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Lung cancer screening center in Wilkes-Barre

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Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cancer killer, taking the lives of more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.

A recent designation for one area hospital puts an even greater focus on early detection.

Late last year, the American College of Radiology (ACR) designated Wilkes-Barre General Hospital as a Lung Cancer Screening Center, one of only 125 hospitals in the state.

The hospital had to meet certain criteria and undergo a rigorous assessment of its lung cancer screening procedures.

"What it means for the patient now is that the patient is able to get a low dose cat scan of the lung. Low dose is half the dose of a typical cat scan. We're only looking for early detection of lung cancer," said Susan Woznock, who is the manager of CT imaging at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

Patients without symptoms who meet criteria such as being former or current smokers can ask their doctor to be screened, so possible cancers can be caught before symptoms appear.

For the at-risk population, the low dose cat scan of the lung is used as a baseline screening like a mammogram or a colonoscopy.

"We scanned 85 patients and identified nine positives, which is a benefit to the community," said Radiologist Dr. Myron Prawak.

Detecting cancer when a tumor is small can reduce the likelihood of cancer spreading and offers more treatment options with a higher chance of survival.

"We're thrilled, proud to be designated so happy to bring this to the community and it gives promise and hope in battling lung cancer," said Woznock.

As part of the ACR designation, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital submits its findings to a national database.

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