Friday, August 24, 2012

Dense Breast Tissue -- What Does it Mean?

This summer, New York became the fourth state (after Connecticut, Texas and Virginia) to mandate that women be notified if their mammogram reveals that they have dense breasts -- but what does "dense breasts" actually mean, and how does it affect you?

Mammograms can show whether breasts are made up of mostly dense (meaning milk producing or connective tissue) or fatty tissue. Fatty tissue shows up dark on mammograms, while dense tissue shows up white. The problem is that potentially cancerous spots also show up white, making them harder to spot in dense breasts. The purpose of informing women if they have dense breasts is so they and their physicians can discuss whether additional imaging procedures, such as ultrasound, MRI, or 3D breast tomosynthesis (also known as 3D mammography) would be beneficial to help identify potential problems.

Does having dense breasts mean a reduced chance of surviving cancer if cancer is discovered? The answer, according to a recent study, is no.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, followed over 9,000 breast cancer patients and found that patients with dense breasts were no more likely to die from breast cancer than those with less dense breasts. So, while tumors in dense breast tissue may be harder to detect, once detected they are no more aggressive or harder to treat than tumors in less dense breasts.

What does this mean to you?  If you are notified that you have dense breasts, speak to your physician about whether additional testing might be useful for you, such as 3D breast tomosynthesis. Patients who are classified as having dense breasts benefit the most out of this new technology. Ultimately, take comfort in knowing that breast cancer patients with dense breasts do not have worse outcomes than those without dense breasts.

For more information about the study, visit

Monday, August 20, 2012

Preventing Misdiagnosis in Breast Cancer

How common are lab errors? According to one study, 1 in 100 women (1%) may receive the wrong diagnosis due to a lab mix-up. With about 1.6 million women having breast biopsies each year, simple math shows that an alarming number may be misdiagnosed. How do we make sure that NEVER happens with our patients? Read on...

Question: I will be having a breast biopsy in a week, and I'm very concerned about something. I am worried that my sample might get mixed up with the sample of someone else, and that I might get a false positive that way. How do you make sure that samples don't get mixed up and that I get the proper results?

Answer: At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we understand your concerns.  Your fear is one that is shared by many people, and for good reason. Please rest assured that at ZPR we ensure that you get the right results by using the know error® breast biopsy system.

The system is very simple and painless, and uses DNA technology to match positive samples to patients. Here's how it works in a nutshell: Before your biopsy, a technologist will take a swab of the inside of your cheek. This gathers a sample of your DNA. As you probably know, DNA is individual to each person. No two people have the same DNA.

After your biopsy, all the samples, and your swab are carefully labeled and sent for analysis. In the event that your biopsy result comes back positive, the DNA from your sample is matched with the DNA from your cheek swab. You can have peace of mind that there is no way that you will get a result that isn't yours.

This is just one of the ways that ZPR strives to ensure patient safety and high standards for all of our patients across Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like addressed, please contact us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Healthy Eating for Kids

Our recent newsletter covers Kids and Radiology. This week's blog post will talk about how to get and keep kids eating healthy. If you don't get our monthly e-newsletter, and you'd like to, subscribe here.

Children can be notoriously picky eaters and getting them to try new foods (especially vegetables) and eat a balanced diet, can sometimes be challenging. Here are some tips for encouraging healthy eating habits in kids:

Eat the Rainbow. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, e.g., carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, blueberries, strawberries and tomatoes are healthier than "white" vegetables such as potatoes. Encourage kids to eat a rainbow of foods each day.

Go for Organic. Young children are more sensitive to pesticides and chemicals used in plant growth. If organic produce isn't too costly, it's well worth it. To see which fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic and which are safe to buy non-organic, visit the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide.

Play with Food. Letting kids play with their food -- i.e., make their own creations or make decorative foods -- is a great way to incorporate different veggies. Who doesn't like broccoli "trees" or carrot "swords" or "boats" made out of zucchini or cucumber?

Hide the Veggies. For kids who are resistant to eating vegetables, try disguising them. Zucchini bread, carrot cake, and bran muffins are all easy ways to slip some nutrition into what seems to be a treat. Also consider adding shredded carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, and mixing vegetables into pasta.

Healthy Substitutions. Instead of cookies or candy, give kids bowls of berries, cherries, or mixed raisins and nuts for snacks. Instead of french fries, try oven roasted sweet potato wedges. Instead of iceberg lettuce, try a darker green like spinach or mixed baby greens. Use fresh vegetables whenever possible, and frozen rather than canned.

Let them Cook. When children are involved in the cooking, they will be more likely to try the finished product. Let kids take part in food preparation (supervised of course) and they may be willing to try foods they never would have tried before.