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Valley Health Stepping Off Lung Cancer Awareness Month with Walk, Community Screenings

Valley Health Stepping Off Lung Cancer Awareness Month with Walk, Community Screenings

November is recognized annually as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death overall only to heart disease.

Dr. Shalini Reddy is the Medical Director of Thoracic Surgery for Winchester Medical Center. She says while smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, there are other contributing factors that shouldn’t be overlooked.

“Those exposed to secondhand smoking can also be at risk for developing lung cancer. A lot of times we think only the people who smoke are the only ones getting lung cancer. There are also environmental factors to consider that can lead to lung cancer. Radon is actually one of the leading non-smoking causes of lung cancer. Virginia and West Virginia both have a lot of radon exposure underground. The other concerns are occupational, like those exposed to asbestos and smoke, such as firefighters.”

Dr. Reddy recommends screenings for men and women between 55-85 years old. Symptoms can include a consistent cough that produces blood, shortness of breath, and chest pain while breathing.

“Those are already delayed symptoms,” Dr. Reddy says. “That means those patients may already have advanced stages of disease. A lot of times patients won’t have any symptoms but will have a CT scan or x-ray for another purpose and the lung nodules will show up. For that reason, if we can find the cancer very early in its stage, then it’s much easier to treat. The key is to find the disease very early.”

To help with early screening and prevention, Valley Health provides a Low Dose CT Lung Screening at all six of our hospitals. You can find more information, including insurance coverage details, by clicking here.

“This scan is usually done between the ages of 55-80 for patients who have been smokers for 30 years or more. Even patients who have quit smoking can get this scan. Again, the whole point of doing this is to find the cancer very early.”

On Saturday, November 7, Valley Health is hosting a Community Low Dose CT Screening event at the Winchester Medical Center Diagnostic Center for uninsured or underinsured individuals who meet screening criteria. Screenings are typically $250 for an uninsured patient, but the scan will be offered for $99 on Saturday.

“We will review the scan with the patient and go over any findings,” Dr. Reddy says. “After that, we will follow up with anything that needs to be done.”

To register for the screening event, call 540-536-1658.

Next door at the Valley Health Cancer Center on Saturday, there will be a non-competitive walk to promote lung cancer awareness. Located on the walking trail around the lake behind the building, the space will provide plenty of room for social distancing and enjoying the outdoors.

Those participating in the walk should enter the Cancer Center and proceed through the lobby to the doors leading outside to the garden. Masks must be worn inside of the Cancer Center and during the walk. Those in the same household may walk the trail together but should maintain a minimum of six feet of distance from any other walkers. Family or friends watching loved ones walk should also maintain proper social distancing.

You can also participate in the walk virtually! Take a picture of yourself to show your support of lung cancer awareness. Share it by using #VHLungWalk on social media. You can also send your photo in a private message to the Valley Health Facebook page.

For more information about the walk, call 540-536-3932.

Lung Cancer Awareness Walk:

  • Saturday, November 7, 2020, 11 am – 1 pm
  • Valley Health Cancer Center
  • 400 Campus Blvd. Winchester, VA 22601

Community Low Dose CT Lung Screening:

  • Saturday, November 7, 2020, 8 am – noon
  • Winchester Medical Center Diagnostic Center
  • 300 Campus Blvd. Winchester, VA 22601