MARTINS FERRY - Ohio Valley residents should be able to breathe a little easier knowing they have access to advanced lung cancer detection technology that often means a diagnosis without a biopsy.
Through East Ohio Regional Hospital's state-of-the-art superDimension Advanced Lung Navigation System, doctors can tell their patients whether they have lung cancer without an invasive, open-lung biopsy between 70-80 percent of the time, according to Dr. Attila Lenkey, a board-certified pulmonary physician at EORH and Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling.
Though the superDimension system at EORH is the only one of its kind at Martins Ferry, both it and OVMC offer comprehensive treatment at the Center for Lung Disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and early detection is essential to a successful outcome.
Dr. Attila Lenkey, a pulmonary physician at East Ohio Regional Hospital and Ohio Valley Medical Center, reviews lung X-rays with, from left, registered pulmonary function technologists Melanie Collinvitti and Phyllis Jack, and Lynn Swider, corporate director of the Center for Lung Disease at EORH and OVMC.
Photo by Ian Hicks
"Even if we save only one or two lives per year, we are very excited about that," Lenkey said.
According to Lenkey, the Center for Lung Disease aims to improve upon the more "fragmented" approach to lung care taken elsewhere.
"The purpose and hope of this comprehensive lung clinic is to combine all patient testing and treatments under one roof," he said.
Each patient is assigned to a "nurse navigator" who follows his or her treatment, and a variety of related disciplines are represented on the center's committee - including surgeons, radiation oncologists, nurse psychologists, dietitians and more.
"We do monthly meetings to discuss all our cases together," Lenkey said.
The center also offers low-dose CT scans to screen those at high risk for lung cancer. The low-dose scans are safer than traditional CT scans, delivering about the same dose of radiation as an hour in the sun in June, according to Lenkey.
And in addition to its advanced screening programs, Lenkey said the center also works closely with patients to develop healthy lifestyle habits, including smoking cessation.
According to Lynn Swider, corporate director of the Center for Lung Disease, the facility at EORH also serves as a pulmonary rehabilitation satellite clinic for the Ohio State University Medical Center, offering exercise classes and education to those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and more.
Advanced lung care such as that offered at EORH and OVMC is particularly important in the Ohio Valley, whose industrial heritage may make its residents more susceptible than others to respiratory issues.
Those in occupations such as coal mining, steelworking, welding and construction that may have been exposed to potential breathing hazards should receive screenings for respiratory health problems.
Screenings also are recommended for those over the age of 50 or who smoke more than 30 packs of cigarettes per year.