Mon, Jan. 27

Northern Arizona Healthcare offers services for early detection of cancer

If you're 40 or older, you're at higher risk for developing several types of cancer, so scheduling routine screenings aimed at early detection - such as mammograms, prostate exams, lung cancer screenings and colonoscopies - is an important part of staying healthy.

Northern Arizona Healthcare's Verde Valley Medical Center, along with Verde Valley Medical Clinic and the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare, provides high-quality screening and imaging services, specialists and treatment options.

Digital mammography

The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40 and older get a screening mammogram every year.

Medical research demonstrates annual mammography screening is the single most effective method for detecting breast cancers in the early stages, when they are most curable. A mammogram can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them.

As part of its breast cancer prevention services, VVMC's Imaging Services offers digital mammography. This procedure is performed using a breast cushion - a soft, warm, protective surface between the breast and the mammography machine - which significantly increases a woman's comfort during the procedure.

The breast cushion also helps with accurate positioning, which is crucial because it affects how much breast tissue undergoes imaging.

To schedule a mammogram, call the Cottonwood location at 928-649-1260 or the Sedona location at 928-639-6580.

Prostate exams

Men between the ages of 50-75, and men over the age of 40 who have a family history of prostate cancer, may want to consider getting annual prostate exams. Starting at age 50, men should talk with their physicians about the benefits and risks of testing.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men and is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths; yet, the mortality rate associated with prostate cancer has decreased significantly over the past 10 years.

Fortunately, with early detection and new treatment options, the five-year survival rate is more than 90 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. During National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, VVMC sponsors free prostate screenings for employees and the public. For more information, call the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare - Sedona at 928-204-4160.

Lung cancer screenings

You are at high risk for lung cancer if you are 55 to 74 years old and have smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, even if you quit smoking during the last 15 years.

You are also at high risk if you are age 50 or older, smoked at least one pack a day for 20 years and have one additional risk factor such as radon exposure; occupational exposure; personal cancer history; family history of lung cancer; COPD or pulmonary fibrosis.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends a baseline low-dose Computed Tomography, or LDCT, scan for those at high risk. The frequency of follow-up screenings is based on the results of the first test.

Verde Valley Medical Imaging Center offers $89 LDCT screenings for high-risk individuals.

The publication of the National Lung Screening Trial has established the ability of low-dose computed tomography scans to decrease lung-specific mortality by 20 percent in a screened high-risk population.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 928-649-1260.


Colonoscopies, which are performed to screen for colorectal cancer and precancerous conditions, are recommended by the American Cancer Society for people age 50 and over.

Although highly curable when detected early, colorectal cancer has no early warning signs - so screenings are very important.

In the U.S., colon cancer is the second-deadliest of all cancer types. For more information, call the Verde Valley Medical Clinic − Gastroenterology office at 928-649-7913.


Radiation oncology services

The Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare - Sedona provides radiation oncology services with board-certified oncologists using the latest technologies and programs.

Support services, including the Breast Cancer Resource Center, are available to patients and families seeking support, counseling, education and additional resources.

Available treatment options include radiation therapy, brachytherapy, intensity modulation radiation therapy and image-guided radiation therapy. For more information, call 928-204-4160.

-- Provided by Verde Valley Medical Center

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