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November 2017

Online feature makes walk-in waiting more convenient

photo of a smart phone with an appointment button

It's like call-ahead seating at a restaurant - only better!

A new save-your-place online feature from UHS makes waiting to see a provider at a walk-in center a lot easier and more relaxing.

With the new feature, you can go online and reserve a spot at a UHS Walk-In waiting room:  You can view approximate wait times and choose an arrival time that works for you. Then you can save your place in line, including "next available."

With this convenient online service, you can then wait wherever is the least stressful and most comfortable for you, such as at home on the couch or in your favorite armchair.

You’ll receive a text message reminding you what time you should arrive to complete your registration.

Best of all, you can easily use the save-your-place check-in from any web-ready device, including your home computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone, just by visiting

Of course, all UHS Walk-In Centers accept all patients and provide fast, high-quality care, whether you check in ahead of time or just walk in.

Walk-in care is appropriate for times when you can’t get in to see your primary care provider, and for minor conditions such as colds, flu, earaches, abdominal pain, scrapes, bruises, strains and sprains.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911.

UHS' participating walk-in locations are at Vestal, 4417 Vestal Parkway East – 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Endicott, 1302 E. Main St. – 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; and Chenango Bridge, 91 Chenango Bridge Road – 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

To access the new check-in feature from any device, go to and click on the bar that says "Reserve my spot now"

Lung Screening: It could save your life

photo of a cancer awareness ribbon saying November is Lung Cancer Awareness MonthYou probably visit your doctor for checkups and  recommended screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies. But have you considered whether you should be screened for lung cancer?

Lung cancer causes more deaths than colorectal, prostate and breast cancers combined. In fact, lung cancer is America’s second leading cause of death, behind heart disease.

“The high death rate is partly due to lung cancer being found in most patients after it has spread,” says Madhuri Yalamanchili, MD, a medical oncologist with Broome Oncology. Lung cancer generally doesn’t cause symptoms until it has spread beyond the lungs. That’s why it is important for people at high risk for lung cancer to be screened.

Lung cancer screening at UHS is a noninvasive procedure using the latest technology: low-dose CT scanning. In this procedure, a powerful X-ray device rotates around your body, generating cross-sectional images of your lungs. The detailed images allow doctors to see cancerous nodules and small tumors early, often before cancer has spread.

Compared to traditional chest X-rays, low-dose CT scans are four times more likely to detect cancerous tumors and six times more likely to detect stage I cancers.

“In addition, lung cancer screening might also show if you have other conditions or diseases that need to be treated, like emphysema,” says Dr. Yalamanchili.

Anybody at high risk for lung cancer should consider screening. These factors increase your risk for lung cancer:

  • Smoking. People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer than nonsmokers. The more years a person smokes and the more cigarettes they smoke per day, the higher their risk. Other tobacco products, such as cigars or pipes, also increase lung cancer risk.
  • Secondhand smoke. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk for lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
  • Environmental exposure. Exposure to radon, a naturally occurring odorless gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Exposure to substances found at some workplaces can also increase lung cancer risk, including asbestos, arsenic and diesel exhaust.
  • Family history. People with parents, siblings or children who have had lung cancer may have a higher risk for lung cancer.

If you have any of these factors, talk with your doctor or a UHS nurse navigator to decide if screening is right for you.

UHS nurse navigators are on hand to help if you have questions or concerns about lung cancer screening. They will meet with you to discuss the benefits and dangers before the test is scheduled.

Many patients are concerned about whether their insurance will cover the test. The good news is that for people who can benefit from the test, it’s often covered. Medicare covers lung cancer screening for people who meet criteria for having high risk for lung cancer. Most private health insurance carriers have similar policies. Before you schedule your test, a UHS nurse navigator will check with your insurance provider and get approval.

It’s scary to think about cancer, but screening can increase survival and quality of life if you do have lung cancer. Studies have shown that people at high risk for lung cancer who get annual low-dose CT scans, rather than chest X-rays, can reduce their chance of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent. This is because low-dose CT scans catch cancers earlier, when they are easier to treat.

“Lung cancer caught early has a higher chance of a cure,” says Dr. Yalamanchili. “And survival rates are much higher when cancers are caught at a relatively smaller size.”

If you’re at high risk for lung cancer, knowing you’re doing everything you can to catch it early can bring peace of mind.

To learn if you are a candidate for lung screening, call UHS Nurse Direct at 067 763-LUNG (5864).


UHS Stay Healthy: Holidays don’t have to mean weight gain

image of oatmeal with a kiwi shaped christmas tree and snowman made from bananas and strawberriesHoliday weight gain and New Year’s resolutions to lose weight are two common themes during the months of November, December and January. Experts at the UHS Stay Healthy Center at the Oakdale Mall have some ideas about how you can avoid packing on the pounds - and how you can make your weight-management resolution stick after Jan. 1. “The arrival of holiday time doesn’t have to mean weight gain, or anxiety about it,” Karen Bayer, RN, director of Community Health at UHS said, "There are a number of ways you can build in tricks, habits and controls that will help you stay on course with balanced nutrition and physical fitness.”

A few of these are:

  • Start off your day with a healthy fruit shake, supplemented with protein, such as whey. Make a big deal of your shake by pouring it into a martini glass and adding a cocktail umbrella. That will make it seem more like a real treat. Avoid too much alcohol at this time of year, especially spiked eggnog, which has plenty of calories.
  • Choose only one type of dessert to indulge in. The holidays are a time when desserts, from pies to cookies to boxes of candy – are all too plentiful. Work on limiting yourself to only one dessert item or confection after dinner.
  • If you’re the cook, recognize that snacking while cooking is a huge temptation. Before you know it, you’ll have eaten a whole meal!  Instead, try chewing gum while you’re in the kitchen. Your mouth will be occupied and there will be flavor to go with it.
  • Around the holidays, it’s always easy to make excuses for avoiding your workout: You have too much shopping to do, it’s  crunch-time at work or you’ve got all those Christmas cards to send out. So if you find  ourself skipping your regular workout routine, don’t be entirely sedentary. Take a walk, choose the stairs instead of the elevator or go outdoors and build a snowman. That  way, you’ll still be burning some calories.

To learn more or sign up for a future presentation, call Stay Healthy

at 763-5092.