Posts Tagged ‘emory saint joseph’s hospital’

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute Launch Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program

Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute have launched a comprehensive lung cancer screening program for high risk patients.Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute have launched a comprehensive lung cancer screening program for Emory Healthcare that offers a low-dose CT (computed tomography) scan for patients most at risk for developing the disease.

According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the nation’s leading cancer killer and research shows that lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans and appropriate follow-up care significantly reduce lung cancer deaths. The CT scan of the chest is used to screen for pulmonary nodules – collections of abnormal tissue within the lungs that may be early manifestations of lung cancer. These nodules are often detectable by lung screening before physical symptoms of lung cancer develop.

“Our goal is to detect lung cancer early,” says Stephen Szabo, MD, director of Winship’s community oncology at Emory Saint Joseph’s, “and our program is unique because we have a team of specialists in radiology, oncology, cardiothoracic surgery and pulmonology providing a continuum of care for each patient.” Participants also have access to the latest clinical trials and cutting edge new therapies within one academic medical system.

“Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and for women. This comprehensive lung cancer screening program will increase the chances of detecting any lung cancers at an earlier, more curable stage” says Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, Winship’s executive director.

The CT scan is recommended for current or former smokers ages 55-80 who have a 30 pack-year smoking history (packs per day x total years smoked = pack years) or for those who have quit within the past 15 years.

Patients meeting the criteria for the CT scan are required to have a provider referral. Emory Saint Joseph and Winship will assist those candidates without a referral by scheduling a shared decision making appointment with a provider on site in order to facilitate the screening.

Once the scan is completed and read by a radiologist within 48 hours, the multidisciplinary team will determine the best care plan for each patient based upon the results, whether it is immediate treatment or an annual follow up appointment. Patients that have nodules identified during the screening are provided an appointment within 48 hours for a lung nodule consultation with a physician who is a part of the multidisciplinary team.

For more information about lung cancer screening at Emory Healthcare, call 404-686-5864 (LUNG) or visit

View the Emory New Center article here.

New Director of Community Oncology at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital

szasboEmory Saint Joseph’s Hospital welcomes Stephen Szabo, MD as the new Director of Community Oncology at the hospital’s Winship Cancer Institute. The new program combines the best aspects of community and academic oncology by providing seamless patient care within one medical system.

“This is a powerful model of care,” says Szabo. “Our patients have the advantage of receiving state-of-the-art treatment right in their own community with the resources of a nationally recognized University system. This program provides great depth of care to our patients ranging from a compassionate team of nurses, nurse practitioners and social workers to the technical expertise of very specialized physicians.”

The community oncology program at Emory Saint Joseph’s treats patients with a variety of cancers with a team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and array of surgical specialists. The oncology program offers infusion services, radiation oncology, Gamma Knife and interventional radiology services.

Winship is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the state of Georgia. “Our patients have access to the latest clinical trials and research in cancer care, and they benefit directly from the basic science research being conducted at the University. This truly is unique for a community oncology program,” Szabo says.

Szabo received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center, and his fellowship in hematology and oncology at Emory University, Winship Cancer Center. Szabo has been practicing hematology and oncology for the past 15 years.

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Gamma Knife, Not a Knife At All

Gamma Knife Surgery Emory Saint Joseph's

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery is performed at Winship at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

What is Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

Despite its name, Gamma Knife is not a knife or scalpel. With a Gamma Knife procedure, there is no incision, no blood and virtually no pain. Gamma Knife refers to the name of the machine that is used to treat benign or malignant tumors and functional disorders like Trigeminal Neuralgia or Parkinson’s disease. The Gamma Knife machine uses 201 targeted beams of radiation to destroy disease with unmatched precision. Healthy tissue surrounding tumors is spared. The procedure is so accurate that it is considered to be as good as surgery, or better.

Who is a good candidate for Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

Gamma Knife is used largely to treat malignant brain tumors (most commonly metastases to the brain), or benign brain tumors related to hearing and balance. The procedure offers an alternative for patients with tumors too difficult to remove surgically, who aren’t well enough to undergo traditional surgery, or who just prefer a less invasive treatment.

The goal of Gamma Knife therapy is to damage the cells of the tumor and prevent them from multiplying, while preserving the surrounding healthy tissue. Malignant tumors may decrease in size over a period of a few months. Benign tumors take longer to shrink, but the goal of Gamma Knife therapy is mostly to prevent any future growth.

What will does Gamma Knife treatment look like?

Treatment time is typically shorter than with conventional surgery. Patients receive MRI scans to pinpoint the exact location and amount of radiation that will be administered. A lightweight frame is attached to the head with four pins. Local anesthetic is used, but the patient remains awake during the procedure, which is painless and lasts from a few minutes to several hours, depending on size and location of the tumor. This treatment is typically carried out jointly by a Neurosurgeon and a Radiation Oncologist.

Where does Winship offer Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

We offer Gamma Knife radiosurgery at Winship at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. Visit the Gamma Knife Center at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital or call (678) 843-5513 to talk to a Gamma Knife nurse navigator.

Learn more about Gamma Knife Radiosurgery!

About Dr. Kahn

Shannon Kahn, MDShannon Kahn, MD, is a board certified radiation oncologist in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA and treats patients at Winship at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. Dr. Kahn practices general radiation oncology and specializes in the treatment of breast cancer, brain and spine tumors, and lung cancer. Dr. Kahn is skilled at Gamma Knife radiosurgery, partial breast irradiation and breast brachytherapy as well as stereotactic body radiotherapy in the treatment of early stage lung cancers. She has published and trained in the use of intensity modulated radiotherapy and its benefits in the minimization of treatment-related side effects.

Winship Cancer Institute is Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center and has over 250 active clinical trials. Winship is ranked among the top 25 cancer hospitals in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report.

Kidney-Saving Robotics & Education

Saving kidneys from cancerous tumors and stones using minimally invasive techniques is my specialty. I’ve performed nearly 200 kidney operations in the last year alone and I recently launched a robotic kidney tumor program for Winship Cancer Institute at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. Kidneys are essential to life but most people aren’t aware of their extraordinary function until there’s a problem. As a vital organ, kidneys are a filter for the body and they make urine to rid the body of waste toxins.

How would you know if you have a possible kidney concern? Check for a change when going to the bathroom. Kidney cancers in the early stages usually do not cause any signs or symptoms, but patients will sometimes experience signs that should be brought to a doctor’s attention, such as:

  • Noticing blood or very dark urine
  • Flank/back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
  • A mass (lump) on the side or lower back
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss not caused by dieting
  • Fever that is not caused by an infection and doesn’t go away

Contact your doctor if you see changes like these. Recognizing your body’s warning signals can reduce your risk of serious disease, but the best option of all is prevention.

Kidney cancer prevention starts with smoking cessation and being aware of any history of kidney cancer in your family. The National Cancer Institute also identifies obesity as a known risk factor for kidney cancer, so take steps to manage your weight, exercise as a doctor prescribes for your individual condition, and eat whole foods that are rich in nutrients. Everyone should get regular check-ups.

When tumors or stones do develop, my job is to preserve this vital organ by using a minimally invasive procedure such as laparoscopic or robotic surgery (see video below). Not every tumor in the kidney is cancerous so options other than removing the entire kidney should be evaluated. Emory surgeons have been pioneers in using technologies like these to do organ-sparing cancer surgeries and complex stone surgeries.

As a specialist, I typically see patients after they are found to have a tumor or mass in the kidney or start experiencing symptoms. Let’s make prevention a part of your routine.

See Dr. Pattaras discuss this special type of organ-sparing robotic surgery:

About Dr. Pattaras

pattarasJohn G. Pattaras, MD, FACS, is an Associate Professor of Urology at the Emory University School of Medicine, Chief of Emory Urology services at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery.

As the Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Dr. Pattaras started laparoscopic and robotic urologic surgery program at Emory University. Over the past 14 years, the program has expanded to become the premier laparoscopic and robotics program in Atlanta serving patients from Georgia, neighboring states as well as international patients. The program offers highly specialized minimally invasive surgery that includes organ-sparing cancer surgery and complex stone surgery. Patients attending Emory Urology for cancer treatment have the unique opportunity to be cured of their disease while at the same time preserve their vital organs, their functionality and quality of life.

Dr. Pattaras is a diplomate of the American Board of Urology (2002) a Fellow of the American College of Surgery.

In addition to his dedication to Emory patients, Dr. Pattaras is also involved in humanitarianism outside Emory. On an annual basis, he volunteers his time to organize and head a team of Emory medical students to Haiti. The team provides free urologic care including surgical treatment to indigent Haitian patients with urologic conditions.

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