Category Archives: Cancer Treatment & Wellness Center

Lung Cancer Screening Detects Cancer Sooner

Posted on: November 3, 2015

Westchester Thoracic Surgery Chief on the Advanced Lung Cancer Screening that’s Saving Record Numbers of Lives

By Christos Stavropoulos, MD, FACS, Chief of the Thoracic Surgery Division and Director of the Lung Cancer Program at the Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center at Northern Westchester Hospital

You may know that lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in the U.S. (and worldwide).*  But you may not know that an advanced type of screening — the Low-Dose CT Scan – is reducing lung cancer deaths by 20 percent.* Its effectiveness makes this scan today’s “standard of care” for those at high risk; and it is newly covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans. Read on to see if you meet the screening criteria, and to learn how Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) makes sure every eligible person can afford this test.

Who should get a Low-Dose CT screening?

If you meet each of these criteria, Low-Dose CT (LDCT) lung cancer screening, which is conducted at NWH, may be right for you:

  • You are between 55 and 74 years old;
  • You have a smoking history of 30 pack years. That means you smoke (or smoked) one pack daily for 30 years, two packs daily for 15 years, or three packs daily for 10 years;
  • You currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years;
  • You have no symptoms of lung cancer.

What exactly is LDCT screening?

LDCT lung cancer screening is a new form of traditional CT (computed tomography) imaging technology that uses a very low dose of radiation to provide critical 3-D information about the lungs. It is unprecedented in its ability to detect ever-smaller lung cancers called nodules – small lesions or defects in lung tissue that can represent early cancers. The life-saving power of earlier detection can’t be overstated. When we catch cancer early — when it is smallest — we can have the most impact on prognosis and survival. According to the American Cancer Society, LDCT screening is shown to prevent up to 12,000 deaths from lung cancer a year in the US.

Why is getting screened so essential?

Screening for lung cancer is particularly vital, as this cancer presents no symptoms in its early stage. Here’s why: The lung is a relatively large organ. Picture a marble floating within a big balloon. For the marble to have a noticeable impact, it must become bigger. Only when that marble becomes the size of an acorn or an orange, do symptoms develop. There may be pain as the now-bigger growth presses against neighboring lung tissue or blood vessels; or a persistent cough can develop from its pressure against the airways. That is why a person harboring early-stage lung cancer usually reports they “feel fine,” and precisely why screening is necessary and effective.

What are the chances of something being found?

Most screening results are negative. The overwhelming majority of nodules are benign. Fewer than three percent of those screened will need intervention in the form of a biopsy. Of those people, only a small percentage wind up having cancer. That’s the point: We are looking for those few people with lung cancer. As with any screening, a small number of false positives can lead to unnecessary diagnostic biopsies. However, every biopsy performed at Northern Westchester Hospital is done using the most up-to-date, minimally invasive method possible. When lung cancer is diagnosed, NWH offers comprehensive oncologic care second to none.

How affordable is the LDCT screening?

Medicare now covers LDCT screening and commercial insurers are moving toward coverage. But what if you meet the eligibility criteria, and don’t have commercial insurance or Medicare? NWH can help — with a wide range of payment options and below-average pricing. We will work with you. If you can benefit from the screening, we make sure you get it.

Steps to take

If you believe you meet the screening criteria, speak to your primary care physician about ordering an LDCT. If you don’t have a physician who can refer, NWH’s nurse practitioner will perform a comprehensive assessment, determine eligibility and order an LDCT if necessary. NWH is going the extra mile to make this potentially life-saving screening 100 percent accessible to everyone who needs it.

*National Institutes of Health (NIH)

To learn more about the Lung Cancer Screening Program or to make an appointment with our Nurse Practitioner, call 914-242-7695 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  

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Catching Lung Cancer Early

Posted on: October 26, 2015

A Story of Hope…

Dr. Christos StavropoulosAlthough my patient quit smoking six years ago, she remained at high risk for lung cancer. When a Low-Dose CT screening showed something like a little marble in her lung, I recommended a surgical biopsy. But my patient hesitated, feeling “very nervous” about the procedure. When I gently told her that “If it were my mother, this is the advice I’d give her,” she agreed to proceed.

During the operation, I extracted a piece of lung with the nodule to obtain the diagnosis. When it tested positive for cancer, I performed a lobectomy during the same procedure, sparing my patient a second exposure to anesthesia. Afterwards, she was immensely relieved that her cancer was removed, and very pleased to be “up and around” almost immediately after the minimally invasive procedure.

Today, my patient is incredibly grateful that her cancer was found at stage 1A, and that, as a result, she didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy, just ongoing surveillance CT scans.

This is the best possible scenario for someone with lung cancer. Because we caught her cancer early, she has a real chance for a cure.

To see if you’re a candidate for low-dose CT scans, take this self-assessment.

Editor’s Note:  Dr. Stavropoulos is the Director of the Lung Cancer Program at the Cancer Treatment & Wellness Center at Northern Westchester Hospital

The Patriotic Plate – Red, White and Blue Superfoods

Posted on: June 22, 2015

The Patriotic Plate – Red, White and Blue Superfoods

Amy Rosenfeld, MS RD CDN

This 4th of July, celebrate our country’s independence with good health and a patriotic plate. American flagRed, white, and blue foods are superfoods: nutrition powerhouses packed full of rich antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Red fruits and vegetables like strawberries, tomatoes, and pomegranate, are full of phytonutrients, anthocyanins, flavonoid compounds; nutrients that reduce cancer by fighting free radicals and preventing oxidative damage to cells. Red fruits and veggies are particularly high in the phytochemical lycopene, shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

White foods often get a bad reputation but fresh white foods, such as daikon radish, turnips, jicama or pears, are packed with nutrients. The anthoxanthins in white foods can reduce inflammation of all kinds.  One of the most common anthoxanthins, quercetin, is linked with lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer, easing the symptoms of allergies, and helping with pain from arthritis.

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables like blueberries, beets, and eggplant, have rich doses of phytonutrients and flavonoids that lower your risk of heart disease. Flavonoids may also help improve memory with aging and prevent many cancers.

Try out these easy recipes for your 4th of July this year. These recipes are perfect for a party, cookout or relaxing picnic.
Grilled Chicken with Red & Blueberry Salsa 

(Adapted from All Through The Year Cheer)
(Yield:  4 servings)

4 (6 oz) chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
1 tbsp olive oil (for grilling the chicken)
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
1 c fresh blueberries, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seed and diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
3 TB fresh minced parsley
2 TB fresh minced mint
1 TB lemon juice

1) In a bowl, stir together all ingredients for the salsa and refrigerate until ready to use (you can make this up to 1 day in advance but if you do so, I recommend waiting until right before you serve it to add the fresh minced herbs).
2) Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of the chicken breast, then season both sides with salt and pepper.  Grill the chicken until fully cooked (there should not be any pink).
3) Serve the grilled chicken topped with salsa.

Nutrition Facts: 278 calories, 12.2 g fat, 2.8 g saturated fat, 393 mg sodium, 7.7 g carbohydrates, 1.8 g fiber, 33.6 g protein
Cous-Cous & Fruit Salad

(Courtesy of
(serves 4)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked whole-wheat couscous
1 cup chopped nectarine
1 cup mixed fresh berries, such as blueberries and raspberries
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

1. Whisk oil, orange juice, vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add cooked couscous, nectarines, berries and almonds; gently toss to combine.

Nutrition Facts: 259 calories; 9 g fat; 1 g sat; 40 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 7 g fiber; 146 mg sodium


Red, White and Blue Yogurt Popsicles

(Adapted from The View from Great Island)
Yield: 10 popsicles

1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup vanilla flavored Greek yogurt

1. Using a small food processor, or blender, puree the raspberries until smooth. Set aside. Repeat for the blueberries.
2. Put your popsicle mold in the freezer and freeze till firm, at least an hour, or more.
3. Layer a little bit of the blueberry puree into the mold. Put in the freezer for 10-20 minutes until solid. Alternate with layers, putting in the freezer for 10 minutes in between each layer.
4. When done layering, insert the popsicle sticks. Make sure to get the stick a little bit into the frozen layer so they will stand straight. Put back into the freezer until solid.
5. Once filled and completely frozen solid, you can un-mold your pops. If the pops don’t come out of the mold easily, run the outside of the mold under hot water for a few seconds.

Nutrition Facts: 31 calories, 0.1 g fat, 8 mg sodium, 5.6 g carbohydrates, 1.1 g fiber, 2.3 g protein



Get More Fruits and Veggies into Your Diet

Posted on: June 19, 2015

The Clever Cook:
How to Pack More Fruits and Veggies into Your Cooking

Fruit & Vegetable PlatterHave a picky eater at home? Or maybe you just don’t like fruits and veggies? Here are some “eat the rainbow” ways of sneaking fruits and veggies into your diet, making sure you get all your daily vitamins and minerals.


• Add fresh chopped tomatoes into your jarred tomato sauce.
• Bake with applesauce into your baked goods, pancakes, and waffles instead of butter or oil.
• Add red grapes, sliced radishes, pomegranate seeds, or sliced strawberries onto your salads.
• Make a smoothie with beets.
• Puree red peppers and add them to your tomato soup or sauce.
• Make a salad dressing using pink grapefruit.
• Add red chilies into your cooking for spice.


• Add sweet potato or butternut squash puree into cheese sauces such as for mac and cheese or morning oatmeal.
• Add carrot puree into tomato sauces.
• Add pumpkin puree or mashed bananas into your baked goods, French toast, pancakes, and waffles instead of butter or oil.
• Have spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Here is how to cook a spaghetti squash:
• Make a smoothie with carrots or pumpkin puree.
• Make homemade salad dressing with orange or lemon juice.
• Grill pineapple and peaches on the barbeque for dessert.


• Add a handful of chopped greens into your eggs or on top of your pizza.
• Puree a handful of spinach leaves and mix into your tomato sauce. Just a little won’t change the color!
• Use butter or romaine lettuce instead of bread for sandwiches.
• Add chopped greens or herbs into chopped meat for burgers and meatballs.
• Make low-fat zucchini muffins or pancakes, try this recipe:
• Bake with avocado instead of butter or oil.
• Add some zucchini puree into your cheesy pasta dishes (such as lasagna).
• Make a green smoothie with kale or spinach and citrus fruits.


• Mix in purple cabbage into your salad, tacos or stir-fry.
• Switch to purple potatoes for your mashed and add in pureed purple cauliflower.
• Grill plums on the barbeque for a sweet dessert or side dish.
• Cook with red onion instead of white or yellow.
• Add blackberries, blueberries or figs to your salads.
• Add pureed eggplant into tomato sauce or soup.
• Try sautéing purple kale or make kale chips.

What are the Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Posted on: May 20, 2015

Get the Details on Vitamin D

By Agnes Lu

Adequate vitamin D is important to your overall health for several reasons. It is essential for Grilled salmon with lemon isolated on whitestrong bones as it helps the body absorb calcium. It’s also needed for muscle movement, necessary for your nervous system and important to your immune system. Recent research shows that vitamin D may be key to the prevention of a number of long-term health problems such as cancer, type II diabetes and hypertension.


How much vitamin D do I need?
The amount of vitamin D needed depends on your age:
Birth – 12 months:                       400 IU/day
Age 1 – 70:                                     600 IU/day
Age 71 and older:                         800 IU/day
Pregnant and breastfeeding:     600 IU/day

How do I get vitamin D?
You can absorb vitamin D in three ways: through the skin, from diet, and from supplements.

Your body can produce vitamin D when your skin is sufficiently exposed to direct sunlight; however, unless you live in the South or Southwest, you are unlikely to get enough sunlight throughout the winter for your body to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. Keep in mind, the American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend getting vitamin D from unprotected exposure to sunlight – which can increase your risk for skin cancer. Individuals with dark skin will absorb sunlight less efficiently.

There are a few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, and Americans get most of their vitamin D from fortified foods: milk, cereal, orange juice, and yogurt. If you’re looking for the natural sources of vitamin D, it can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. In smaller amounts, it can be found in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks.

Am I at risk for vitamin D deficiency?
There are certain groups that have a higher risk of being vitamin D deficient:
• Breastfed infants
• Older adults
• Individuals with limited sun exposure
• Individuals with dark skin
• Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions that cause fat malabsorption
If you think you might be vitamin D deficient, speak with your doctor.

Try these two salmon and egg dishes.

Lox, eggs and onions (Serves 4)

Modified from

1 large Spanish onion
1 tablespoons canola oil
3oz lox, chopped
8 eggs
Pinch of pepper

Cut the onion in half, then slice thinly. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over high heat, then saute the onions until lightly colored.
In a bowl, beat eggs with a fork, then add to the pan. When the eggs have set on the bottom, scramble in the lox and flip over.
Cook and scramble until just set.
Serve with fresh fruit or side salad for a complete breakfast or lunch.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 220 calories, 14.1 g fat, 3.4 g saturated fat, 975 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 19 g protein


Scandinavian Eggs Benedict with Yogurt Sauce

courtesy of Gooseberry Mooseberry
(Serves 2)

1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp powdered turmeric
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp horseradish
A crackle of white pepper
2 whole wheat English muffins, halved and toasted
4 slices of smoked salmon
4 poached eggs
Optional: chopped chives for garnish

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt and turmeric until yogurt turns a pale gold color.
Then stir in dill, lemon juice, horseradish, and pepperuntil combined. Leave it at room temperature for a few minutes as you cook the eggs. If you would like the sauce warmer, put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Top each toasted English muffin half with a slice of smoked salmon, a poached egg and a dollop of yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with chopped chives for garnish.
Serve with fresh fruit or side salad for a complete breakfast or lunch.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 400 calories, 12 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 750 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrates, 4.8 g fiber, 25 g protein

Editor’s Note: Agnes Lu, MS, RD, CDE, CDN