Have You Checked Your Lung Health?

Author: Shannon Miller

Thank you to Dr. Steve Siegel, a medical oncologist with North Florida Hematology and Oncology Associates, for joining Shannon Miller Lifestyle Radio. We were talking Lung Health this week.

In case you missed the show you can always listen to any of our prior shows at Shannon Miller Lifestyle Radio Show Archive. In addition to some critical advice from Dr. Seigel, we were able to find out more about the brand new Lung Cancer Institute at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

Lung cancers are thought to develop over many years.

They may start as areas of pre-cancerous changes in the lung. The first changes happen in the cells themselves, but at this point the cells do not form a mass or tumor. They cannot be seen on an x-ray and they do not cause symptoms. Over time, these pre-cancerous changes may progress to true cancer. As a cancer develops, the cancer cells may make chemicals that cause new blood vessels to form nearby. These new blood vessels nourish the cancer cells, which can continue to grow and form a tumor large enough to be seen on imaging tests such as x-rays.

Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer in both men (after prostate cancer) and women (after breast cancer).

It accounts for about 15% of all new cancers. Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

St. Vincent's HealtCare Lung Cancer Institute.St. Vincent’s HealthCare opened the St. Vincent’s Lung Cancer Institute at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in September, 2010.

The main purpose of the Institute is to improve the lives of those diagnosed with lung cancer and to offer reduced price screenings to high-risk patients and those with a family history of the disease.

The Institute will also work to educate the public on lung cancer risk factors and identify potential problems earlier in an effort to improve outcomes.

Sadly, a lung cancer diagnosis is typically a death sentence as there are very few symptoms with lung cancer until it is too late and the cancer has spread to other vital organs.

Currently there is no standard test (like a Pap smear for cervical cancer) to determine if someone has lung cancer. There are screening methods though… but this is not a standard of care.

St. Vincent’s will offer at-risk patients (smokers etc) and those with a family history screenings at vastly reduced prices. The screening includes a chest x-ray and chest “CAT scan” (x-ray computed tomography scan) without contrast.

Nurse Navigator

This Lung Cancer Institute program also features a nurse navigator who will guide patients through the process working to ensure they are not lost in the system. The nurse navigator is a highly trained cancer nurse who will help patients schedule appointments, assist with complex paperwork, coordinate logistics among the care team, and help answer questions. St. Vincent’s feels this approach will result in:

  • faster treatment,
  • better outcomes
  • few overall headaches for patients.

Information courtesy St. Vincent’s HealthCare. For more information on Lung Health or their new Lung Cancer Institute please visit: http://www.JaxHealth.com

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