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When something’s not right on your mammogram, finding timely and accurate answers to your questions is what matters most. 

In simple terms, a biopsy is a procedure where a small amount of tissue is taken from the body to be examined more closely. If your mammogram shows an area that needs to be evaluated more closely, one of the biopsy techniques available through USA Breast Services is stereotactic breast biopsy. Experienced breast surgeons use computer aided technology to guide a needle to the exact point of the abnormality that was picked up by the mammogram. Two different images are taken from slightly different angles to ensure the sample of tissue is removed from the correct location. 

The results of the procedure help physicians determine if you have breast cancer or any other breast abnormality. This form of biopsy is a less invasive alternative to surgical biopsy, requires little recovery time, and scaring is minimal to none.

After a stereotactic breast biopsy, samples taken will be sent to a pathologist for complete analysis. We understand that this can be a difficult time of waiting. That’s why results of the biopsy are available within 24-48 hours from the time it’s performed. The surgeons at USA Breast Services perform breast cancer surgery when necessary as well as coordinate breast cancer care and therapy with other specialists. We also offer unique services including facilitating referrals for specific therapies, support groups, risk counseling, breast health education, enrollment in clinical trials and much more. 

Click here for more information about University Surgical’s comprehensive breast services. Or to schedule an appointment for a breast biopsy or surgical consultation, please call (423) 267-0466. 

 

If there was a test that could find and effectively treat cancer in one appointment, would you take it? Across the country, 60 percent of people who should have a colonoscopy don’t follow through with their appointment. In Chattanooga, that number is 70 percent! It’s one reason why colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death, even though it can be prevented or treated 99 percent of the time with this simple screening. 

“I think people avoid or put off having a colonoscopy for several reasons. One is fear. They’re concerned about the bowel prep or have seen someone have a difficult time with it. Others are afraid that it’s painful, uncomfortable, or done without sedation,” says Benjamin Kellogg, MD, general surgeon with University Surgical Associates who practices in Dayton, TN. “Still others fear one of the few rare potential complications that they’ve heard can happen.” 

Thankfully, colonoscopies have improved in recent years. The dreaded bowel prep is now easier to complete, and patients are adequately sedated to the point where they feel no discomfort and don’t remember anything about it afterwards. It’s completely painless. During the procedure, a long, flexible tube lets the surgeon see inside the colon and rectum. Most colon cancers start as non-cancerous growths called polyps. If a polyp is discovered, it can be removed before it ever turns into cancer. Major surgery can usually be avoided as well.

“The benefits of early detection and treatment are dramatic – we know that colonoscopy works when people take advantage of it. We also know that a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer advances the older you get, and it’s impacted by family history,” says Shauna Lorenzo-Rivero, MD, colorectal surgeon with University Surgical Associates. “In the US, about 10 percent of the population has a first degree relative (mother, father, sibling) who has had colorectal cancer. When multiple family members are affected, your risk goes up even further.” 

Who should have a colonoscopy and when? 

Men and women who have no family history of polyps of colorectal cancer should start at age 50, then follow up every 10 years. It’s a little more complicated for people who have a family history of the disease. 

“The recommendations for people with a family history of colorectal cancer in a first degree relative are to begin at age 50 or 10 years younger than the age at which their affected family member was diagnosed, whichever comes first,” says Dr. Kellogg. “Genetics plays a very important role in the development of colon cancers, and people with a family history of these cancers are at much higher risk of developing colorectal cancer themselves, up to 2 to 4 times the risk of the general population. These higher-risk individuals should also go undergo screening every five years.” 

Don’t Ignore the Symptoms 

Colorectal cancers can present in many different ways. Part of why screening colonoscopies are so important is that often times people have no symptoms at all. Even if you don’t have a family history and aren’t yet 50 but are experiencing symptoms, talk to your doctor right away. These warning signs are a reason to see your doctor: 

  • Blood in your stool
  • Bowel never empties completely
  • Constipation, diarrhea or narrower stools than usual
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent gas, pain, cramps or feeling bloated
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Weakness or fatigue

Lower Your Risk 

If you’re thinking about other ways – in addition to screening colonoscopy – to help prevent colon cancer, studies have shown that a low-fat, high-fiber diet with daily exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, improve longevity and decrease cancers of all types. Increasing fiber intake to 30 grams a day by eating more fruits and vegetables or taking a fiber supplement is a good place to start. Not smoking makes the biggest difference. 

“The take away is that colonoscopies save lives. Colon cancer is 99 percent preventable if you do the test, find the polyp and prevent the cancer,” says Dr. Lorenzo. “Don’t let fear of the unknown or a busy schedule keep you from this lifesaving screening. One day out of your life to save your life is well worth it.” 

To schedule a colonoscopy with one of USA's colorectal cancer specialists, call (423) 267-0466. 

Why treat varicose veins?

March 28th, 2018

We know that unsightly blue lines on your legs and a cute spring dress or shorts don’t mix. But varicose veins aren’t just ugly – they can also signal a vascular problem. It’s estimated that 40 percent of the population in the US have chronic venous insufficiency, and women over the age of 50 are at highest risk. This condition occurs when the valves and veins become weak and blood ‘pools’ in your legs, leading to spider veins, varicose veins, leg swelling and more. 

Varicose veins, the thick, dilated and twisted blood vessels in the leg, are evidence that the veins and valves aren’t controlling blood flow like they should. They can come in several forms – from large clusters under the skin to small, thread-like spider veins that creep up the leg. 

Varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic issue, and that’s why seeking care from board certified vascular surgeons is so important. The highly trained surgeons at University Surgical treat the entire spectrum of vascular disease, using nonsurgical approaches including Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT), stab phlebectomy, schlerotherapy, radio frequency ablation (RFA) and venous stripping. Learn more about the Vein Center at USA and our advanced treatment for veins

University Surgical’s vascular surgeons treat varicose veins with three goals in mind – relieve symptoms, prevent further complications and improve the look of your legs. If you’re thinking about treatment to stop the pain, swelling and appearance of varicose veins, now is the time to start to see results by summer! 

Call 423-267-0466 to book your consultation.