September 2008 is National Prostate Cancer Awareness MonthPosted on September 24, 2008

Prostate cancer is the number one cancer among men. One out of 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. The good news is that since 1994, the death rate from prostate cancer has decreased 4 percent each year. In 2004, there were 2 million prostate cancer survivals in the United States.

Li-fen L. Chang, MD, senior medical director of Radiation Oncology at Southern Ohio Medical Center, says the successful decrease in the prostate cancer mortality rate is due to several factors.

“Early detection save lives,” Dr. Chang says. “Successful screening using DRE (digital rectal examination) and PSA (prostate specific antigen, a blood test) helps detect prostate cancer at an earlier, more curable stage.”

Dr. Chang also credits improvements in prostate cancer treatment with increasing survival rates. One new development in surgical removal of the prostate is robotic-assisted prostatectomy, which shortens recovery time.

“Radiation therapy has also dramatically improved in the past decade,” she says. “Treatments are much more precise and tailored to the patient’s individual anatomy, resulting in less damage to surrounding healthy tissue, fewer side effects and faster recovery.” Dr. Chang noted that the SOMC Cancer Center offers some of the most advanced technologies for treating prostate cancer.

“Using testosterone suppression therapy in conjunction with radiation therapy or surgery is also a better treatment approach for high-risk patients,” she says, adding that research and new developments are continuing with approaches such as targeted therapy and a vaccine against prostatic acid phosphatase, a substance found in most prostate cancer.

Dr. Chang says the most important thing every man can do is be proactive in early detection. Become familiar with your family health history and any relatives with a history of prostate cancer. Talk to your physician about risk factors and symptoms. Be aware of any urinary symptoms, such as frequency of urination, burning sensation when urinating, difficulty starting the stream, weak stream, getting up many times at night for urination, etc.

Always maintain a good life style today: exercise at least three times a week, pay attention to what you eat, increase vegetables and fruits, cut down fatty food, red meat, avoid obesity, manage your stress, and maintain a high quality of rest. If you are a smoker or drinker, the most important health measure you can do is quit smoking and quit drinking.

For information about SOMC smoking secession classes and resources, call (740) 356-2692. For more information about prostate cancer, call the SOMC Cancer Center at (740) 356-7490 or visit

Lay Ministry TrainingPosted on September 24, 2008

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) will offer free lay ministry training for local parishioners and clergy members during a day-long session from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St., Portsmouth.

The training, entitled “Our Journey of Hope,” will teach participants more about the special and spiritual needs of cancer patients and the ways one may provide support for them within their church and community. Continental breakfast and lunch will be available.

The program will be led by Rev. Percy McCray, Jr., director of Pastoral Care and Social Services for the CTCA, and is sponsored in part by local Scioto Christian Ministries and Southern Ohio Medical Center.

There will be a $12 advanced-registration fee per participant, or $15 the day of the event. For more information, or to register, please call Sharon Carver at 740-356-2692.

Free Breast Cancer ScreeningPosted on September 24, 2008

Area women are invited to attend Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Breast Cancer Screening planned from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21 at the SOMC Cancer Center, 1121 Kinneys Lane.

Southern Ohio Medical Center, the Fight Cancer…Save Lives…Act Now Cancer Coalition, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation are sponsoring the event, which is intended for women who do not have insurance or who have large insurance deductibles that prohibit this early detection screening.

Registration by appointment can be made by calling the SOMC Volunteer Office, (740) 356-8234.

All-woman Performance Will Help Breast Cancer PatientsPosted on September 22, 2008

Vincent Scarpinato, MD, Southern Ohio Medical Center and the Portsmouth Little Theatre will present “The Story Goes On…,” an all-woman performance in song and dialogue that reveals many inspiring moments among the lives of women with breast cancer.

The production will be a fundraiser for the SOMC Breast Cancer Patient Compassion Fund, held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 and 4 at Portsmouth Little Theatre, 1117 Lawson St.

Tickets are $25 each and available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the SOMC Cancer Center, 1121 Kinneys Lane. Cash or checks are accepted. The Breast Cancer Patient Compassion fund helps local cancer patients in financial need.

“While there are often resources for breast cancer patients, there are still many who have a critical need and fall through the cracks,” Dr. Scarpinato says. “Some can’t even afford to travel a few miles to get their treatment. This production will raise funds to help those people.”

Dr. Scarpinato said he has produced the show in New York as a fundraiser for breast cancer causes and it has proven to be a very inspirational experience. Locally, musical direction will be by Linda Tieman, with set design by Eric Armstrong.

“This is a moving, funny, wonderful presentation about women with breast cancer expressing themselves and their emotions over the many facets of their lives,” he says. “We’re hoping to raise awareness not only about the critical need to get a mammogram, but how we can help those people less fortunate.”

The cast is comprised of amateur performers who will portray women affected by cancer. The castincludes Barb Glockner, Michele Imes, Grace Morgan, Olivia Morgan, Talitha C. Malone, Jessica Powell, D.O., Ashlee Ratliff and Stephanie Schaefer.

Seating at the theatre is limited and anyone interested is encouraged to purchase tickets early.

Notre Dame Volleyball Girls Encourage Cancer SupportPosted on September 22, 2008

In conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Notre Dame girls volleyball team (pictured) will raise funds for the SOMC Cancer Compassion Fund during their upcoming game Oct. 2 at Notre Dame High School. The Lady Titans will play Glenwood High School, with the junior varsity game starting at 5:30 p.m. and varsity game to follow. A portion of the admission proceeds and concessions, along with a special bake sale, will be donated to the SOMC Cancer Compassion Fund, a special fund to support local cancer patients in financial need. Everyone is encouraged to come and see Notre Dame and Glenwood volley for breast cancer. For more information about the fund and how you can help, call the SOMC Cancer Center, 356-7490.

SOMC Employees Go Above and Beyond to Help Local StudentsPosted on September 16, 2008

Through determination, competitive drive, and more selfless hearts than can be counted, employees of Southern Ohio Medical Center helped to donate more than 4,200 pencils, glue sticks, notebooks and other items during the 2008 United Way School Supply Drive, which took place Aug. 1 on the Main Campus.

“There are many underprivileged families in our community, sometimes with two or three children to a home, and it can become a very large burden to bare when each child needs their own set of school supplies,” Mary Peercy, executive director of the United Way of Scioto County, said. “SOMC and its employees have always been a huge supporter of providing these resources for our local students.”

School supply lists were given to employees, with each listed item designated a point value, Beverly Stringer, member of the SOMC United Way committee, said.. For each point a staff member earned per donation, they were given the chance to enter into a drawing for either an OSU- or UK-themed gift basket. Points also were tallied per department and the team to earn the most would win a pizza party.

The SOMC Housekeeping Department was named the overall winner of the competition, donating an outstanding total of more than 1,300 supply items.

“Our donation was a group effort and we never could have reached our total if it weren’t for the commitment given by each individual,” Tammy Wiedbruak, housekeeper at SOMC, said. “Our department decided right off the bat that we wanted to do what we could to make this project possible. The competitiveness of it all encouraged us to do even more.”

“We’re always looking for ways to jump in and support those in need,” Tresea Johnson housekeeper at SOMC, said. “There are so many people, especially children, within our community that need that extra bit of encouragement or financial help and we’re more than happy to be there for them when they need us.”

SOMC Emergency Department New Entrance OpenPosted on September 12, 2008

Patients and visitors to the Emergency Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center should be aware of the new entrance to the department. The new entrance is located beyond the former entrance on the other side of the building, past the ambulance entrance.

Visitors and patients can approach the Emergency Department from 25th Street as before, but instead of going into the circle drive, proceed to the Left along the south side of the hospital. The new entrance has a sheltered patient drop-off. Adjacent parking for all visitors is adjacent to the new entrance.

The former entrance to the department has been changed to a staff-only entrance. The Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day.

SOMC To Offer Prostate Screenings This MonthPosted on September 9, 2008

In conjunction with National Prostate Cancer Awareness Week, Southern Ohio Medical Center will offer free prostate cancer screenings by appointment Sept. 16, 18, 22, 23 and 24 at a location to be announced.

“Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men,” Christopher Schmidt, DO, a urologist on staff at SOMC, said. “There is often no way to detect prostate cancer in its early stages without a screening by a medical professional, and we’re glad to be able to help with this early detection effort.”

Dr. Schmidt and other SOMC physicians including Drs. Amory Novoselac, Justin Greenlee, John Oehler, Li-fen Chang and Ebenezer Kio will be providing the screenings. Space is limited and reservations are necessary. For an appointment call the SOMC Volunteer Office, (740) 356-8234 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

“Yearly prostate screenings are recommended for all men more than 50 years old,” Dr. Schmidt said. “However, African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are considered higher risk and should have an exam yearly beginning at age 45.”

The prostate is a walnut-size gland sitting below the bladder that assists in production and delivery of fluids in semen during sexual activity. As men age, the gland can enlarge. A digital-rectal examination by a physician can help determine if the gland has irregularities in shape, size or texture, which could indicate cancer. A blood test, known as a prostate-specific antigen or PSA test, is also used to help determine if cancer is present.

“Even if you can’t make an appointment at one of these times, I urge you to talk to your family physician about your risks and have an annual screening,” Dr. Schmidt said. “Early detection of cancer is critical to successful outcomes, and screening regularly gives the best chance of that early detection, long before symptoms may arise.”

SOMC Health Screens At Summer SizzlePosted on September 5, 2008

SOMC will provide total cholesterol, HDL, glucose, blood pressure and health counseling to individuals attending the Summer Sizzle Saturday, Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. Individuals should not eat two hours before the finger stick testing for accurate results. All testing is free.

SOMC Cancer Services Receives ACoS AccreditationPosted on September 4, 2008

The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer has granted SOMC Cancer Services a three-year approval with commendation in seven areas, Cancer Services Director Wendi Waugh announced.

The three-year accreditation is the highest level of recognition offered by the commission, awarded only when a program complies with all standards. There are eight potential areas of commendation and SOMC Cancer Services received seven of them.

“SOMC Cancer Services voluntarily committed to providing the highest level of quality care and participate in an extensive evaluation of performance and processes,” Waugh said. “This accreditation took several years to prepare for, and validates our services as offering comprehensive care, the latest technology and a multi-specialty team approach to patient-centered care.

“The SOMC Cancer Center continues to be a hub of comprehensive cancer care in our region with the latest approaches to treatment,” she said. “We will be expanding later this year to begin high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, which will reduce the radiation treatment for certain kinds of breast cancer to five consecutive days, as opposed to the conventional treatment that can take up to seven weeks. We will continue our commitment to bringing the best cancer treatments available to our community.”

The SOMC Cancer Center opened in 2005, offering both radiation and medical oncology treatment services under the supervision of a team of physician, nursing and technological specialists in a state-of-the-art, caring environment. For more information regarding SOMC Cancer Services call 356-7490 or visit the website at

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