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Reducing mortality from lung cancer

Lung cancer kills more Americans than breast, colon and prostate cancers — combined. It is the leading cause of cancer death nationally and in Colorado.

Many people don’t realize that nearly 80 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer are people who have never smoked or former smokers who quit decades ago. Because there is often a misconception that those with lung cancer “did this to themselves” or somehow “deserve” lung cancer, we find that public attention and empathy to the disease is often lacking.

I am the new pulmonologist at the new Lung Center at Valley View, and along with my partner, Suresh M. Khilnani, M.D., we are passionate about raising awareness about the hundreds of thousands affected by lung cancer and end the stigma associated with it. We are also committed to supporting the early diagnosis of lung cancer so that we can increase chances of survival.

In fact, we are so committed to increasing chances of survival that beginning Dec. 1, Valley View is offering free evaluations every Thursday from 9 -11:30 a.m. to evaluate patients as potential candidates for a low-dose CT scan. No appointment necessary.

There is scientific validation that screening those at high risk with low-dose CT scans can save tens of thousands of lives a year. Recently a government panel recommended lung cancer screenings for populations considered at high risk.

At The Lung Center we are proud to have additional new technology that combines detection, diagnosis and staging in one, minimally-invasive procedure: Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy utilizes GPS-like technology to locate, test and detect a lesion in the lung while Confocal Endomicroscopy enables the pulmonologist to see individual cells in the farthest reaches of the lung. The Lung Center at Valley View is one of only 14 hospitals in the country to offer this advanced technology.

Our goal is to have the lowest mortality rates in the nation right here in Glenwood Springs and the surrounding counties of Garfield, Eagle, Mesa and Pitkin. Currently there are 150-200 new lung cancer diagnoses per year right here in our valley. Imagine if we can catch these patients when they are in stage one or two, then we can turn our mortality rates around and 85 to 90 percent of those patients will still be alive. We are now equipped with the new technology and the new diagnostic tools to make this happen. And, I am personally committed to do everything I can to fight lung cancer here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

For more information about how the Lung Center at Valley View Hospital’s new program may benefit you or a loved one, call 970-834-7707.


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