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How Broken Bones Heal

How Broken Bones Heal

From accidents to sports to diseases that can weaken bones, fractures can happen in many ways and many places. While bones are naturally strong, impact can cause them to break or bleed when we push their limits — and sometimes, certain health conditions can cause bones to be more fragile than usual and break more easily.
x-ray of foot

When it comes to discovering how a bone is broken, why it happened and how broken bones heal, here’s everything you need to know.

What Causes a Broken Bone?

A broken bone — also referred to as a fracture — occurs when too much pressure or a strong force of impact is too much for your bone to withstand and causes it to shatter, snap, or break. While some fractures simply cause a crack in the bone, others may break the bone completely in one or various places. Depending on the force of impact and the circumstances of the injury, fractures will vary in type.

While bones most commonly break during accidents or while playing sports — resulting from a strong impact — sometimes, fractures occur as a result of conditions like cancer or osteoporosis, which weaken the bones and make them more susceptible to breaking when exposed to less impact than is normally dangerous. For example, cancer patients and people with osteoporosis might risk breaking a bone just by tripping and falling.

Types of Bone Fractures

Bone fractures can occur in a variety of different breaks. Here are the various terms doctors use to classify broken bones:

  • Open or closed: A closed break — also called a simple fracture — doesn’t puncture through the skin, while an open — or compound — fracture does.
  • Partial or complete: A partial break means the fracture doesn’t go all the way through the bone, while a complete break severs the bone into two or more pieces.
  • Displaced or non-displaced: When the broken pieces of a complete break still line up, the fracture is non-displaced. If they don’t, the break is displaced.

How Do Broken Bones Heal?

When a bone breaks, the body has a natural response to facilitate healing, although some serious fractures may require the attention of a doctor for treatments involving splints, casts or even surgery. The process of bone fracture healing begins just a few hours after the break occurs. Here are the steps involved:

  • First, the area around the break starts to swell as the blood clot begins to form, and the immune system will go into overdrive to remove small shards of bone and eliminate germs from the area. More blood vessels may also grow around the break to assist healing in the first week or two.
  • From a few days to a few weeks after the fracture occurs, a substance called collagen will begin to collect around the break, forming a stiff callus to help hold the bone in place as it heals.
  • Roughly two weeks after the break, osteoblast cells move in to form new bone with minerals and bridge the break in a phase known as the hard callus, which can last six to 12 weeks following the fracture.
  • Finally, osteoclast cells work on bone remodeling to return the broken bone to its original shape. While broken bone healing time depends on the type of fracture and the age of the patient, it can last anywhere from three to 10 weeks.

How X-Rays Can Detect Breaks and Help Bone Fracture Healing

When it comes to determining the type and severity of a fracture to determine the best treatment, X-rays or CT scans are necessary for detecting and understanding the break. If you need reliable, compassionate imaging for a broken bone, Adams Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) is here to help. Contact ADI today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Risks From Radiation Treatment

Risks From Radiation Treatment

When it comes to radiation imaging and radiation treatment, there has been rising concern over possible risks, leading some patients to neglect to participate in scans and treatments that could lead to the overall improvement of their health.

woman standing on beach

If you’re worried about the risks of radiotherapy and radiology scans, this information will help.

What Is Radiation Treatment?

While radiation therapy is a treatment used to decrease or eliminate the detrimental effects of medical conditions like cancer, blood disorders, thyroid disease or noncancerous growths, radiological scans like X-rays and CT scans are used to search for and diagnose cancer, tumors, blockages, broken bones and other conditions.

Both methods use radiation for their respective purposes — either to target and eliminate dangerous cells or to take images with the help of electromagnetic radiation waves. Because of their employment of modest amounts of radiation — which, in very large doses, can be dangerous to the human body — both radiation therapy and radiological scans are often a source of concern when it comes to potential health risks.

What Are the Risks of Radiotherapy?

When the body absorbs radiation, the exposure can cause damage to molecular structures and potentially lead to physical harm, which is why some are concerned with receiving radiation treatment or undergoing radiological scans. However, the damage that can occur as a result of radiation — including skin burns, hair loss and theoretically increased cancer risk — only happens in the case of exposure to very high doses of radiation.

When it comes to the low doses of radiation used in radiological imaging and radiation treatment, there’s little to no increased risk of cancer. In fact, a patient’s chance of developing cancer following a radiation treatment is only 1 in 2,000 — meaning there is a 99.9995 percent chance of not developing any adverse conditions from medical radiation. In comparison, the average American has a much higher percentage chance of dying of appendicitis — 1 in 263 — or developing lung cancer — 1 in 714 — than suffering from any radiation therapy side effects.

It’s also important to understand the difference between external and internal radiation exposure. While many patients are concerned with the possibility of retaining radiation within their bodies after a radiological scan or radiotherapy session, these procedures are forms of external exposure, which only submit the body to penetrating radiation that passes straight through.

Internal exposure, on the other hand, occurs when a person comes into contact with radioactive material — through direct inhalation, ingestion or physical contact — and is much more dangerous. While internal exposure is likely to have hazardous risks, it never occurs in medical procedures, and the external exposure of radiation treatment poses very little risk.

Come to ADI for Reliable Radiology

Now that you’re confident about the relative safety of radiation therapy and radiology, you’ll want to be just as comfortable with the professionals performing your procedure. Offering compassionate care and a background of comprehensive experience, Adams Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) provides the top radiologists to expertly administer radiological imaging services. Contact us today to get more information or arrange an appointment.

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Contrast Materials

Contrast Materials

When you’re recommended for a diagnostic imaging scan like an X-ray, MRI, ultrasound or CT scan, you might not know exactly what it entails, how to prepare or what agents it involves. To feel more comfortable moving forward with your procedure, you want to do a little research.

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An X-ray scan employs high electromagnetic energy to take an internal image of the targeted portion of your body, while an ultrasound collects data to make an image by transmitting sound waves through your body. A CT scan — or Computerized Tomography scan — is a special kind of X-ray scan that takes cross-sectional body images. An MRI generates cross-sectional images using radio waves and a magnetic field instead of X-rays. All three exams are used to scan internal organs, examine specific parts of the body, search for issues, and diagnose diseases.

In some cases, diagnostic scans require a patient to take contrast materials before the procedure to assist with the imaging. To give you peace of mind, simplify the details and educate you before your scan, here’s everything you need to know about contrast materials in diagnostic imaging scans.

What Are Contrast Materials?

Most often used in CT scans, contrast materials — sometimes referred to as CT scan dyes — are liquid pharmaceutical agents used to improve the body images taken during a scan by making your organs, tissue types, blood vessels or other parts of your body stand out significantly in the scan. By highlighting or “dying” specific areas within your body, contrast agents make it easier to examine the targeted organs and detect any issues.

Common Contrast Materials

Before a scan, you may be asked to take your contrast agent either orally, via injection, rectally with an enema or through inhalation for specific brain and lung imaging. Injection and ingestion are the most commonly used methods. Each type of contrast agent works slightly different. Here’s how:

  • Ingested contrast materials: These agents enhance images of the pelvis and abdomen through the use of Barium Sulfate or Gastrografin. Patients will drink about 36 to 48 ounces of the material to fill their stomach and intestines for highlighted images.
  • Injected contrast materials: Intravenous contrasts highlight blood vessels or enhance the tissue structure and appearance of various organs like the kidneys, liver, brain, and spine. The intravenous iodine agent is injected into the patient’s hand or arm and works its way into the bloodstream, circulating through the heart to throw the kidneys and liver into contrast.

Common Uses of Contrast Agents for Radiotherapy

Contrast materials are used in various types of diagnostic scans to detect and treat a multitude of health conditions in a variety of organs, including but not limited to:

  • Performing angiograms in the brain or for detecting brain malignancies and abscesses
  • Evaluating kidneys for stones, infection or injury
  • Searching for blood vessel abnormalities
  • Examining the liver for disease or damage

When it comes to reliable radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging, you can trust Adams Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) for expert procedures, compassionate care, and clear results. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Proper Screening and Lifestyle Changes Can Impact Cancer Risk

When Cheryl and her husband of thirty-five years sold their business and headed off to retirement, they looked forward to having more time to dedicate to their three children and four grandchildren. Discovering a lump in her left breast while on vacation dramatically altered their retirement plans and her outlook on the future. With no family history of breast cancer, the results of her mammogram were stunning. Cheryl was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple negative ductal carcinoma breast cancer.

Cheryl is not unlike many thousands of women who receive an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis. While aware of the disease and its impact on the lives of those suffering from it, the thought of receiving the bad news is one stuck in the back of the mind, hopefully never to be realized.

In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Death rates have been decreasing since 1989, but approximately 40,920 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2018 from breast cancer. About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. The two most common risk factors are gender and growing older. While you can’t change some breast cancer risk factors there are some risk factors that you can control.

Personal behaviors, such as diet and exercise, and taking medicines that contain hormones can impact the chances of getting breast cancer. Drinking alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Being overweight or obese increases the risk in women after menopause. The American Cancer Society recommends you stay at a healthy weight throughout your life and avoid excess weight gain by balancing your food intake with physical activity. Moderate and vigorous physical activity lowers risk for postmenopausal breast cancer. Vigorous physical activity lowers risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer, according to the recently released American Institute for Cancer Research “Breast Cancer Report.”

Early detection of breast cancer is the leading factor in the historic decline in cancer deaths. With screening mammography, treatment can be started earlier in the course of the disease, possibly before it has spread. Results from randomized clinical trials and other studies show that screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74.

“The importance of love and life hits you square in the face and it takes a strong toll on your body and spirit,” says Cheryl of her diagnosis and treatment regimen. Today she is more than one year cancer free.

For more than 25 years, Gettysburg Cancer Center has been committed to providing cancer care in a community-based setting close to home. The all-encompassing oncology and hematology programs provide a complete range of diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care for all types of cancer.

Cigarette Smoking a Leading Cause of Preventable Death in United States

On the last Sunday in November 2017, television viewers and print media readers experienced a dramatic moment that continues into this year. The three major U.S. tobacco companies were ordered by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to issue the first in what will be a series of five “corrective statements” about their products. The corrective statements are the result of a federal racketeering lawsuit brought against the tobacco companies in 1999 by the Department of Justice. These court-ordered statements, which cover five different topic areas, explain in detail and in plain language the reality of the health harms inflicted by tobacco products upon users. Not that the harmful effects of cigarette smoking on a smoker’s health is anything new. Since the 1960’s, smokers and non-smokers alike have been bombarded with packaging warnings, public awareness campaigns and tobacco advertising bans. In case someone missed the multitude of discussions, the new statements should leave little doubt about the dangers of smoking tobacco.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, causing nearly 30 percent of cancer deaths across the country. Of the more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful, including hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. Among those, at least 69 can cause cancer. While we are all aware that smoking causes cancer, smoking also harms nearly every bodily organ and organ system in the body and diminishes a person’s overall health. Among the cancers caused are: lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts, and worsens asthma symptoms in adults. There is no safe level of smoking. Smoking even just one cigarette per day over a lifetime can cause smoking-related cancers and premature death.

Despite all the good reasons to quit, kicking the smoking habit is extremely difficult. Studies show that most smokers picked up the habit as a teenager. Cigarettes contain various amounts of Nicotine, the highly addictive drug primarily responsible for a person’s addiction to tobacco products, so quitting can be very difficult even for those already diagnosed with cancer. A study by American Cancer Society researchers found that about 1 in 10 cancer survivors still reports smoking about 9 years after a cancer diagnosis. Lead author Lee Westmaas, PhD, American Cancer Society Director of Tobacco Control Research, says, “Doctors and health care providers must continue to ask survivors about their smoking and provide resources, including medications and counseling, to help them quit.”

Cessation has immediate benefits to a smoker. Ex-smokers suffer from fewer illnesses, lower rates of pneumonia and are healthier overall than people who continue to smoke. Regardless of age, smokers can substantially reduce their risk of bad health. Smokers who quit before age 40 reduce their chance of dying prematurely from smoking-related diseases by about 90%, and the reduction for those who quit by age 45-54 is about two-thirds.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other agencies and organizations can help smokers quit. For more information on organizations that can help you quit smoking, contact the NCI Smoking Quitline at 1–877–44U–QUIT (1–877–448–7848) for individualized counseling, printed information, and referrals to other sources.

 

The Importance of Connecting Patients with Clinical Trials in Cancer Research

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Clinical Trials are at the heart of medical research and are critical to finding new paths to prevent, detect and advance new treatment methods and medications for debilitating diseases. Patients with an illness or disease participate in Clinical Trials in order to receive the benefits of the newest treatment options for recovering from their disease and to offer the best opportunity for researchers to find better treatments for others in the future. Treatments may involve new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe and may also investigate other aspects of patient care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.

Providing information to patients, who have been diagnosed with a serious disease, about the specifics and availability of important Trials that may be of benefit to them is proving to be challenging.  ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants being conducted around the world and currently lists 247,989 studies with locations in all 50 States and in 201 countries. But accessing, understanding and utilizing this important data can be difficult and challenging for the average patient undergoing the emotional and physical experience of a recent diagnosis.

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf recently delivered a talk, “Finding the Right Balance in Learning about Therapies”, at a conference in New York City. In his address he said, “Our country is experiencing an unprecedented divergence of health outcomes that mirrors gaps in wealth and education…wealthy, highly educated people are benefiting from information that allows them to lead longer, more functional lives, while others are suffering. The clinical trials enterprise has gone awry,” he said. “It’s become unnecessarily expensive, cumbersome and arcane” In his opinion the system has become so costly and onerous that most of the important questions go unasked. “Doctors are heavily conflicted between patients and the institutions they work for,” says Dr. Robert. “The rosy view that doctors and patients are discussing all options and making the best decisions flies in the face of all evidence.”

The research and pharma industry is attempting to create new pathways to connect patients with the data and, most importantly, help them understand which clinical trial is best for their particular disease. The “Innovation and Clinical Trial Tracking Factbook 2017”, is an Assessment of the Pharmaceutical Pipeline listing the thousands of new drugs currently under trial across the U.S. and around the world. VitalTrax taps into a global database of clinical trials and ultimately organizes the complex web of information into a platform that allows patients, physicians, caregivers, and families to search for relevant trials in relevant locations – in a language they can understand.

Zikria Syed, CEO of VitalTrax says his company is taking an “Open Table” approach to enrolling patients in clinical trials. “We’re making a big bet on the fact that patients would appreciate tools that put the information, and an ability to learn about clinical trials and enroll, in their own hands.”

In smaller communities around the country local oncology providers are shortening the gap of distance and time for patients seeking the benefits of clinical trials. At the Gettysburg Cancer Center (GCC), Clinical Trials are available to patients who want to participate in this important process. The localized opportunity voids the often long drive to large regional healthcare centers for Trial participants and enhances the patients understanding of the technical and practical elements of the process in a personalized but highly qualified environment.

GCC, a leader in Oncology Care across the Central Pennsylvania region since 1989, is actively involved in providing the latest in clinical trials to their patients throughout their community.