Blog

01 Oct
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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Mindful Approach to Breast Health

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, take time out to love and celebrate your breasts by living mindfully.  Instead of focusing on negative breast cancer statistics, focus only on the factors you can control right now.   

Eat the rainbow – And we don’t mean Skittles! A diet high in fruits and veggies (5.5 servings per day) has been shown to lower breast cancer risk by as much as 11 percent. But instead of trying to overhaul your entire diet in a day, why not start with your next meal during Breast Cancer Awareness Month?  Since cruciferous vegetables – like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, as well as orange and yellow veggies, are most strongly associated with a lower risk, start there. Take time to savor each bite, while reflecting on the flavor and health benefits.

Move mindfully – Research shows that exercise lowers your risk. We know that finding the time – and motivation – to work out can feel like an uphill battle, but changing your mindset can help you to get moving.  Exercise is one of the few things in life that is 100 percent about you. Instead of dreading it, think about it as ‘me’ time – and focus on how good it feels to honor your body and put yourself first.

Meditate – Studies suggest that meditation helps breast cancer survivors cope with post-treatment symptoms like anxiety and depression. While we can’t say that meditation lowers breast cancer risk, we do know that a healthy body begins in the mind.  During  Breast Cancer Awareness Month aim to meditate for ten minutes every day.

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15 Sep
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Beyond the Pink: Make Breast Cancer Awareness Month Meaningful (Again)

While the idea behind breast cancer awareness month (October 2018) is to support and remember those who have battled, or been affected by the devastating disease, the sentiment often gets buried beneath an avalanche of  pink ribbons.

An estimated 266,120 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 – 40,920 – or over 15 percent will not survive.  The problem with these statistics is that they are just numbers. They don’t have names, faces, or voices to show us what they’ve been through. Cold hard breast cancer facts reduce the individual experience of every victim to nothing but numbers, and make us forget what we’re supposed to remember.

To conceptualize 40,920 people – imagine two Madison Square Gardens filled to capacity.  That’s how many women will die from breast cancer just this year. That means something.

We get so caught up in mindlessly ‘spreading awareness’ – wearing pink or retweeting the same breast cancer  meme for the millionth time – that we don’t stop and think about what any of it means.  We don’t think about the lives of the 266,120 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year – or how any of us – or our loved ones – could be one of them.

This year, instead of passive breast cancer awareness, take action in October.  Assess your risk for the disease. Schedule a screening mammogram at Bergen Imaging Center. Participate in a breast cancer walk to raise money for research, and lower your own risk (through exercise) at the same time. 

Whatever you do for Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2018 – make it meaningful.   Don’t just “think pink” – do something.

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15 Aug
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Eating These Vegetables May Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

Breast cancer research indicates that a healthy diet – rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, chicken, and fish – likely reduces breast cancer risk, while a diet high in fat and processed foods may increase the risk.

However, most studies examine broad dietary patterns without focusing on one specific type of food. It is often unclear what impact a ‘healthy’ diet has on breast cancer recurrence in women who had previously received a breast cancer diagnosis. Is diet directly related to recurrence rates? Or do the other benefits of healthy eating – such as weight loss – play a more significant role?

In a recent study published in the International Journal of Cancer, a team of researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA conducted a long-term investigation into the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption, and breast cancer risk.

The findings suggested not only that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of developing breast cancer and aggressive tumors

– but what kinds of vegetables, and how many servings of them can potentially offset the risk of developing the disease.

The team of scientists found that eating 5.5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day– as opposed to 2.5 servings or less– was associated with an 11 percent decrease in breast cancer risk. The researchers also found that cruciferous vegetables – such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts – as well as yellow/orange vegetables – such as carrots and yams – were most strongly associated with a reduction in risk for breast cancer, especially those that are more likely to be an aggressive tumor.

“Although prior studies have suggested an association, they have been limited in power, particularly for specific fruits and vegetables and aggressive subtypes of breast cancer,” said first author Maryam Farvid,  “This research provides the most complete picture of the importance of consuming high amounts of fruit and vegetables for breast cancer prevention.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3D Mammography Services
20 Jul
0

“Should I upgrade to a 3D Mammogram at My Next Appointment?”

Find out if 3D mammograms are right for you.

Every year, nearly 41,000 women die from breast cancer. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in women, behind lung cancer. While we still don’t know how to prevent it, we do know that early detection saves lives.  That’s why screening mammograms are so important.

Certainly, a traditional mammogram is better than no mammogram at all. But research indicates that 3D Mammograms – also known as tomosynthesis, or tomo – are both more accurate, and better at detecting dangerous cancers than 2D digital  mammograms. 

Traditional mammography is also associated with more ‘false alarms’, resulting in a higher callback rate for patients. This causes undue stress and anxiety in the patient, and increases healthcare costs by necessitating follow-up tests.

3D mammograms reduce recall rates by up to 40 percent  – meaning that patients can trust the results.

For women with dense breasts – and a higher risk for breast cancer –  tomosynthesis is a potential life saver.  While 2D mammograms produce ‘flat’ images, 3D mammograms can ‘see through’ even dense breast tissue, detecting irregularities that would be obscured on traditional mammography. These 3D images are similar to pages in a book, and allow radiologists to more closely examine each layer of breast tissue.

Current research also indicates that 3D mammograms may detect cancer earlier than 2D mammography.

With so many advantages , why would a patient choose not to have a 3D mammogram?  Unfortunately, the biggest drawback associated with tomo is cost.  Not all insurance plans cover 3D mammograms for breast cancer screening, so if you have to pay out of pocket, it can get expensive.

If cost is not a factor in your decision, then it’s definitely worth it to upgrade to 3D mammography. That said, never opt out of a getting a mammogram just because you can’t afford tomosynthesis. Mammograms save lives – period.

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20 Jun
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Breast Cancer Diagnosis, NJ:  Breast Cancer Survivors May Be Skipping Out on Mammograms

A recent study suggests that breast cancer survivors aren’t getting regular follow-up mammograms – even when their insurance covers the procedure.

Most doctors recommend that women undergo frequent mammograms after surviving a breast cancer diagnosis in order to detect disease recurrence, and catch it in its earliest stages. However, a recent study published in the May issue of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, suggests that many breast cancer survivors are not keeping up with their mammograms.

In the retroactive study, Dr. Kathryn Ruddy from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, found that the further survivors were from their breast cancer diagnosis, the less likely they were to undergo mammograms – even when they had health insurance.

Dr. Ruddy followed 27,212 breast cancer patients for a median of 2.9 years after definitive breast cancer surgery. One year after treatment, 13 percent of cohorts  had not followed up with any kind of imaging after surgery. By the 5th year, the

proportion of the remaining cohort (4790) who had no breast imaging was 19 percent. Dr. Ruddy also found that black women previously diagnosed with breast cancer were less likely than white women to follow their doctors’ mammography recommendations.

There was one common denominator among the women in the study: they all had health insurance.

As a retroactive study based on administrative health insurance claims, Dr. Ruddy’s work has a number of limitations – but it raises important questions. The most pertinent being: what are the reasons that an insured breast cancer survivor wouldn’t follow up on mammograms when the non-invasive procedure could literally save her life?

At Bergen Imaging Center we believe in educating all women—especially those who have had a breast cancer diagnosis in NJ—about the importance of mammograms. Mammograms save lives, but only if you show up for the appointment.

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Breast Cancer Diagnosis NJ
15 May
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Breast Cancer Diagnosis NJ: What are the Warning Signs?

By staying on top of your breast health, and going in for regular mammograms, you can potentially avoid a late stage breast cancer diagnosis. As we all know—mammograms save lives by detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages—when it’s still treatable.

While monthly breast self-exams are no longer recommended as a screening tool for breast cancer, it’s important to know what is normal for your body – and when to call the doctor.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis NJ: Signs and Symptoms

Lumps and Bumps: More than 80 percent of the time a lump will not result in a breast cancer diagnosis. But if it doesn’t go away, or it’s located under your armpit, you should discuss it with your doctor.

Sore and Tender Breasts: It’s normal for breasts to change over the course of your life. Birth control pills, hormones, periods, menopause and having large breasts can also cause soreness. However, if the pain gets worse, is only in one area of your chest, or prevents you from going about your regular routine, let your doctor know.

Nipple discharge: It’s completely normal for breasts to leak milk for up to two years after you stop nursing. Menopausal women may also notice a milky-white discharge. But if the discharge is green, bloody, or clear, then check with your doctor as it could be a sign of breast cancer.

Changes in Size or Shape of Breasts: Breast changes caused by periods, pregnancy, menopause, and weight gain or weight loss are completely normal, and usually don’t indicate a breast cancer diagnosis. But if you notice changes outside of these time periods, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

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Breast Cancer Diagnosis NJ
10 Apr
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Breast Cancer Diagnosis NJ: How is breast cancer diagnosed?

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer, and second leading cause of cancer death among women in New Jersey. As scary as that sounds, know that a breast cancer diagnosis isn’t a death sentence – especially if it’s caught early.

That’s why staying on top of screening mammograms is so important. Research suggests that mammograms may lower breast cancer mortality rates by as much as 40 percent.

Suspect a breast cancer diagnosis, NJ residents? Schedule your mammogram today.

It is also important to know what’s normal for your body, and to report any changes to your doctor. While lumps can be a sign of breast cancer, in most cases they are harmless. Generally, if your doctor suspects anything, she will order a mammogram to more closely examine the tissue via x-ray. If the mammogram is abnormal, she may recommend a biopsy. The good news is that 80 percent of women who have a biopsy do not end up with a breast cancer diagnosis.

For women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, the prognosis is generally good when it is found early. In fact, if cancer is only found in one breast, and hasn’t spread, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent. Even when it has spread to regional lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 85 percent.

Although we still don’t know what causes breast cancer, researchers have identified a number of controllable risk factors—including smoking and obesity—that increase a woman’s risk of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Leading a healthy lifestyle and staying on top of your breast health may significantly minimize your risk of developing the disease.

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19 Mar
0

Endometriosis Awareness Month: Endometriosis at a Glance

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, but chances are you weren’t aware! Unlike breast cancer, public awareness of endometriosis is relatively low – yet one out of every ten women of reproductive age is affected by it, and it’s a leading cause of infertility worldwide.

While the disease itself isn’t deadly, complications from endometriosis can be devastating. Approximately 30 to 50 percent of all women who suffer from it become infertile. Additionally, research indicates that ovarian cancer may occur at higher rates in women with endometriosis – though it is not conclusive.

Endometriosis Awareness: Fast Facts

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue (similar to the uterine lining)—grows outside of the uterus on other pelvic organs—leading to inflammation, swelling, and even the creation of scar tissue. The displaced tissue sheds every month during the menstrual cycle. Symptoms generally develop a few years after the onset of menstruation.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Symptoms of endometriosis include:
– Painful periods
– Painful ovulation
– Painful intercourse
– Long, heavy, painful menstrual periods
– Bleeding between periods
– Painful urination and bowel movements
– Infertility
– Other symptoms: fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea
– No symptoms at all

Endometriosis often goes undiagnosed because symptoms mimic other diseases, or are simply dismissed as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Sometimes there are no signs at all. If you experience any of the above symptoms, or if someone in your family has endometriosis, make sure to talk to your doctor.

Causes of Endometriosis

While there are no known causes of endometriosis, some evidence suggests that it may be hereditary.

Treatment for Endometriosis

While there is no cure for endometriosis, treatments can make the disease manageable, and lessen pain. Treatment options can include pain medications, hormonal medications (such as contraceptives), and/or surgery.

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15 Feb
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Breast Biopsy Preference May be Linked to Overestimation of Breast Cancer Risk

According to a recent survey study by Dr. Lars Grimm of Duke University School of Medicine, some women prefer an immediate breast biopsy to follow-up imaging.

The findings suggest that women who believe there’s any chance that they have breast cancer are more comfortable with an immediate biopsy – a preference Dr. Grimm believes may be linked to an overestimation of their breast cancer risk.

Dr. Grimm and his team of researchers examined women’s perceptions of their own breast cancer risk, their threshold for choosing a breast biopsy, and their anxiety levels using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).

Participants were asked for responses to two hypothetical scenarios:

  • A radiologist recommending short-term follow-up imaging six months after the initial exam
  • A radiologist recommending an immediate breast biopsy, with the acknowledgement that there was a low risk of malignancy

Women with high baseline anxiety levels estimated their breast cancer risk to be 27 percent more than twice the average woman’s risk of 12.4 percent. In the first scenario, participants estimated their risk at 33 percent; and just 46 percent of those women were willing to wait for hypothetical follow-up imaging. However, when an immediate biopsy was recommended, women estimated their risk at 46 percent; and 66 percent said they preferred a breast biopsy if there was any chance at all of breast cancer.

“For a select group of patients, especially those women with high baseline anxiety and a personal history of breast cancer, a recommendation for biopsy instead of short-term follow-up may lead to less regret and more relief,” Dr. Grimm said in an interview with AuntMinnie.Com.

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22 Jan
0

Is 3D Mammography Really Better Than 2D?

The purported benefits of 3D mammography include everything from higher breast cancer detection rates to lower patient recall rates. But in a hype driven world, is the technology behind digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) really superior to traditional mammography?

Benefits of 3D Mammography

While 2D mammograms produce ‘flat’ images, 3D mammograms can ‘see through’ even dense breast tissue, providing a more detailed look at what’s inside. These 3D images are similar to pages in a book, and allow radiologists to closely examine each layer of breast tissue for abnormalities. In traditional mammograms, breast tissue often overlaps, resulting in hard to read images and higher recall rates.

The false alarms associated with 2D mammography create unnecessary stress and anxiety for patients, and increase healthcare costs.

3D mammography not only reduces recall rates by up to 40 percent, it can also help improve the accuracy of biopsy recommendations.

Current research indicates that tomosynthesis finds more cancers than its 2D counterpart, and may detect breast cancer earlier than traditional mammography as well.

Disadvantages of 3D Mammography

DBT is often combined with digital mammography, potentially increasing radiation exposure. At Bergen Imaging Center we use GE Healthcare’s Senoclaire technology, which uses low dose radiation—similar to the amount in a traditional mammogram.

Probably the biggest drawback associated with 3D mammography is cost. The equipment is more expensive, and it takes longer to interpret images.

That said, preliminary findings presented by researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, during the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, suggest that when diagnosis related costs are taken into account, 3D mammography is more cost efficient than 2D mammography.

Verdict: 3D Mammography Wins

Based on current research, as well as our first-hand experience with 3D mammography at Bergen Imaging Center, the answer is a resounding yes!

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