Morning Medical Update Monday 8-1-22

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


    The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 44 COVID patients today, up from 40 Friday. Other significant numbers:

  • 28 with the active virus today, 28 Friday
  • 4 in ICU, 4 Friday
  • 2 on ventilators, 2 Friday
  • 16 hospitalized but out of acute infection phase, 12 Friday

Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Joel Mermis, pulmonologist and critical care physician, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Lung cancer rates have been declining over the last 20 years, but it is still the number one cancer killer
  • Lung cancer screening has become more important, and the recommended age for screening has dropped from 55 to 50, especially for smokers
  • Other than smoking, radon is a primary cause of lung cancer
  • The treatment for lung cancer is becoming more personalized with specific therapies for each individual patient

Dr. Mario Castro, pulmonologist, Vice Chair for Clinical and Translational Research at Kansas University Medical Center, and Critical Care specialist

  • Low dose CT scan is best tool available for lung cancer screening and early detection
  • Those who have smoked most of their lifetime should be screened before lung cancer symptoms are present
  • As a patient received a live screening, which is non-invasive and takes about three minutes, he explained the scan can detect cancers the size of a grain of sand
  • Lung cancer treatment is rapidly changing and has the potential to save a lot of lives

Dr. Jonathan Pike, Family Medicine physician, Great Bend

  • Just had low dose CT scanner installed in Great Bend and excited about opportunities for patients
  • Primary care doctors, such as he, are an important part of the screening process for lung cancer
  • It’s called low dose screening because it is about 1/7 the dose of radiation of a normal CT scan of the chest
  • Anticipates the scanner will be a great tool in facilitating smoking cessation

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director Infection Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Overall COVID numbers are steady and trending lower but the four main counties in the Metro area are still in the red zone
  • Thinks it sends a confusing message to have President Biden take another round of Paxlovid, but thinks it might be out of an abundance of caution
  • If you are otherwise healthy and up to date on vaccines and boosters, you probably don’t need to take Paxlovid if you get COVID
  • Currently in Kansas, monkeypox vaccine is available through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Lung cancer symptoms include chest pain that worsens with coughing or heavy breathing, coughing up blood, cough that won’t go away, frequent infections, pneumonia, weight loss, loss of appetite, joint pain, bone pain and tiredness
  • If at risk of lung cancer, don’t wait for symptoms to appear to get screened
  • Most insurance plans and Medicare cover the screening
  • New COVID hotspots have emerged around the country

Wednesday, August 3 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Open Mics With Dr. Stites. 45-thousand new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed this year according to The American Cancer Society. Doctor Stites Shows Us The Science behind a new treatment that made rectal cancer disappear in acute patients.

ATTENTION: media procedure for joining:

Zoom link:

Telephone Zoom link: 1-312-626-6799, meeting ID: 782 897 8628

TVU Grid link: UoK_Health_SDI

Restream links:

Send advance questions to