It is Better to be Safe Than Sorry

Lung Cancer. Breast Cancer. Coronary Artery Disease. What if you were told these diseases could be detected early enough to prevent them? Or early enough to avoid them from becoming more severe? Because that is exactly the case. Screening tests assess people who usually have no major signs or symptoms of these diseases. They are able to detect diseases early on which can increase survival rates dramatically. Certain clinics, like Naples Diagnostic Imaging Center allow you to take a Health Screening test without a doctor’s instruction.

What are the benefits of Health Screening Tests? The most obvious benefit from a Health Screening test is to detect treatable and curable diseases. These tests have helped save many lives. Often times, when being examined for a specific disease, the test will pick up other abnormalities. In this case, you will be referred to your primary care physician or a specialist. Whether the test finds a disease, an abnormality, or nothing at all, the greatest benefit is awareness. After taking a Health Screening test, you are given the peace of mind that you are more in control of your health.

What different types of Health Screening Tests can I take? Naples Diagnostic Imaging Center recommends five particular Health Screening Tests. These include Mammography, Osteoporosis Screening (DEXA), CT Body Screening, CT Heart Score/Calcium Score, and CT Lung Screening. Each of these Health Screenings is used to detect a specific disease.

1. Mammography is the most familiar Health Screening test. These are used to check for breast cancer. It is an X-ray examination of your breast tissue. Mammograms are not only used for women, but for men as well. This can help determine the cause of any breast lumps, breast pain, or nipple discharge you may have. Over 20,000 mammograms are performed annually at NDIC alone. The main goal of a Screening Mammogram is to discover breast cancer when it is too small to be felt. Discovering breast cancer in the localized stage, without its spread to your lymph nodes, brings your 5-year survival rate up to 98%.

2. Osteoporosis Screening helps determine your risk of developing osteoporosis or any future fractures. Osteoporosis is the thinning and weakening of your bones that can happen naturally through time. This is often known as the “silent disease”. Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) helps to painlessly measure your bone mineral density. DEXA produces images of your spine, hips, and/or forearm using small amounts of radiation. Your doctor will then plot your bone mineral density in relation to your height, weight, and ethnicity. Osteoporosis Screening takes less than 15 minutes with no preparation needed. I think we can all agree that it is easier to screen for this disease than try to reverse bone loss.

3. CT Body Screening looks for any cancer, tumors, bone disease, and other abnormalities. Your lungs, abdomen, pelvis, and other critical organs will be scanned for detection. Although, it is not recommended to have a CT Body Screening if you currently have cancer or have a history of cancer. As with the Osteoporosis Screening, this exam does not require any preparation. Your doctor will receive your test results 24 to 48 hours after performed. This scan only takes 10 minutes to be completed.

4. CT Heart Score is an evaluation of your coronary arteries for calcified plaque. This is also referred to as Calcium Scoring. Our coronary arteries are in charge of supplying oxygen-containing blood to the heart muscle. It is very important for this line to the heart to be clear. When there is a buildup of plaque in our coronary arteries it can cause severe heart issues. The plaque can disrupt and narrow the flow of blood and make the risk factor of a heart attack rise. It is recommended you speak with your physician before Calcium Scoring. They will be able to use this newly found information to benefit you.  Preparations for this exam include no caffeine for 12 hours prior, no cold medicine prior, and to drink plenty of water.  The screening itself only takes 10 minutes.

5. CT Lung Screening is used to specifically identify early signs of lung cancer. In the United States, Lung Cancer is our #1 cancer killer. It is estimated that 222,520 people will die from Lung Cancer in 2014. Thankfully, CT Lung Screening can help reduce this number. Your entire chest and your mediastinum (middle part of your chest) will be scanned. The CT scan will be looking for any small masses in your lung. A person’s survival rate can be significantly improved when cancerous tumors are found at an early stage. You should especially look into getting a CT Lung Screening if you are a smoker from the age of 55-74 years old.

Naples Diagnostic Imaging Center offers these services and more to give their patients substantial advantages in the fight against disease. Call (239) 593-4222 to learn more about Health Screening and how it can benefit you. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry!

By 2020, heart disease has been estimated to be the leading cause of death throughout the world. If you are concerned that you may be at risk, take advantage of Calcium Scoring to help determine the health of your heart. You can contact Naples Diagnostic Imaging Center at (239) 593-4222 or visit them at 40 S Heathwood Dr on Marco Island.

Pam Caslowitz, MD

B.A., Brown University-1983

M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine-1987

Certified-American Board of Radiology-1993
Residency-Diagnostic Radiology, Tufts, New England
Medical Center, Boston, MA-1989-1993
Clinical Fellowship- Johns Hopkins 1988-1989
MRI Fellowship-Mass General 1993-1994
Areas of Special Interest-MRI and Body Imaging

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