patient undergoing a health screening

Health Scan: Preventative Screenings that Improve Lives

In Featured Articles, Green, Newsletter, Talukdar, Volume 10 Issue 1 by Addison Clark

Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg (MIF) offers state-of-the-art preventative screenings that are improving lives. With the latest technology, Health Scan provides patients with effective prevention and the best early detection. The Health Scan program began with three groundbreaking preventative scans: Lung Scan, 3D mammography, and Heart Scan.

Lung Scan

MIF is the home of our region’s expertise in administering and reading a low-dose lung screening, referred to as a “Lung Scan.” Lung Scan is a diagnostic, preventative screening that is now elective and available without a prescription.

Lung Scans are much more effective than chest x-rays and identify cancer much earlier. So much so that an NIH-funded national study including 53,000 patients ended early and concluded that low-dose lung screenings “reduced lung cancer mortality by 20 percent in this high-risk population.” Lung Scans require a brief appointment that is painless, noninvasive, and requires no contrast dyes.

Patients who are over 50 years of age, with a pack history of 20 or more years, or those who have a family history of lung cancer, should talk to their doctor about a Lung Scan. For patients who meet the eligibility criteria, the Lung Scan should be administered before symptoms appear — its greatest value is in catching lung cancer early, when it can be treated with the highest probability of success. Due to its strong prevention value, the Lung Scan now ranks alongside mammography, colonoscopy, and other established cancer screening tests as the most highly effective means of detecting and consequently treating cancer early. According to Dr. Jakob Schutz, the Medical Director of Body CT at Mary Washington Hospital, “Low-dose lung-screening [Lung Scan] is the best method currently available to detect lung cancer at an early stage.”

3D Mammography

In Women’s Imaging, 3D mammography is the latest preventative screening technology, detecting up to 35 percent of breast cancers sooner and resulting in fewer patient callbacks and biopsies. Instead of producing an image from a single vantage point, the unit moves in a 15-degree arc, capturing multiple images and compiling them to provide a more complete picture.
“3D mammograms use the same amount of radiation, in the same amount of time, but with much greater detail and information,” according to Dr. Roni Talukdar, Medical Director for the Imaging Center for Women and a Board Certified, Fellowship Trained physician with Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg. In 2D mammograms, breast structures can overlap and mimic a mass, but with 3D, each different image of the breast can be viewed for more accurate determinations. “Ultimately, it means that our ability to pick up small cancers is improved, and we have less false positives,” explained Dr. Talukdar.

Annual mammograms are one of the most important prevention steps that women can take for their health. Before regular screening mammography was a standard, cancers often went undetected until they were 2.5-3.5 cm in size. The practice of encouraging annual breast scans has resulted in the average mass now being detected at under 1.5 cm, resulting in a 98-99% survival rate. As Dr. Talukdar states, “It is a 15-minute procedure, once a year, that could save [a patient’s] life.”

According to the American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI), average-risk patients are advised to begin annual mammograms at age 40. Patients with higher risk, due to a family history of breast cancer, should start mammogram screening earlier.

Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg offers 3D mammograms at three convenient locations in Fredericksburg and Stafford.

Heart Scan

A Heart Scan, also known as a cardiac scoring, is a five-minute, painless, non-invasive CT scan that can detect cardiac disease before symptoms occur. Of the 735,000 people who suffer from a heart attack each year in the U.S., 50% experience a heart attack as the first symptom of heart disease. According to Dr. Neil Green, a Board Certified, Fellowship Trained physician with Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg, “1 in 29 asymptomatic patients’ calcium scores are 1,000 or greater, which indicates a heart attack waiting to happen. If we can discover who has cardiac disease before a heart attack happens, we can save lives and begin to eliminate the number one killer in this country.”

The Heart Scan is designed to calculate the risk of developing Coronary Artery Disease by measuring the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. The scan is recommended for men over 45 and women over 55, or patients who have at least one risk factor such as high blood pressure, high LDL or low HDL cholesterol, obesity, tobacco use, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease.

What do patients have to say about Health Scan? When asked about the impact of his experience with the Health Scan program offered at MIF, a patient replied, “It puts my belief back into the medical system. Seeing the results made me feel like I knew what I was dealing with. It empowered me.”

Call 540-741-9729 to discuss your scan with the Screening Coordinator. Referring physicians can call the RAF Physician Concierge to discuss further with a radiologist at 1-855-723-5463.