Southern Ohio Medical Center and the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce held the November Health Exchange on the topic of Lung Cancer Awareness on Wednesday at the Welcome Center.
Jeremiah Martin, MD of Heart & Vascular Associates of SOMC, was the guest speaker for the Healthy Exchange event.
In his presentation, Martin shared that lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States, and that smoking is the biggest risk factor.
“November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and one of the things that brought me to the region is, we are in an area with some of the highest rates of lung cancer and mortality for lung cancer. It is a big problem,” Martin said. “This month we’re trying to increase public awareness of lung cancer. I’m a surgeon, so if we can catch lung cancer early I can do minimally invasive surgery and we can potentially cure lung cancer, so this is a big deal.”
Martin’s presentation included a discussion of how lung cancer survival is dependent on cell type, improving outcomes in lung cancer, staged-based treatment of cancer, multi-disciplinary care, lung cancer staging, surgical management, surgical approach, minimally invasive surgery (thoracoscopy, VATS), and the advantages of VATS.
When asked why he believes the rates of lung cancer are so high in the local area, Martin attributes it to lifestyle.
“Primarily it is lifestyle. This region of the United States, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, even the the Carolinas, have the highest rates of smoking,” Martin said. “And just across the river in Kentucky they win the prize of number one year after year for the most number of people smoking. And then it is seeking health care. Many people smoke every day of their lives, and don’t think about it, and many people don’t go to the doctor. So it is a whole educational thing of getting people to about their health, and hopefully reduce or eliminate smoking, that’s going to be the biggest thing.”
Martin is a native of Ireland, and when the opporunity came for him to come to work with Dr. Marion Hochstetler, MD, Martin said he accepted it.
“I am originally from Ireland. That is where I grew up. I’ve traveled throughout the United States with residency and fellowship,” Martin said. “I was at the University of Kentucky in Lexington for the past seven years, and it was there that Marion Hochstetler, one of the other vascular surgeons at SOMC, he trained there as a cardiac surgeon, and that is when I got to talk with him about the opportunity out here at SOMC, so I came back here and joined his (Hochstetler) practice. Dr. Hochstetler and myself do all this here now.”
Jennifer Woodyard, works as Lung Health Navigator for SOMC, discussed the health screening program for lung cancer, as well as a number of the methods of care.
“This information is important for our area because lung cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States, but in our community it is first,” Woodyard said. “Early detection is the key to people living longer with lung cancer, and being able to survive lung cancer. And that is why our lung cancer screening program is for the early detection of lung cancer. There is certain criteria that a person has to meet in order to participate in this screening program. It is a fairly new program, and we’ve had a lot of success with our screening program, and that’s the program that I manage, and take charge of.”
As stated in a news release by SOMC, the Lung and Health Navigator guides the patient through the full continuum of care by the following:
Referring high-risk patients for early detection low-dose CT screening.
- Analyzing information and taking action to facilitate patient wellness and healing.
- Collaborating with the patient and the patient’s family to ensure they are receiving the best care possible.
- Coordinating patient care between specialties.
- Facilitating physician recommendations for patient care to ensure understanding and compliance.
- Helping patients with financial needs find resources for assistance.
- Providing education and emotional support.
- Providing facts – not opinions for treatment and advice.
Lisa Carver, executive director of the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Healthy Exchange events are great learning opportunities to all who attend.
“This our Healthy Exchange which we host monthly with Southern Ohio Medical Center,” Carver said. “They are free and open to the public, just another one of our programs that we offer, not only for our members but to the public. It is a great resource to gain health related education about different topics of concern in the area.”
To contact SOMC’s Lung Health Navigator, call 740-356-LUNG (5864.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.