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Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 06:00 AM

New clinic will help in early detection of lung cancer

The opening of a new medical clinic in Marshall County this week offers faster diagnosis of spots that could be early lung cancer.

Marshall Medical Centers announces the opening of the Marshall Pulmonary Nodule Clinic March 3 to provide early detection and expedited care of lung cancer.

“This clinic will provide a standard approach for lung nodules and act as a community resource for ER doctors and community doctors that identify lung nodules in their patients,” said Dr. Christopher Manganaris of Pulmonary and Sleep Associates of Marshall County. “It will ensure adequate follow up and counseling for patients and family members with lung nodules.”

A lung nodule –commonly called ‘a spot on the lung’ – is a small mass of tissue in the lung that appears as round, white shadows on a chest x-ray or CT scan.

When a lung nodule diagnosis is made, doctors can refer the patient to the Nodule Clinic to meet with one of the pulmonary specialists within 72 business hours. There, the patient’s scans can be reviewed in an office setting. While 80 percent of pulmonary nodules are found to be benign and can come from an infection or scar tissue from an old infection, some are early signs of lung cancer and require prompt evaluation.

Dr. Manganaris said treatment of lung nodules has become very standardized over the last several years and is tailored to each patient’s circumstances.

“Risk assessment based on age, smoking history and the number of nodules determine how aggressive we need to be,” he said.

If a lung nodule is new or has changed in size, shape or appearance, a doctor may recommend further testing to determine if it is cancerous.

Testing could include any of the following which are available in Marshall Medical’s Nodule Clinic:

• Bronchoscopy – a procedure used to see the inside of the airways and lungs.

• Tissue biopsy – a procedure to remove a piece of tissue or a sample of cells to be analyzed in a laboratory.

• Low dose CT scan – special X-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body.

• CT guided biopsy – uses real-time CT images to ensure biopsy samples are accurately taken from the desired part of the lung.

• PET scan – an imaging test that assists in the diagnosis of cancerous lesions.

• Endobronchial ultrasound or EBUS – a technique to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes without conventional surgery.

Medicare covers lung cancer screening with Low Dose CT once a year for Medicare beneficiaries who meet all of the following criteria:

• Age 55-77 and are either current smokers or have quit smoking within the past 15 years;

• Have a tobacco smoking history average of one pack a day for 30 years;

• Receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements.

• Medicare coverage includes a visit for counseling and shared decision-making on the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening.

• The Marshall Pulmonology Nodule Clinic is located in the Professional Center next door to Marshall Cancer Care Center, just south of Cracker Barrel in Guntersville.

The Clinic is staffed by a group of physicians who take a team approach to treatment. They are:

• Dr. Christopher Manganaris – Pulmonology

• Dr. Jenna Carpenter – Pulmonology

• Dr. Gideon P. Ewing – Medical Oncology

• Dr. Jonathan A. Storey – Medical Oncology

• Dr. J.T. Payne – Radiation Oncology

• Dr. Dustin Bright – Interventional Radiologist

Marshall Pulmonary Nodule Clinic is located on Highway 431 just south of the Guntersville Cracker Barrel. The street address is 11491 US Highway 431, Albertville, Alabama 35950. Call at (256)894-6910 or visit us here.