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Cancer answers: Is a lung scan for me?

Written by Community Health Network on 11/17/2014 6:00:00 AM

The new guidelines for lung cancer screenings encourage those at risk to get a low-dose CT scan. Who's at risk and why do they need a low-dose CT scan? We asked diagnostic radiologist, Kenyon Kopecky, M.D., FACR, at Irvington Radiology, to weigh in.

Who is really at risk for lung cancer?
Smokers are at the highest level of risk. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual screening for lung cancer for adults ages 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history (one pack per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years) and currently smoke, OR adults in the same age range who have quit within the past 15 years.

For a smoker who is otherwise healthy, scheduling a lung screening may not seem urgent or even necessary. In fact, the idea of screening individuals at “high risk” has been debated for decades. But, simply put, smoking is the biggest risk factor in all cancer types. Smoking causes 90 percent of all lung cancer cases. continue reading ...


10 common lung cancer questions with Dr. Jack Wei

Written by Community Health Network on 11/3/2014 6:30:00 AM

Dr. Jack WeiWe sat down with radiation oncologist and certified MD Anderson Cancer Network® physician, Dr. Jack Wei, to discuss questions surrounding the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

  1. Is there a link between lung cancer and smoking?
  2. Yes, smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. There can be other factors, but this is the number one cause.
     
  3. Are smokers at the highest risk for lung cancer?
  4. Yes, current smokers are the highest risk. Former smokers who’ve quit within the past 15 years, are between 55-80 years of age and have a 30 pack-year history of smoking are at a very high risk, too.
     
  5. Are people who have quit smoking still at risk for lung cancer?
  6. Yes, quitters are still at risk. Their risk is lowered when they stop smoking for an extended period of time, but it’s still recommended they get a lung screening to determine the health of their lungs. continue reading ...


A one-dose, targeted treatment for breast cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 10/29/2014 4:00:00 PM

Dr. Chase Lottich is a certified MD Anderson® physician and breast surgeon who specializes in treating breast cancer. 

After a breast cancer diagnosis it is important to understand all of the treatment options available to you.

"Breast cancer care has evolved since I became a breast surgeon 25 years ago," said Dr. Chase Lottich, breast surgeon at Community Physician Network. "Our approach to treatment used to be ‘one size fits all’. Now, each individual has options for treatment that not only consider their tumor, but their perspective on treatment and healing."

For women interested in the ability to receive a single, concentrated dose of radiation therapy targeted at their tumor at the time of their cancer surgery intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) can be a treatment option.

IORT is a targeted form of radiation therapy given at the time of a lumpectomy surgery that kills microscopic cancer cells at the tumor site with minimal damage to the surrounding healthy cells in the breast, skin, lungs and heart.

The therapy is delivered in a single dose of radiation to the lumpectomy cavity at the time of breast surgery and allows women to complete their local therapy in a single day as opposed to weeks of outpatient therapy. 

Current IORT treatment guidelines offer therapy to women at least 45 years of age, with early stage breast cancers that are less than 3.5 centimeters in size, and negative lymph nodes. continue reading ...


When should I get a mammogram?

Written by Community Health Network on 10/6/2014 12:30:00 PM

Claudia Davis, RN, OCN, CBCN, is an oncology nurse navigator at Community Health Network.

Claudia DavisThere is a lot of information about mammograms available to women, but sorting through the information can be overwhelming. Claudia Davis, registered nurse and manager of the nurse navigator program at Community Healthy Network, answered some of the most common questions about mammograms.

What exactly is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for abnormalities. The results are recorded on x-ray film or directly into a computer for a radiologist to examine. A mammogram allows the doctor to have a closer look for changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt during a breast exam.

How is a mammogram performed?
A mammogram is performed on an x-ray machine. A radiologic technician, places your breasts, one at a time, between an x-ray plate and a plastic plate. These plates are attached to the x-ray machine and compress the breasts to flatten them. This spreads the breast tissue out to obtain a clearer picture.

Most often, two pictures are taken of each breast — one from the side and one from above. A screening mammogram only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.

When should I start getting mammograms?

The American Cancer Society and American College of Gynecology recommend women get their first screening mammogram at age 40. continue reading ...


Put on your pink: It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Written by Community Health Network on 10/1/2014 9:30:00 AM

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - dedicated to increasing awareness about one of the biggest cancer threats to women. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2014 alone, 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States. Additionally, 62,570 cases of carcinoma situ (a non-invasive and early form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed.

Although the disease is predominantly seen in women, men are not immune. In fact, in 2014, more than 2,300 men are expected to be newly diagnosed with the disease.

Risk factors
  • Increasing age (risk almost doubles after age 60)
  • Inherited genetic mutations (BRCA1 and/or BRCA2)
  • Personal or family history of breast cancer
  • Extremely high breast-tissue density as seen on mammograms
  • Biopsy-confirmed atypical hyperplasia
  • Having Li-Fraumeni or Cowden syndromes
  • Never having children or having one's first child after the age of 30
  • Being overweight or physically inactive, or becoming obese after menopause 

Discovering breast cancer in its early stages greatly increases treatment options and survival rates. Regular screening mammograms and breast self-exams are extremely important. Simple lifestyle changes can also help you defend your body against breast cancer. continue reading ...


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Community first healthcare organization in the nation to be certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network®

Community Health Network is the first healthcare organization to achieve system-wide recognition by MD Anderson Cancer Network® as a certified member. The five hospital locations providing qualified cancer services in the network have met the rigorous standards to treat cancer patients with MD Anderson evidence-based guidelines and best practices. Learn more.


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