CT Scans Increase Cancer Risk in Children



A new study estimates that CT scans performed on children this year will result in almost 5,000 new cases of cancer.


 

CT SCANS INCREASE CANCER RISK IN CHILDREN

As I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, exposure to medical x-rays has only recently been linked to a significant increase in cancer risk, particularly with the use of CT scans that expose patients to relatively large radiation doses at one time.  In fact, the prestigious Institute of Medicine has estimated that as many as 2 percent of all cancer cases are caused by exposure to medical x-rays.

Although cancer is more common during late adulthood, children are also at risk of developing cancer.  Moreover, due to ongoing rapid growth, children are more sensitive to the cancer-causing effects of radiation exposure than adults.

A newly published study, in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, further raises concerns about the current use of CT scans in children.

In this study, the use of CT scans between 1996 and 2010 in children under the age of 15 was analyzed.  Additionally, actual radiation doses were calculated for 744 CT scans performed on children between 2001 and 2011.

Between 1996 and 2006, the use of CT scans doubled among children younger than 5 years of age, and tripled among children between 5 and 14 years of age.  Between 2006 and 2007, the number of CT scans remained stable, and then began to decline somewhat after 2007.

After calculating the radiation dose associated with individual CT scans, the authors of this study calculated that one new case of cancer would be induced in girls for every 300 to 390 CT scans of the abdomen performed, and for every 330 to 480 CT scans of the chest.

When considering the estimated 4 million CT scans performed on children every year in the United States, the authors of this research study estimated that 4,870 children will go on to develop cancer as a result of having undergone a CT scan.  At the same time, they also estimate that reducing the highest 25 percent of CT scan radiation doses to lower levels could prevent at least 43 percent of these radiation-induced cancers.

CT scans can provide enormously important information to treating physicians, but many CT scans performed (on both adults and children) are of questionable clinical value.  Therefore, as a first step in reducing radiation exposure, CT scans should only be ordered when necessary, and only when other types of scans (e.g., plain x-rays, ultrasound or MRI scans) will not suffice.  Secondly, as I have discussed previously, both in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race and on my website, there is great variability between hospitals, and even within individual hospitals, in the amount of radiation that is used to perform otherwise identical CT scans; and as the authors of this study note, simply reducing excess radiation levels when performing CT scans may cut the number of cancers induced by CT scans nearly in half!

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 

Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

New Facebook Page for Doc Wascher Music

New Instrumental Rock by Dr. Wascher (Facebook)

Facebook Page for A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race

CNN Story on CTCA’s Organic Farm in the Phoenix Area

Dr. Wascher Discusses Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Poor Oral Hygiene Increases Cancer Risk

Autism May Affect Female Brains Differently than Male Brains

Child Obesity Rates Fall for the First Time

New Teeth Grown from Urine

HPV Virus Newly Linked to One-Third of All Oral Cancer Cases

FDA Approves New Brain Scan to Assess for ADHD in Kids

Epidemic of Drug Overdose Deaths Among Middle-Aged Women

Man Loses 155 Pounds

Naked Mole Rat May Provide Important Cancer Prevention Clue

The Effects of Poverty on the Brain

Half of Us Will Develop Cancer in Our Lifetimes

Protein Critical for Long-Term Memory Identified

HPV Virus and Cancer Risk

Probiotics May Decrease Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea caused by C. difficile

3-D Printer Helps to Save Baby’s Life

Experimental Drug May Reduce Heart Damage after Heart Attack

Vitamin D May Improve Asthma Symptoms

Doctor Provides Patients with Own Feces for Fecal Transplants

Rising Arsenic Levels in Chicken

Dramatic Increase in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged Americans Over the Past Decade

Cutting Umbilical Cord Too Soon May Cause Anemia in Newborns

Spiny New Bandage May Speed Healing of Skin Wounds

Study Confirms that Men Really Do Have Trouble Reading the Thoughts of Women

Deadly new Bird Flu Strain Cases Continue to Rise

Abdominal Fat Increases Kidney Disease Risk

Increasing Dietary Potassium & Decreasing Salt Intake Reduces Stroke Risk

A New Explanation for the Link Between Red Meat & Cardiovascular Disease

Deadly New Bird Flu Identified in China

Infection Risk: Keeping an Eye on Your Dentist

Couple Loses 500 Pounds in Two Years

Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed


Dr. Wascher’s Home Page



According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, 3.5 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


Bookmark and Share





































Post to Twitter

New Scan Almost 100% Accurate in Diagnosing Breast Cancer



A new type of scan is almost 100 percent accurate in diagnosing breast cancer.


 

NEW SCAN ALMOST 100% ACCURATE IN IDENTIFYING BREAST CANCER

An estimated 1.4 million women undergo breast biopsies every year in the United States for abnormal findings on their mammograms, and approximately 85 percent of these suspicious mammographic findings will turn out to be benign following biopsy.

At the present time, breast imaging technology has not advanced enough to replace biopsy for most women with suspicious abnormalities noted on mammograms, or for women who develop palpable breast lumps. For example, MRI scans can detect 95 to 98 percent of early breast cancers, but MRI is also associated with a very high “false-positive” rate, in which as many as 25 percent of identified abnormalities turn out, after biopsy, to be benign. In an ideal world, a “perfect” breast scan would accurately identify 100 percent of cancers and 100 percent of benign breast lesions, but such a scan does not exist at this time. However, a new technology for scanning small cores of breast tissue removed during a needle biopsy may bring us closer to that “perfect” breast scan.

A newly published study suggests that a novel imaging technology may be able to accurately distinguish benign from cancerous breast cells within core needle breast biopsy specimens with almost 100 percent accuracy. This study appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer Research.

In this study, a device known as a spectroscope was used to scan core needle breast biopsy tissue specimens from 33 women. Pathologists then evaluated these same biopsy specimens and compared their microscopic diagnoses with the findings of the spectroscopic examination.

Using an analytic method known as the Raman algorithm, spectroscopic evaluation of these needle biopsy breast tissue specimens was shown to be almost as accurate as the pathologists’ diagnoses. Among the biopsy tissue samples that were identified as having cancer by Raman spectroscopy, 100 percent turned out to be cancer. Among the biopsy tissue samples that were identified as being benign (i.e., no cancer) by Raman spectroscopy, 96 percent turned out to be benign, while 4 percent contained cancer, based upon the pathologists’ findings

This new noninvasive imaging technology offers a number of potentially important benefits to patients with abnormal mammogram findings, as well as, potentially, women who are undergoing breast-conserving surgery (i.e., lumpectomy) for confirmed breast cancer.

For women who are undergoing needle biopsy of their breast following an abnormal mammogram, Raman spectroscopy of core needle biopsy specimens may allow the Radiologist performing the biopsy to determine, in real time, the results of such biopsies, rather than waiting for a week or longer for the Pathologist to report a formal diagnosis. Raman spectroscopy may also assist the Radiologist in determining whether or not the core needle biopsy has been accurately and adequately performed, based upon the spectroscopic “signature” of the breast tissue recovered from the needle biopsy.

There is also great interest in using Raman spectroscopy to more accurately determine the adequacy of lumpectomy when performing breast-conserving surgery for confirmed breast cancer. At the present time, 25 to 40 percent of patients with very small breast cancers have to undergo repeat lumpectomy due to the presence of cancer cells at (or close to) the edges of the lumpectomy breast tissue specimen, as seen under the microscope by the Pathologist. There is, at this time, preliminary data suggesting that Raman spectroscopy may be useful, in the operating room, to identify areas (“margins”) on the lumpectomy breast tissue specimen where tumor cells are too close to the surface of the specimen, thus allowing the surgeon to take additional breast tissue in these suspect areas at the time of the original lumpectomy surgery. In the best case, this novel approach to breast-conserving surgery may spare many women with breast cancer the need for a second (or third) breast lumpectomy.

As a cancer surgeon who cares for a large number of breast cancer patients, I find this novel and noninvasive imaging technology to be very exciting, and full of potential promise and benefit to patients with abnormal mammograms, as well as patients who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 

Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

CNN Story on CTCA’s Organic Farm in the Phoenix Area

Dr. Wascher Discusses Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Half of Us Will Develop Cancer in Our Lifetimes

Protein Critical for Long-Term Memory Identified

HPV Virus and Cancer Risk

Probiotics May Decrease Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea caused by C. difficile

3-D Printer Helps to Save Baby’s Life

Experimental Drug May Reduce Heart Damage after Heart Attack

Vitamin D May Improve Asthma Symptoms

Doctor Provides Patients with Own Feces for Fecal Transplants

Rising Arsenic Levels in Chicken

Dramatic Increase in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged Americans Over the Past Decade

Cutting Umbilical Cord Too Soon May Cause Anemia in Newborns

Spiny New Bandage May Speed Healing of Skin Wounds

Study Confirms that Men Really Do Have Trouble Reading the Thoughts of Women

Deadly new Bird Flu Strain Cases Continue to Rise

Abdominal Fat Increases Kidney Disease Risk

Increasing Dietary Potassium & Decreasing Salt Intake Reduces Stroke Risk

A New Explanation for the Link Between Red Meat & Cardiovascular Disease

Deadly New Bird Flu Identified in China

Infection Risk: Keeping an Eye on Your Dentist

Couple Loses 500 Pounds in Two Years

Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed

 


 

Dr. Wascher’s Home Page



According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, 3.2 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


Bookmark and Share





































Post to Twitter

Increasing Number of CT and PET Scans Raise Cancer Risk Concerns





 

A new research study reveals a striking increase in the number of CT and PET scans being performed, resulting in increased radiation exposure levels


 

 

INCREASING NUMBER OF CT AND PET SCANS RAISE CANCER RISK CONCERNS

Last week, I discussed new data regarding CT scans in children, and the potential increase in lifetime cancer risk associated with these scans.  This week, I will continue with this general theme by reviewing a new clinical study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that documents the continuing rise in the number of medical imaging studies being performed, including computed tomography (CT) scans.  In view of this continuing increase in the number of medical imaging exams being performed, public health experts are concerned that cancer rates may also rise.

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, exposure to medical x-rays, and particularly exposure to radiation from CT scans, is an under-appreciated cancer risk factor.  Based upon conservative estimates, exposure to medical radiation is thought to cause approximately 2 percent of all new cancer cases, and most of this medical x-ray exposure comes from CT scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans.

It is important to acknowledge that, when ordered and performed appropriately, CT scans, PET scans, and other medical imaging studies offer enormous potential benefits to patients and their doctors, and the benefits of medical imaging far outweigh the risks in such cases.  However, since the advent of CT scans and other forms of advanced medical imaging, many physicians have increasingly come to rely upon these imaging studies when other methods of clinical diagnosis that do not expose patients to large doses of ionizing radiation will work just as well.

In this new clinical study, the electronic medical records systems of 6 large integrated health care systems in the United States were analyzed.  In this very large study, between 1 and 2 million patient records were reviewed every year between 1996 and 2010.  All patient-members enrolled in the following health care organizations during this 15-year period were evaluated:Group Health Cooperative in Washington State; Kaiser Permanente in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington; and the Marshfield Clinic and Security Health Plan in Wisconsin.

The focus of this study was on Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), because these organizations typically have very robust utilization management systems that are designed to monitor for, and prevent, wasteful or inappropriate medical studies, including unnecessary medical imaging exams.  Given that the use of advanced medical imaging studies has skyrocketed in the fee-for-service world in recent years, the authors of this new study sought to assess trends in the use of advanced medical imaging studies among HMOs, specifically.

During the 15-year study period, the patients of these 6 HMOs underwent 31 million medical imaging exams, equal to an average of 1.2 imaging tests per year for every patient-member.  More than one-third of these medical imaging exams were advanced medical imaging studies (CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans, and ultrasound scans).  When measured on an annual basis during the 15 year duration of this study, CT scan exams increased by 8 percent per year, while MRI scans increased by 10 percent per year.  PET scans, which are typically combined with CT scans, increased by a whopping 57 percent per year from 2004 through 2010.  (Ultrasound scans, which, like MRI scans, do not expose patients to ionizing radiation, increased by 4 percent per year.)

Of particular interest to me, as a cancer prevention expert was the finding that the increased use of CT scans resulted in a per capita doubling of radiation exposure doses among the patient-members of these 6 HMOs.  Moreover, the proportion of patient-members who received high and very high medical radiation doses also doubled during the course of this study, reflecting the increased use of high-energy medical imaging studies, including, primarily, CT scans and CT-PET scans.  Indeed, by 2010, 7 percent of these HMO patient-members received medical imaging studies that placed them within the “high annual radiation exposure” category (> 20-50 millisieverts, or mSv), while 4 percent of patients received “very high annual radiation exposure” doses of medical radiation (> 50 mSv).

Once again, it is important to stress that advanced medical imaging is a very powerful tool that can provide physicians with essential diagnostic information for many of their patients.  However, experts in the fields of Radiology and Public Health have become very concerned, in recent years, regarding the questionable indications for advanced imaging scans in many cases.  Indeed, there is the sense that these powerful diagnostic scans are too easily and too quickly ordered in many cases, and without compelling clinical justification.  Therefore, it behooves both patients and their physicians to ask a simple but very important question:  Does the likely benefit of undergoing a CT scan or CT-PET scan outweigh the possible associated risks?  If the answer to this question is no, then such scans should not be performed.


At this time, 8.2 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 




Bookmark and Share





































Post to Twitter

Addition of MRI to Mammogram and Ultrasound Increases Breast Cancer Detection






 

New research shows that adding MRI to mammogram and ultrasound increases breast cancer detection rate, but with a high rate of false positive results.


 

 

ADDITION OF MRI TO MAMMOGRAM AND ULTRASOUND INCREASES BREAST CANCER DETECTION

Currently, women who are at an average risk of developing breast cancer are advised to undergo annual screening mammograms beginning at 40 to 45 years of age.  Mammography, like any medical test, is not perfect (at least 10 to 20 percent of breast cancers will not show up on a mammogram among women who are at average risk for this type of cancer).  Moreover, mammography, which relies upon low-powered x-rays to form images of the breasts, is especially challenged by women with dense breast tissue, which is, by itself, a known risk factor for breast cancer.

In many cases, the addition of ultrasound to mammography can help to form more accurate images of dense breast tissue, and is also useful for further evaluation of indeterminate breast abnormalities identified by mammography.  (Also, both the lobular sub-type of breast cancer and small “low-grade” breast cancers tend to show up better on ultrasound than they do on mammograms.)  Together, the combination of mammography and ultrasound can accurately detect approximately 85 to 90 percent of breast cancers in women with normal-density breast tissue; but, once again, in women with dense breast tissue (including most women under the age of 40), the sensitivity and overall accuracy of mammography plus ultrasound is often considerably decreased.

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, has become a popular tool for breast imaging, although, like mammography and ultrasound, MRI of the breast has its downsides as well.  MRI is known to be much more sensitive than either mammography or ultrasound in identifying breast cancers, with most studies showing a 95 percent or greater sensitivity associated with MRI.  However, this exquisite sensitivity of breast MRI, as I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, is also associated with poor specificity (i.e., a high false-positive rate).  Because of its poor specificity, MRI scans of the breast will be wrong, or falsely-positive, in 15 to 35 percent of cases where an abnormality is detected.  Although there are other reasons as well, this high false-positive rate is the primary reason that MRI scans are not routinely used to screen for breast cancer.

As I have noted, none of these three common breast cancer screening tests are perfect, and each of them will miss some cancers that the other types of scans might pick up. With this information in mind, a newly published study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, examines the potential role of ultrasound and MRI scans as supplements to screening mammograms in women who are at an increased risk for developing breast cancer.

In this prospective clinical research study, 612 women deemed to be at increased risk for breast cancer underwent three years of annual breast cancer screening exams with mammography and ultrasound.  After completing these three years of annual screening with mammography and ultrasound, these women additionally underwent MRI scans of their breasts.  Abnormalities suspicious for cancer, based upon any of these three diagnostic tests, were further evaluated by biopsy.  This cohort of women volunteers was then followed for an additional 12 months, to monitor them for any signs of interval development of breast cancer.

The 612 women who underwent mammography, ultrasound and MRI screening were also part of a larger group of 2,662 high-risk women (54 percent of whom had a personal history of a prior breast cancer) who enrolled in this study, and who underwent annual breast cancer screening with both mammography and ultrasound.  Altogether, 110 of these 2,662 women were diagnosed with a new breast cancer during the course of this prospective clinical research study.

The results of this study clearly illustrate the limitations of currently available breast cancer screening tests, particularly among high-risk women.  Following three years of annual screening, only 52 percent of the breast cancers that arose were detected by mammography alone in these high-risk women, although the false-positive rate of mammography was very low, at 9 percent.  The addition of ultrasound to mammography improved the sensitivity, or detection rate, to 76 percent, with a false-positive rate of 16 percent.  When MRI was added to mammography and ultrasound, the detection rate (sensitivity) for breast cancer improved, significantly, to 100 percent, although the false-positive rate increased greatly due to the poor specificity of MRI and, to a lesser extent, ultrasound.  When these three breast imaging modalities were combined, 35 percent of the abnormalities identified turned out to be benign lesions, and not cancer, following biopsy or other confirmatory diagnostic procedures.

This study confirms that essentially 100 percent of detectable breast cancers can be identified using a combination of mammography, ultrasound and MRI.  However, this high level of sensitivity comes at a significant cost in that more than one-third of the abnormalities identified by the combined use of these three breast imaging modalities will, upon further testing, including biopsy, turn out to be completely benign.  Therefore, this high false-positive rate, particularly associated with breast MRI, is the Achilles heel of this combined imaging approach to breast cancer screening.

Fortunately, there are emerging new breast imaging technologies that appear to have the same very high sensitivity rate as MRI, while maintaining the high specificity (i.e., low false-positive) rate of mammography.  Among these promising technologies are Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging and Positron Emission (PET) Mammography (also known as “PEM”).  Ultimately, these newer technologies, as well as even newer technologies, will most likely someday replace the use MRI to screen for breast cancer.



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.



Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






Bookmark and Share





































Post to Twitter

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments

Better Tag Cloud