Thursday, August 04, 2011
Be careful of unnecessary x-rays By Dr. Anthony Policastro

We take many things for granted and one of these is radiation exposure. We are all exposed to small amounts of radiation naturally. Some of that comes from cosmic energy from outer space. People at higher elevations receive more because they are closer to it. There are a lot of ways to measure this radiation. One is a unit called a millisievert (mSv). Each of us receives about 3 mSv of radiation every year. For someone living in Colorado, the number is closer to 4.5 mSv. This background radiation is not harmful. However, it does give us a value for what we normally receive which then allows us to compare it to radiation received from other sources. Radiation exposure is the reason that people check their houses for the presence of radon which can cause an unnecessary exposure to radiation. What we sometimes take for granted is the amount of radiation that we get from x-rays and related procedures. For example, the amount of radiation that we get from a chest x-ray is equal to what we would get from the background radiation in 10 days. This is not a large amount. A head CT scan done after head trauma will give an equivalent of about 8 months of background radiation. An abdominal CT scan, on the other hand, would give the equivalent of 5 years of background radiation. This is almost 200 times as much as a single chest X-ray. Multiple procedures would have an added effect. Thus two abdominal CT scans would give the equivalent of 10 years of background radiation. So what does this mean? We know the cancer rate for the general population is 1 out of every 5 individuals. The increase in background radiation will increase that chance. The more the radiation, the higher the chance. Thus someone with only a chest x-ray will increase their risk of cancer by only 1 in a million. That means that 200,000 out of every million people (1 out of 5) would normally get cancer anyway. A chest x-ray increases that number to 200,001. That is not significant. However, a CT of the abdomen will increase that number to 201,000. A repeat CT of the abdomen will make that 202,000. Thus for every million people that have two CT scans of their abdomen, 2,000 will develop cancer that would not have gotten cancer. This still sounds relatively low. However, it is a lot higher than the one person from a chest x-ray. The risk accumulates over a lifetime. Thus if an individual has multiple CT scans and x-ray procedures, their risk will be even higher. It may not be a bad idea to keep a diary of the x-rays that you have had over the years. You never know when you might have to decide if a test with a lot of radiation will be worth it. The bottom line is it makes sense to not rush out to get x-rays for every little thing. A good example of this is the total body CT scan that some people are trying to sell. Each of those scans will give the equivalent of between 7 and 8 years of radiation. If you do the calculations, it can get pretty scary.

Relay for Life fundraiser Dr. Marie Wolfgang is again sponsoring a 12 night Winter Getaway Cruise to the Southern Caribbean as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. on Feb. 10. The itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua), St. Lucia and St. Maarten (Philipsburg). Transportation to and from the dock is available. For a brochure, call or visit Dr. Wolfgang's office at One Cedar Ave. in Seaford, 629-4471. Space is limited.

Crab feast to support BIAD The Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIAD) is hosting its fourth annual Crab Feast Fundraiser on Saturday,Aug. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the New Leipsic Fire Hall located at 318 Main St., Dover. The menu includes all you can eat crabs, corn on the cob, chicken tenders, hush puppies, french fries and non-alcoholic beverages (a cash bar will be available). Cost is $30 per person and $7 for kids ages 5 to 12. Enjoy live entertainment, a DJ and assorted raffles. Buy tickets online at or call 800-411-0505 for more information. BIAD is the only charity of its kind in the state, and provides services within Delaware and parts of Maryland. Funds raised for the Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIAD), a nonprofit group, are used to further its mission to create a better future through brain injury prevention, research, education, and advocacy. To learn more about brain injury, visit or call 1-800-411-0505.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month according to this schedule:
  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rt. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro.
"New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Nanticoke golf tournaments Nanticoke Health Services will host the twenty-fifth annual golf tournament on Thursday, Sept. 22 and Friday, Sept. 23, at Heritage Shores Club in Bridgeville. Thursday's tournament will be Ladies Day, and Friday's tournament will be the traditional tournament open to men and women. The tournament will consist of 18 holes with four-person teams utilizing a handicapped scramble format. Participants will enjoy a fun-filled day at Heritage Shores Club, an Arthur Hills classic links style course.Both days will consist of practice, 18-holes of golf, food, gross and net team prizes.A full field of participants is expected for each day. Enthusiastic golfers will have numerous chances to test their skills by competing in on-course activities. Additional avenues of supporting the tournaments include Eagle, Birdie and Par levels of sponsorship, as well as Tee sign and Pink Links sponsorships. Sponsorship opportunities are available to individuals and businesses. Proceeds from the tournaments will benefit an expansion to Nanticoke's Cardiac Catheterization Lab.Time is the leading factor in reducing death due to heart attack and stroke. The expansion of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab will help ease possible delays emergent cases cause and continue to raise the level of services Nanticoke Health Services provides to the community. More information and registration forms for the tournaments are available online at, or by contacting the Nanticoke Health Services Foundation office at 629-6611, ext. 8944 or

Alzheimer's Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Alzheimer's Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at LifeCare at Lofland Park's first floor Resident Lounge, 715 E. King St., Seaford. This group provides support and information about Alzheimer's and dementia to families, caregivers and anyone who is affected by this disease.

Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact LifeCare at Lofland Park at 628-3000, ext. 8302.

First aid classesoffered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community First Aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, Aug. 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Nanticoke Training Center on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive. Classes are open to participants age 13 and older. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days before the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register, or for more information, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919.Pre-registration is required.

Safe sitter class offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is offering a Safe Sitter class for girls and boys ages 11 to 13.The 2-day course will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 15 & 19. The Safe Sitter program is a medically accurate instructional series that teaches youngsters how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children.The cost is $35. Participants are to bring a bagged lunch.To register your son or daughter or your child's babysitter, call 629-6611, ext. 2540. The goal of Safe Sitter is to reduce the number of accidental and preventable deaths among children being cared for by babysitters. Thousands of young adolescents across the country have been trained by Safe Sitter to handle life-threatening emergencies. All medical information will be taught by a certified professional. During the course, students get hands-on practice in basic life-saving techniques so they are prepared to act in a crisis. Instructors also provide tips to make sitters more confident caregivers.They teach safety and security precautions, such as what to do if a stranger comes to the door and when and how to call for help. They give information on child development and suggest age-appropriate activities.Participants will also learn about the business aspects of babysitting. To register or for more information about Safe Sitter, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2540.

Stroke Support Group offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the Seaford Library. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, the hospital is engaging with speakers to provide education, community resources and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Hospice begins 'Coffee Break' series Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center will begin holding a monthly Coffee Break Series of inspirational life stories. The first session will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 24, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. Guest speaker, Darryl Duke will speak on the topic of addictions, "Do I Sound Like an Alcoholic to You?" Darryl Duke has counseled alcoholics, addicts and troubled teenagers for several years and has authored a self-improvement book, "Why I Pray in the Shower:A Journey from Fear to Belief in Myself." There is no fee; however, registration is required. The Coffee Break Series will be held on the 4th Wednesday of each month, where members of the community will tell their inspiring life stories of experience, strength or hope. Each month will be a different topic and Hospice will provide community resources surrounding that topic. Register or learn more about the Coffee Break Series or other Family Support Center activities by contacting Vicki Costa, associate director of the Family Support Center, at 856-7717, ext. 1129, or

NHS welcomes Dr. Wadi Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Ziyad Wadi, MD to the Nanticoke Physician Network. Dr. Wadi,specializing in gastroenterology and hepatology, is accepting new patients at his practice located at 701 Middleford Rd., Suite 201, Seaford. The practice will provide services for abdominal pain, gastric ulcers, swallowing difficulties, acid reflux (GERD), nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, celiac disease, colitis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, diseases of the pancreas and liver, hepatitis b and hepatitis c, and colon cancer screening. Dr. Wadi is board certified in internal medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency through State University of New York in Brooklyn, N.Y. and his gastroenterology and hepatology fellowship at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. His professional memberships include the American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and New York for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. To reach his office, call 629-5193.

Dr. Wu joins Nanticoke Memorial Nanticoke Memorial Hospital welcomes Yin Wu, MD, to its medical staff as a specialist in medical oncology and hematology. Dr. Wu has been providing medical oncology and hematology services in the Salisbury area since 2010.She received her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, N.Y. andcompleted a residency in internal medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, N.Y. She completed her fellowship in hematology and oncology at University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Dr. Wu is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wu, call 628-6289.

Dr. Padilla joins Nanticoke's staff Nanticoke Memorial Hospital welcomes Dr. Francisco Padilla to its active medical staff. Francisco Padilla, MD specializes in endocrinology and is accepting new patients. Endocrinology includes the treatment of diabetes, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, hypertension and lipids disorders, disorders of the parathyroid, adrenal and pituitary gland. Dr. Padilla completed his residency and fellowship through the University of Connecticut's Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program in New Britain, Conn., and is a board certified internist. His practice, located at 23094 Atlanta Rd., Seaford, may be reached at 629-5766.

NHS welcomes Dr. Luizaga Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Ever Luizaga, MD to the Nanticoke Physician Network. Dr. Luizaga who specializes in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine is accepting new patients. The practice will provide services for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema, asthma, sarcoidosis, pulmonary vascular diseases, pulmonary hypertension, occupational and environmental lung diseases, interstitial lung diseases (ILD), alfa one anti trypsin deficiency and cystic fibrosis. The practice will also provide sleep related services for obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia and sleep behavior disorders. Dr. Luizaga completed his internal medicine residency and his fellowships in sleep medicine and pulmonary care at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. He is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary, and critical care. Dr. Luizaga is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Quechua (Bolivia, Ecuador native language). His practice, located at 23094 Atlanta Rd., Seaford, may be reached at 629-5766.