the images of Sunday’s Komen Kansas City Race for the Cure that stay with you. The parade of survivors with hundreds of women and men is humbling and inspiring.

 

The racers’ tags list the names of those for whom they race and each of those names has a story. Unique stories all, they remind us of why we do what we do.

 

The gathering of women and men who are committed to continuing the fight against breast cancer reminds us of the power of community. Community brings us hope, empowers us, reminds us that you can find help and give comfort to others even though your journey is uniquely yours.

 

We at Diagnostic Imaging Centers were proud to be this year’s Presenting Sponsor. We will work with Komen until that promise between sisters to end breast cancer forever is fulfilled. Until that time, we remain committed to our goal of getting 100% of women in the greater Kansas City area screened for breast cancer.

 

Towards that end, we have brought mobile mammography back to the Greater Kansas City community, including for the first time mobile 3D mammography capabilities. We will bring our mobile mammography coach to where women work, worship, gather and shop. We will partner with Komen to reach the uninsured and underserved women in our community to make sure they too have access to mammography.

 

An end to breast cancer is our common goal. Early detection is our next best defense against this disease that still robs too many of too much.

 

Together, Susan G. Komen of Greater Kansas City and Diagnostic Imaging Centers will continue the fight.




(Image credit: our very own neuroradiologist, Dr. Greg Reuter)

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