Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coping with Seasonal Allergies

 Are you suffering from itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing?  You're not alone!  Seasonal allergies affect millions of people each year, making the beautiful spring season a time of misery. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is the most common seasonal allergy, and is caused by the immune system overreacting to inhaled pollen from plants and trees. Symptoms are similar to the common cold – sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy, watery eyes. While allergies are rarely life-threatening, they do cause lost work days, decreased productivity, poor performance at school, and a lower quality of life.

There are treatments which can help with some of the symptoms. Often, antihistamines are used to treat allergy symptoms. Antihistamines are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. (Older antihistamines, however, can cause significant drowsiness.) Other ways that allergies are treated are by minimizing exposure to pollen, showering frequently (to wash off any pollen), using saline nasal sprays, decongestant sprays or steroid sprays, and desensitization with allergy shots. 

Local and national pollen count information is available at If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you might consider staying inside on days when the pollen count is at its highest. 

If allergy symptoms do not improve, and sinus pain and pressure persist despite treatment, a physician may order a computed tomography (CT) scan of the sinuses. A CT scan will show whether the symptoms of pain and pressure are actually coming from an infection or something else, and will also show if there are any anatomical causes for the sinuses to be blocked. Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology offers CT at nine of our locations.

How has this allergy season been treating YOU? Is it better or worse than previous years? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Angelina Jolie Opts for Double Mastectomy After Positive BRCA Results

In an opinion piece in the New York Times on Tuesday, May 14th, Angelina Jolie revealed her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy after finding out that she carried the BRCA1 gene, which drastically increases the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie, whose mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56, was told by doctors that she had an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. While only a fraction of breast cancers result from a gene mutation, those who have a BRCA1 defect have about a 65% chance of developing breast cancer -- although the specific risk is different for each woman.

Jolie bravely opted for a preventive double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, which she described in the New York Times' article. While many might have kept this information private, Jolie "wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent," she wrote. "I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."

She went on to say that "I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology offers the BRCA Genetic Test for women who are at risk of mutations in two breast cancer susceptibility genes -- BRCA1 and BRCA2. Patients complete a risk assessment form for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome, and then the BRCA test is performed using the "swish and spit" method (no blood is drawn). The test is appropriate for those who can answer "yes" (for themselves or a close family member) to any of the following questions:

  • Are you of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with breast or ovarian cancer in your family?
  • Do you or a member of your family have a history of ovarian cancer?
  • Does male breast cancer run in your family?
  • Have you or a family member had breast cancer at 45 years old or younger?
  • Have there been two breast cancer diagnoses in a SINGLE person, with one diagnosis at age 50 or younger?
  • Have there been two breast cancer diagnoses at age 50 or younger on either your mother's side OR father's side of the family?
  • Have there been three or more breast cancers diagnosed on either your mother's side or your father's side of the family?
 If so, and you would like to discuss having a BRCA test, please call (516)798-4242 ext 2022.

As Jolie wrote in her article, "For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Miss Walk MS: Long Island - This Saturday, May 18th!


Join us this Saturday, May 18th!

The MS Pooch Parade was a "howling" success! Over 3,000 people and 500 dogs showed up on Sunday, May 5th at Belmont Lake State Park to join in the Pooch Parade -- part of Walk MS: Long Island 2013, presented by Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology. The weather cooperated for the 3.5 hour event that covered about 2 miles. The community event raised money to assist in the search for a cure for multiple sclerosis, a chronic, debilitating disease. MS strikes people of all ages, races and nationalities.

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology is pleased to be the lead sponsor of Walk MS: Long Island 2013 -- which will take place this Saturday, May 18th, at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, NY. Money raised by this event, and the Pooch Parade, supports promising research to find a cure for the disease, as well as programs to help Long Islanders affected by MS. Your contribution and participation help your neighbors and community members who live with MS every day.

Please join us this Saturday to help make a difference! Register to walk, or volunteer, by visiting or call (631) 864-8337, ext 2 . Our ZPR staff looks forward to walking with you towards a cure for MS.  See you on Saturday!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Psychological Effects of False-Positive Mammography Results

For the first time, researchers have looked into the long-term effects of  "false-positive" results on screening mammograms and how it affects the emotional health of women. (A false- positive means getting results that indicate cancer when cancer does not exist.)

It is understandable that false-positive results would be emotionally upsetting, but researchers have found that the mental anguish of false-positive results can actually last for months and years. Researchers looked at 454 women with abnormal findings (both true positive and false-positive) on a screening mammography, and compared them with women who had normal screening results on the same day. The women were asked to complete a questionnaire which measured their psychological state at the time of the screening and then 1, 6, 18, and 36 months later. Researchers found that six months after the final diagnosis (telling the women whether they had cancer or not), women with false-positive results reported emotional distress as great as those reported by women who had actually been diagnosed with breast cancer. Even three years after being declared cancer-free, the women with the false-positive results reported greater negative psychological consequences compared with women who had normal findings. The researchers concluded that false-positive results on screening mammograms cause long-term psychological consequences. The study was published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Minimizing False-Positive Results
At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we are committed to minimizing false-positive results as much as possible. We achieve this by using state-of-the-art equipment and advanced technology. We also offer 3D mammography, in addition to regular 2D mammography. Studies have shown that adding 3D mammography to regular 2D mammography increases cancer detection while reducing the number of false-positives by 15%.

If you do get a positive mammography result requiring a biopsy, we ensure that your results are correct by using the know error breast biopsy system.

Have questions about mammography? Feel free to post them in the comments, and we will respond.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology WALK MS: LONG ISLAND 2013

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system. Over 2.1 million people worldwide are affected by the disease. There is currently no cure for MS.

On a positive note, however, new treatments are being developed. Just last September, a new drug called teriflunomide (brand name Aubagio, from Genzyme) was approved to treat the relapsing form of MS. The drug is currently also in phase III clinical trials to look at whether it may help prevent the development of MS in patients who are at high risk. Results of the study thus far have revealed that study participants taking the drug were significantly less likely to develop MS. Studies are ongoing.

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology is proud to be the lead sponsor of Walk MS: Long Island 2013 for the fourth year in a row. This event connects people living with MS and those who care about them. Please join us as we walk in support of those who live with MS.

Mark your calendars!

May 5, 2013 -- Pooch Parade at Belmont Lake State Park, Babylon, NY.  Bring your dog and show your support! Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

May 18, 2013 -- Walk MS: Long Island -- Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, NY. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

To register or volunteer, visit or call (631) 864-8337 and press #2.

We look forward to seeing you there! Don't forget to stop by the ZPR booth!