In Australia, lung cancer accounts for nearly 1 out of every 5 cancer deaths. The 5th most common cancer, thousands of new cases appear every year. In 2011, statistics report over 8,100 deaths caused by lung cancer. The risk of a lung cancer is high, and most patients don’t receive a diagnosis until the disease has already progressed and symptoms have begun to appear. At this time, no routine screening test for lung cancer exists, but older patients who currently smoke or who have smoked for a significant number of years may benefit from a low dose CT scan.
How Does a Lung Cancer CT Scan Help?
Screening the lungs of a high-risk patient for early cancer symptoms is an opportunity for earlier identification of the disease. When discovered in the beginning stages, the possibility of curing and better treating lung cancer increases exponentially. Although Australia has yet to adopt an organised routine lung cancer screening, the American Lung Association in the United States recommends screening individuals from the ages of 55-80 and are former or current smokers, and who smoked an average of a pack a day for a period of 30 years. Long term smokers over 55 have the highest risk of developing lung cancer in their lifetime.
Results from America’s National Lung Screening Trial showed that low dose CT scans enabled radiologists and physicians to recognise symptoms of lung cancer more frequently, earlier, and with more accuracy than with traditional chest x-ray. This study also demonstrated a 20% reduction in mortality among lung cancer patients, attributed to the use of low dose CT scanning in early detection.
How Does it work?
A low dose CT can be an effective tool which not only detects early states of cancerous cells, but can scan for asbestosis (lung scarring), pleural plaque, and mesothelioma (pleural cancer). Painless and noninvasive, the lung cancer CT uses a low dose of radiation. CT’s create cross section images of the lungs, generating a 3-dimensional image that is effective at measuring the density of structures within the patient’s body. CT’s can be very useful for identifying growths or masses within the body. Tumors or nodules detected by such a scan may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Further diagnosis may be required through biopsy or other screening resources.
Prevention is Key
Although screening for lung cancer through a low dose CT scan can be an effective resource for certain patients, there is still much research to be done. With lung cancer and the other risks associated with cigarette smoking, the best step towards treating this disease is to PREVENT it. Not smoking is the greatest factor in prevention of lung cancer. If possible, its also highly advisable to avoid situations where others are smoking, as secondhand smoke can also be damaging. If you’re a current smoker looking to quit, the following resources can help:
For further questions about lung screening CT scan or any other information regarding our services, please contact our team of caring, experienced radiologists here at Vision XRAY.
At Vision XRAY, we handle a wide variety of scans, examinations, and processes that utilise a range of radiological equipment and technology. With advancements in recent years, image-guided procedures have grown in their effectiveness and application. Perhaps most common are image-guided biopsies and fine-needle aspiration, which assist medical practitioners in diagnosis and treatment of cancers and other diseases. But imaging can be useful during localised surgeries, injections, and more. Let’s take a closer look.
At Vision XRAY, we use image-guided procedures during most biopsies, including fine needle aspiration. The majority of biopsy procedures use thin needles or minor incisions to retrieve the sample of tissue to be examined.
We use ultrasound, x-ray, or CT to assist us in connecting with the correct, precise area under examination. Fine needle aspiration is typically chosen when looking at the tissue of the glands, breasts, lymph nodes and other complex areas. This is commonly used in testing for the presence of cancerous cells.
Injections are one effective means of pain management which often provide great relief for our patients. At Vision XRAY, we work with several types of substances such as cortisone, which, when injected into specific areas of the body can combat swelling and inflammation. This assists with the reduction of pain and can promote the healing process. Typical areas requiring such injections include the spine, joints, and nerves. We frequently use image-guided technology to complete these injections, as ultrasound or x-ray (among others) ensures our careful injections reach the precise, localised areas, allowing for maximum efficacy and pain relief.
Technology has come so far in the past decades, and many surgeries have now adapted to be minimally invasive, simpler procedures which offer better results and less recovery time for patients. This, in large part, is due to the availability of image-guided equipment, methods, and procedures. Many conditions which once required large-scale, major open surgery can now be completed with these advanced, less-invasive procedures.
What types of surgical procedures may be imagery-assisted?
- Treatment of some cancers (radiofrequency ablation)
- Treatment of vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Trauma (embolisation)
- Uterine Fibroids
- Pleural effusions (thoracentesis)
- Ascites (paracentesis)
In addition to these, other image-guided procedures at Vision XRAY include: pleural taps, myelograms, arthrograms, contraceptive implant removals, IVC filters, joint dilations, CT virtual colonoscopies.
Meeting Your Needs
Above all, our radiologists at Vision XRAY are committed to patient comfort, health, and care. Alongside your physician or specialists, we’ll work to determine the safest, most effective and beneficial scans and procedures for you, designing our process to meet your individual, specific health needs. With Vision XRAY, you can feel confident that you’re always in good hands.
Mammography, Ultrasound and MRI
There are times in a patient’s life when she may need a comprehensive radiology breast assessment: mammography, ultrasound, and MRI. Typically all three type of exams are only required if there is a potential breast issue which needs close and extended examination. Let’s take a look at the common routine for these 3 tests, and discuss their strengths, purposes, and aims.
Ultrasound Helps Detect Lumps
Generally, ultrasound is the first breast test one might undergo. If a routine breast exam–whether completed by yourself or by a physician–indicated signs of lumps or abnormalities, an ultrasound is the typical scan we would first use. The ultrasound is a painless and noninvasive procedure which uses sound waves to produce images of the body’s interior. When a lump has been detected, an ultrasound can help determine the density of the mass, helping to indicate whether the mass is solid, with the potential to be a tumor. Breast ultrasound is the most common breast exam for young women or those who should avoid radiation.
Combining the Modalities: Mammography and Ultrasound
For women over the age of 40, an ultrasound is generally performed alongside mammography, as the combined tests produce more accurate results. Mammography uses XRAY technology and brief compression to obtain imaging of the breast tissue. Mammograms tend to produce more accurate and detailed images than ultrasound alone, helping give a better picture of what’s going on within your breast. The two scans, when utilised concurrently, have a cancer detection rate of 85%.
Comprehensive Breast Exams
If necessary for a patient, Vision XRAY offers our comprehensive breast assessment, which includes mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and biopsy. MRI is another scan option which can aid in diagnosis. MRI uses radiation-free technology consisting of magnets and radio waves for detailed image “slices” of your body from various angles. MRI is not a replacement for mammography, but is rather an additional mode which helps the radiologist obtain information which may not be accessible through ultrasound or mammography.
The Patient is the Priority
Comprehensive breast assessments have proven extremely effective in detecting cancer or other breast abnormalities. The combination of technologies allows the radiologist a variety of images and tools to use as resources in performing a diagnosis and recommending a treatment and course of action. Vision XRAY is proud to offer dedicated Breast Centres with experienced radiologists who specialise in breast health.
Our first priority is patient care and comfort. As compassionate radiologists, we know that breast examination can be an emotional and frightening procedure for many women. Our utmost attention and focus goes to providing outstanding care, recommending the right procedures, and emphasising noninvasive resources and testing first.
Please contact us at Vision XRAY to discuss any question or concerns you may have. We are happy to help in any way we can.
A great majority of the procedures offered at Vision XRAY are completely painless and non-invasive. But with any type of medical examination or procedure, many patients report experiencing anxiety, nervousness, or tension prior to or during their appointment. Recognising that medical anxiety does exist for a fair number of people, we’ve created this post to offer support for those who do experience these feelings, and compiled a list of tips for relaxing during and before your Vision XRAY appointment.
Knowledge Can Be Power
For many people, fear of the unknown exacerbates their nervousness. If this is the case for you, learning as much as you can about a procedure or upcoming appointment can help alleviate a great deal of your worry. The radiologists of Vision XRAY are always happy to provide you with information about an examination or procedure, and will gladly answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact the centre at any time to discuss your concerns at any time. Additionally, the Vision XRAY website and blog offers a good amount of useful information, so a quick look around the site may let you know what to expect with a procedure, or better understand how something works.
A word of caution, however. Though Vision XRAY’s blog and website will provide proper information, as well as discussion with our highly-qualified radiologists, it can be inadvisable to use the Internet to seek answers for medical concerns. Unfortunately, there is as much incorrect information available online as correct, and it can be difficult to sift through it all. Many people report that “Googling” has caused them further anxiety and generated further unnecessary worries. It’s always preferable to consult with a certified medical professional.
Breathing, Counting, Mindfulness
There are many effective methods which can help promote relaxation. For some, deep breathing is key. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing can promote release of tension in the muscles, centre and ground you, and contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing. Many people breathe in conjunction with counting, which has the added bonus of distracting you in times of anxiety. Breathing and counting can bring your focus back to the present moment which is very helpful, and also the central element of mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness, or conscious awareness of the present moment, can help reduce frequent stress and worry. With mindfulness, one can practice by tuning in to the environment surrounding them, focusing on all 5 senses and observing what can be seen, heard, tasted, felt, and even smelled. Mindful focus on these sensory experiences distracts you from unneeded worrying and can help you slow down and feel more cool and collected.
Music & Visualisation
Listening to music is also a technique used to calm one’s nerves. Ask your radiologist if your appointment allows the freedom to use headphones. If so, you can listen to soothing music to help keep you relaxed and at ease during your procedure.
Visualisation is a technique which involves mentally visualising yourself in a soothing, safe, and perhaps beautiful place. Many people envision a beach, lake, or other calming environment. If you experience intense anxiety, this can be a great way to “transport” you elsewhere, and create a feeling of ease and joy.
Before Your Appointment
While the above practices will assist you during your appointment, you can also take steps prior to the appointment to promote your relaxation and well being. Arriving on time for the appointment will help you, as running late can create added stress.
Also, as mentioned above, gaining knowledge about the upcoming procedure or appointment can greatly aid you in feeling more comfortable and relaxed while at Vision XRAY.
Vision XRAY Group patients now have access to more Medicare rebates for GP referred Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (MRI). Please contact us at one of our convenient locations for more information.