Reduce Your Risk for Cervical Cancer

January 30, 2017 in News

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and we want to tell you about four things that may help reduce your risk for cervical cancer.

What is the cervix?

The cervix is a narrow passage at the end of the uterus, which opens into the vagina.

Cervical Cancer Symptoms and Diagnosis

Cervical cancer most often affects women younger than age 50, although about 20% of cervical cancers are diagnosed in women older than 65. The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are: abnormal vaginal bleeding (take note of anything that doesn’t seem normal for you), abnormal vaginal discharge, and pain during or after sex.

How to Reduce Your Risk for Cervical Center

There is no guaranteed way to prevent cervical cancer, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk including:

  • Get Tested There are two tests that are used to screen for cervical cancer: a Pap test and an HPV test. During a Pap test, a sample of cells is taken from the cervix and tested for cancer or other conditions that may develop into cancer. An HPV test looks for the human papillomavirus, which can cause cell changes that may turn into cervical cancer. Your doctor may recommend these tests every three or five years if you’ve had normal results before.
  • Consider an HPV Vaccine There are two HPV vaccines that protect against the types of HPV that cause most cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. The vaccines are given in three separate doses and are recommended for girls aged 11-12, but may also be given until age 26. Talk with your doctor and determine if these vaccines are right for you.
  • Don’t Smoke If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. The human body begins to repair itself as soon as hours after your last cigarette. Smoking increases the risk of cervical cancer, and all other types of cancer
  • Live a Healthy Lifestyle Maintain a healthy weight, ensure your diet includes many fresh fruits and vegetables, and get regular exercise. These lifestyle choices can lower your risk for cervical cancer as well as many other diseases and conditions.

Know Your Risk, Talk With Your Doctor

Cervical cancer is more common in the following groups of women:

  • Women with HPV, lowered immune systems, or genital herpes
  • Black, Hispanic, and American Indian women
  • Women who smoke
  • Women younger than 50, especially between the late teens and mid-30s

Know your personal risk and talk with your doctor about the screening tests that are right for you and how you can reduce your risk of cervical cancer.

Do You Know What Your Thyroid Does?

January 25, 2017 in News

You’ve heard of a thyroid, but do you know just how important that little butterfly-shaped gland is? January is Thyroid Awareness Month, which makes it a great time to learn about what the thyroid does, and how you can identify potential thyroid problems.

What is a thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located on the neck below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid secretes hormones, which influence many vital body functions including metabolism, menstrual cycles, heart rate, cholesterol levels, and body temperature.

Surprising Symptoms of Thyroid Problems

The thyroid may become overactive (known as hyperthyroidism) or underactive (known as hypothyroidism). There are many possible symptoms of a thyroid that is not working properly—some may be surprising—including:

  • Mood changes including anxiety, irritability, nervousness, or depression
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Trouble sleeping, excessive tiredness or fatigue
  • Dry skin and hair, or hair loss
  • Changes to the menstrual cycle including missed or light periods, or frequent or heavy periods

Your Risk for Thyroid Problems

A thyroid condition can affect men and women of all ages however, there are certain risk factors, which increase your risk including:

  • Being female (women are 5 times more likely to develop a thyroid condition)
  • Being over age 60
  • Having a personal or family history or thyroid problems, or autoimmune disease
  • A recent pregnancy
  • Radiation exposure to the neck

If You Suspect Thyroid Problems

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and decide if additional testing is right for you. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound or a biopsy procedure to provide additional information about your thyroid function. Raleigh Radiology offers these procedures and more at seven convenient imaging centers in the NC triangle.

Breast MRI: Who Needs One?

January 9, 2017 in Blog

Breast MRIBreast MRI is a type of medical imaging exam that produces extremely detailed pictures of the breast tissue. Using a very strong magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer program, MRI creates images of

Breast MRI is generally recommended for:

  • Women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer—which could be due to family history or certain medical conditions—may choose to have a breast MRI.
  • Women with dense breast tissue may get a breast MRI as a complement to a regular annual mammogram.
  • Women who have breast cancer may get a breast MRI to help doctors plan for an upcoming breast surgery.
  • Women who have breast implants that may have ruptured.

Breast MRI Benefits

Breast MRI is a safe, noninvasive exam that does not expose the patient to ionizing radiation. It is very helpful in the diagnosis and staging of breast cancer, especially when other imaging studies like mammography or ultrasound do not provide enough information.

Breast MRI Risks

MRI is considered to be very safe and poses very little risk to patients. Complications are rare, and are most often due to a reaction to contrast material. Potential problems include an allergic reaction to contrast material, or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, which may occur in patients with poor kidney function.

Your Breast MRI at Raleigh Radiology

While Breast MRI is a very valuable tool that can produce highly detailed images of the breast, it should not be a replacement for regular, annual mammograms. Breast MRI is best used as a complementary tool for certain patients. Talk with your doctor to find out if Breast MRI is right for you. And if you haven’t scheduled your annual mammogram yet, visit one of our 6 convenient locations offering digital mammography services.

Lung Cancer Prognosis

December 26, 2016 in Blog

lung-cancer-prognosisWhen caught in its earliest stages, lung cancer treatments are more successful and survival rates are higher. Lung cancer prognosis will vary greatly from one person to another but one fact is clear—low-dose CT lung screening reduces the risk of dying from lung cancer. In fact, annual screenings with CT scans aid in finding lung cancers in their earliest stages, when up to 90% can be cured.

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT is recommended for men and women who are considered to be at high risk for developing lung cancer. If you meet the following high- risk criteria, talk to your doctor about a CT lung screening test.

  • Between 55-80 years old
  • Currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years
  • Have a 30 pack-year smoking history (or more)

How to Calculate Your Pack-Year Smoking History

You can calculate your pack-year smoking history using one of the simple formulas below:

  • Pack-Years = (number of packs smoked per day) x (number of years smoked)
  • Pack-Years = (number of cigarettes smoked per day/20) x (number of years smoked)

Lung Cancer May Be Present Long Before Symptoms Are Present

One of the reasons that lung cancer is so deadly is because symptoms aren’t often noticed until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Lung cancer prognosis when diagnosed early is far better than when it is diagnosed later. If you are at high risk for developing lung cancer, get a lung screening before you notice symptoms.

Your Lung Cancer Screening at Raleigh Radiology

Raleigh Radiology offers low-dose CT Lung Screening at four convenient locations throughout Wake County, including Blue Ridge, Cedarhurst, Cary, and Brier Creek. The exam is covered by Medicare and many other private insurance providers. Learn more about low-dose CT lung screening on our website or call your preferred center with questions or to schedule your exam.

How to Prepare for an MRI

November 30, 2016 in Blog

prepare-for-mriAre you getting an MRI soon? Learn how to prepare for an MRI so you’re ready for your appointment.

What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to capture images of the inside of the body. MRI images are extremely detailed and can be used to image nearly any part of the body including bones, organs, ligaments, joints, and other soft tissues.

How to Prepare for an MRI

Preparing for an MRI is typically very easy. MRI is safe and requires very little preparation.

  • Because of the strong magnetic field, metal is not permitted in the MRI suite. Please leave all jewelry and metal accessories at home. Keys, credit cards, cell phones, underwire bras, and medical devices and implants that contain metal must also be left outside the MRI suite. However, the advanced technology at Raleigh Radiology makes it possible for patients with certain implanted medical devices to get an MRI. Learn more about MRI compatible devices.
  • Most MRI exams have no dietary restrictions. If you are scheduled for an MRI of the abdomen or pelvis, please do not eat or drink for 4 hours before your exam—an empty GI tract helps produce better images. If you are scheduled for an MRI with contrast, nausea can be a side effect of the contrast, so you may choose to limit food intake for 2 hours prior to the exam.

How to Prepare for an MRI with Contrast

Gadolinium contrast, also called contrast or dye, is used to enhance MRI images and make certain structures more clear. Contrast is typically given orally or through an IV in the arm or hand before MRI images are taken. Side effects and allergic reactions to contrast are rare but can occur. Your doctor will take a complete medical history and please be sure to inform your doctor of any known allergies, current medications, recent illnesses or surgeries, or a history of kidney disease.

Your MRI at Raleigh Radiology

All MRI scanners at Raleigh Radiology offer an open bore option. This new technology provides a much more comfortable experience compared to the older, closed MRI machines. IV sedation is available for patients over age 18 who may feel nervous or claustrophobic during the MRI procedure. To learn more about MRI at Raleigh Radiology, download our MRI brochure, or contact the Raleigh Radiology office in your area.

Risk of Lung Cancer

November 1, 2016 in Blog

1It is widely known that smoking dramatically increases the risk of lung cancer. In the U.S., 80-90% of lung cancers are linked to cigarette smoking. However, there are other additional risk factors for developing lung cancer including:

Secondhand Smoke

Even if you don’t smoke, exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk for lung cancer. In fact, exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer by as much as 20-30%.

Exposure to Radon Gas

Radon, which is naturally present in the atmosphere, is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. High levels can accumulate in certain areas, which increases the risk of lung cancer. Radon tests are often required during the process of purchasing a home, but not all states require this test. You may purchase your own test kit anytime at a home improvement store.

Exposure to Asbestos

Prior to 1970, asbestos was widely used in building materials and consumer products. Although laws have been enacted to limit the use of and exposure to asbestos, it is still present in many older buildings and products. Prolonged exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, especially in people who also smoke.

Family History of Lung Cancer

Most lung cancers are caused by smoking, or other risk factors including secondhand smoke, exposure to radon gas, or asbestos. However, it is possible to develop lung cancer even if you have never had prolonged exposure to smoke or other carcinogens. Anyone with a family history of lung cancer (in a nonsmoker) may be at an increased risk for lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Screening

Low dose CT (LDCT) lung screening is recommended for anyone at high risk for lung cancer. Smokers are considered high risk if they are between 55-80 years old, currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, and have a 30 pack-year smoking history. Nonsmokers with additional risk factors should speak with their doctor to determine if lung cancer screening is necessary. The cost of low dose CT lung screening is covered by Medicare and many private insurance companies for patients who are considered to have a high risk of lung cancer.

Raleigh Radiology offers low dose lung cancer screening at four convenient locations:

Lung Cancer Screening in Blue Ridge

Lung Cancer Screening in Cedarhurst

Lung Cancer Screening in Cary

Lung Cancer Screening in Brier Creek


Seniors and Sports Injuries

October 27, 2016 in Blog

seniors-and-sports-injuriesSeniors today are more active than ever before. This active lifestyle has many benefits for seniors including better mobility, flexibility, and balance. Exercise also helps to reduce the impact of chronic diseases or illnesses. However, with that active lifestyle comes a greater chance of sports injuries and statistically, seniors are more likely than younger people to injure themselves while playing sports.

MRI for Sports Injuries

MRI is often the best medical imaging technology to diagnose a sports injury because of the exceptional level of detail it provides. An MRI uses very strong magnets, radio waves, and computer technology to create images of the structures and organs within the body. The exam is painless, minimally invasive, and does not use ionizing radiation.

MRI and Pacemakers

In the U.S., the average age for pacemaker implantation is about 75 years old. It is estimated that up to 75% of these pacemaker patients will have a medical need for an MRI over the lifetime of their device. Yet many seniors have traditionally been unable to receive an MRI due to implanted medical devices like pacemakers. The MRI magnets attract the metal in certain implanted devices, which causes a potentially life-threatening situation. However, Raleigh Radiology’s new technology is able to accommodate patients with certain implanted medical devices including pacemakers.

MRI Compatible Medical Devices

If you have any of the following MedTronic devices, you may be scanned with MRI at Raleigh Radiology:

  • Pacemakers = Revo MRI and Advisa MRI
  • Standard ICD’s = Evera MRI
  • Heart Failure ICD’s = Compia and Amplia
  • Implantable Loop Recorder = Reveal and Reveal LINQ

Your MRI at Raleigh Radiology

For your safety, you will be carefully screened before your exam to ensure your implanted device is compatible with the MRI. After your exam, your MRI images will be interpreted by a board certified, fellowship trained musculoskeletal radiologist. To learn more about MRI compatible devices, please contact us.

To learn more about MRI safety, visit the official site of the Institute for Magnetic Resonance Safety, Education, and Research.

Your Mammogram: What to Expect

October 20, 2016 in Blog

1What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a screening exam used to diagnose breast cancer in its earliest stages. When breast cancer is diagnosed and treated early, treatments tend to be more effective and survival rates are higher.

What to Expect During Your Mammogram

We want you to feel as comfortable as possible from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. Our waiting rooms were designed to be calming and also have free Wi-Fi, free coffee, and good music. In the exam room, you’ll be asked to undress from the waist up and wear a gown. An experienced, female technologist will position your breast in between two plates, where it will be compressed and imaged. Then the same process is repeated on the other breast. The entire exam takes about 30 minutes to complete.

What to Expect During Your 3D Mammogram™

3D Mammography™, also known as Breast Tomosynthesis, is an optional, but highly recommended, add-on to a standard mammogram. The addition of 3D mammography™ produces highly detailed images of the breast tissue, which provides a clearer, more accurate view for the radiologist. 3D mammography™ adds only about a minute to the total exam time, and is especially recommended for women with dense breast tissue.

What to Expect When You’re Called Back After Your Mammogram

If a radiologist spots a potential abnormality on your mammogram, you will be called back for a diagnostic mammogram. We understand that you may feel anxious about the diagnostic mammogram however, it’s important to know that about 90% of callbacks do not result in a cancer diagnosis. A diagnostic mammogram allows a radiologist to get a closer, more detailed look at a specific area of breast tissue, which is usually a benign (non-cancerous) finding.

Scheduling Your Mammogram with Raleigh Radiology

It’s easy to schedule your mammogram with Raleigh Radiology. You may request a screening mammogram appointment online, or call our offices. Mammography is available at all 6 Raleigh Radiology imaging centers conveniently located throughout the NC triangle area.


Barrett Drive Breast Center Set To Close

October 19, 2016 in News

barrett-driveRaleigh Radiology is proud to be a provider of Women’s Imaging in the North Hills area of Raleigh, NC for more than 20 years. We provide care to countless women that we come to know on a personal level and appreciate as a part of our family.

With the relocation of many referring physician groups in the North Hills area and an ever-changing marketplace, Raleigh Radiology has decided to close our Breast Center location on Barrett Drive and focus our efforts on our other centers and future growth. The Breast Center will officially close on October 21, 2016.

breast-center-waitingSome of our patients opted to schedule your annual mammogram at the Raleigh Radiology Breast Center at your last appointment.   If you have an appointment scheduled at the Breast Center, our scheduling team will call you to get that appointment rescheduled at a time and location of your choice.

If you have not scheduled your appointment for your next annual mammogram, please call one of the following numbers to get on the schedule so you don’t miss this important screening exam.

Convenient Options for Scheduling Your Screening Mammogram

Phone:  919-781-1437
Phone:  919-877-5400
Scheduling Hours: Monday – Friday , 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Or schedule online: by clicking here.

Raleigh Radiology has imaging centers conveniently located throughout Wake County and Clayton. We will be happy to schedule your mammogram at the location best suited to your needs. Visit our locations page to familiarize yourself with all of our locations.

The same radiologists who interpret Raleigh Radiology Breast Center mammograms will interpret your mammograms at any of the other locations. All of your prior mammograms/Bone Density studies are digitally stored and will be available for comparison, so you don’t have to worry about transferring your images to another provider.

The Latest Technology

Many of our locations offer 3D Mammography™ Technology, the latest technology in breast imaging. It allows the radiologists to better see the different structures as well as location, size and shape of abnormal tissue. This technology allows more cancers to be found at earlier stages when they are more treatable and reduces the chance of a false positive exam requiring additional imaging thus reducing patient anxiety. Ask your physician if this exam is right for you.

Raleigh Radiology has been the community leader in breast imaging for decades and we thank you for being a loyal and much appreciated patient of Raleigh Radiology.

We look forward to caring for you and your family in the future.

Breast Health Every Month

October 3, 2016 in Blog

1October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It will be hard not to see the pink ribbons, TV commercials, and 5k fundraisers throughout the month. However, breast cancer awareness is important every month of the year—not just in October—because 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Between work, family, children, and other obligations, women often let their own health take a backseat, and it can be easy to forget about important screening exams. A new breast health program, a partnership between Raleigh Radiology and MIX 101.5, will help women remember to take time for their own breast health.

Breast Health Buddy Check

Raleigh Radiology has partnered with MIX 101.5 and on-air personality Diane Ramsey to sponsor a breast health program aimed at helping women remember breast health every month. The Breast Health Buddy Check program sends subscribers a monthly e-reminder to perform a breast self-exam. Taking the time to perform a monthly self-exam can help to find potential cancers early, when treatment is most effective. Visit the WRAL-FM website to learn more and sign up for the Buddy Check program.

Why do a breast self-exam?

During a breast self-exam, a woman checks her own breasts for changes or potential problems. The goal of a self-exam is to find breast cancer early, in its most treatable stage because when detected and treated early, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is over 90%. Early detection saves lives!

Self-Exams and Mammograms

In addition to monthly self-exams, most women should receive annual mammograms beginning at age 40. While self-exams help to find certain conditions that may be seen or felt from outside the breast, mammograms help to find abnormalities that are still too small to be felt. Mammograms are an essential part of your health! Don’t forget to get your mammogram each year.

Schedule Your Mammogram at Raleigh Radiology

Raleigh Radiology offers mammograms in several convenient locations including Blue Ridge, Cedarhurst, Wake Forest, and a dedicated breast center in Raleigh. Our staff of experienced professionals will answer your questions, provide comfort, and ensure the highest quality imaging.