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Health bulletin board: Low-dose CT scans screen high-risk smokers for lung cancer

By Cheryl Powell
Beacon Journal medical writer

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Doctors Sanjiv Tewari (left), NS Laden, Robert Netzley and Thomas Herbener (seated), Akron General physicians, are part of the team who screen smokers at high risk for lung cancer by using a low-dose CT scans. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal)

Several Akron-area hospitals are offering a screening test for smokers who are at higher risk for lung cancer.

Akron General Health System recently started providing low-dose CT scans of the chest to patients age 55 to 74 who have a history of smoking at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more.

Current smokers and those who have quit within the past 15 years are eligible for the screening, which costs $89.

Summa Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls also offers a low-dose CT scan for $99 with no restrictions for age or smoking history.

The screening is provided through the hospital’s Lung Health Program, which includes smoking cessation consultations and a resource kit to quit smoking.

Summa Health System’s Akron City Hospital, Barberton Hospital and the Summa Health Center at Lake Medina will begin offering the screening early next year to patients at higher risk for lung cancer, spokeswoman Jennifer Farquhar said.

The test isn’t covered by all insurers.

At least one major insurer in Ohio, Anthem, covers the test for people who meet the high-risk criteria, according to a company spokeswoman. Anthem’s parent company, WellPoint, started covering the screen for lung cancer last year for patients 55 to 74 who smoked the equivalent of a pack of day for at least 30 years.

Hospitals increasingly are adding low-dose CT scans as an optional lung cancer screening after the National Comprehensive Cancer Network released new recommendations last year.

Findings from a national study, published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed long-term smokers age 55 to 74 who had a low-dose CT scan rather than a chest X-ray were 20 percent less likely to die of lung cancer.

The goal is to find cases of lung cancer earlier, when they can be more effectively treated, said Dr. Robert Netzley, a thoracic and vascular surgeon at Akron General.

Netzley is part of a multidisciplinary lung cancer team that reviews all positive screening results.

“At the very early stages, you don’t know you have [cancer], necessarily,” he said.

The radiation used for the screening scans is less than a quarter of the amount needed for diagnostic CT tests, Netzley said.

For more information about Akron General’s lung cancer screening program, call 330-344-5864. To learn more about Summa Western Reserve Hospital’s Lung Health Program, call 330-929-5864.

Free holiday celebration

A celebration of the meaning, tradition and cuisine of cultural celebrations and observances of the season is coming to a local hospital.

Summa Western Reserve Hospital is joining with Summa Health System to host “Sharing the Season” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of the hospital, at 1900 23rd St., Cuyahoga Falls.

The event will feature free activities and entertainment. Free valet parking also will be available to guests.

Activities and performances will include a demonstration of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony by Snowflake Tea Room at 11 a.m.; a DVD presentation about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights celebrating life, at 12:15 p.m.; and a Native American solo flute performance by Michael Searching Bear at 12:45 p.m.

Food stations will include:

• Our Lady of Guadalupe — Tres leches, sponsored by ManorCare of Akron and Barberton.

• Lunar New Year — Chinese dishes, sponsored by Heather Knoll and Grande Village.

• Epiphany/Three Kings — Cheesy chicken tortilla soup, sponsored by Kent Health Care, Pebble Creek and Wyant Woods.

• Native American Heritage Day — Hopi corn soup, sponsored by National Church Residence.

• Christmas — Christmas cookies, sponsored by Maison Aine, Maple Wood and Arbors of Fairlawn.

• All Saints Day — Croissant sandwiches, sponsored by Altercare of Cuyahoga Falls and Hartville.

• Lucia Dagen — Coffees, cinnamon rolls and ginger cookies, sponsored by Aurora Manor.

Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or Follow Powell on Twitter at

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