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Health briefs

| Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

New lung-cancer screenings offered at AVH

Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison has launched a new lung-cancer screening program designed to promote early disease detection among high-risk individuals and improve their outcomes.

The screening process includes a low-dose computed tomography scan to detect lung cancer in the early stages when there typically are no associated symptoms.

The vast majority of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed in advanced stages and significantly less likely to be treated successfully.

A recent clinical trial conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network and the National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Prevention demonstrated that screening current and former heavy smokers for lung cancer using low-dose CT imaging scans reduced their risk of dying from the disease by 20 percent.

The goal of the program is to improve survival by targeting those individuals with an effective screening tool, said Dr. Youssef M. Arshoun, radiation oncologist at AVH.

According to Arshoun, individuals may be considered high-risk for lung cancer if they are a current or former smoker, and 55 to 74 years old with a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (one a day for 30 years or two a day for 15 years).

The scan is completed during a single breath hold of 5 to 10 seconds. An AVH board-certified radiologist will interpret the test and share the results with patients and their family physician.

Health insurers do not cover the exam. Those interested in being screened at AVH should expect to pay a fee of approximately $200 at the time of the service.

For more information, contact AVH Radiological Imaging at 724-224-1840.

Programs set at Destination Wellness

Upcoming programs at Allegheny Valley Hospital's Destination Wellness at Pittsburgh Mills, Frazer, include: Joslin Diabetes Center's Self-Management Education class from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 17. The program is designed for diabetics interested in learning how to manage their diabetes, prevent complications, eat healthfully and control blood-sugar levels. Participants should check with their insurance carriers to determine coverage for diabetes educational services. Call 724-367-2400 for registration, fees and details. Space is limited to 20 participants.

Highmark Senior Products Seminar will be 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Participans will compare the features of HMO, PPO and Part D plans to make sure they have prescription drug coverage. A sales representative will have information, applications, discuss benefits, answer questions and explain how to enroll. For more information to to register, call 800-978-0231. Space is limited to 50 participants.

— Staff reports

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