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We are very excited to share with you a case we are currently working to assist here in the Health and Safety Office. It involves one of our Engineers, a forty-five year old otherwise healthy man who recently went to Life Scan for his annual physical exam.

While at this exam the technician performing his abdominal ultrasound became concerned and began to ask questions about the family history of our firefighter. She had found an area of concern on his left kidney and in the course of her care passed her findings on to the clinician that would complete his physical. At the conclusion of this visit it was stressed to our firefighter the importance of an immediate follow-up with his PCP. Now, a short time later, he is scheduled to have that kidney removed secondary to cancer, next week. It is believed at this time to be in the very early stages and not affecting his lymphatic system.

Research clearly shows that a comprehensive Health, Wellness, and Fitness Program can identify areas of health concern, prevent catastrophic illness and continuously improve and maintain our employee’s health and fitness. Due to the very nature of our occupation there is a substantially higher risk of illness and injury and, in fact, actuarial studies show that Public Safety personnel live on average 15 years less than other Public Employees. Thus the need for these programs and annual physical examinations as we constantly strive to provide healthy employees to our citizens and a long and healthy retirement to our firefighters.

What is clear here is that because of the Health, Wellness, and Fitness Programs administered by Life Scan, a 45 year-old, married, father of two has the blessing of finding and treating a potentially fatal disease process early on. We will surely keep you posted on his progress.

Ken Middelton

Captain, Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Dept.

While attending Fire Rescue East in January 2006 Englewood firefighters met Life Scan Wellness Centers and, at the time, Englewood Fire Dept. was looking for a new physical and wellness program because the firefighters weren’t happy with our current physicals.  Three Englewood firefighters took a trip to Tampa Fla. to go through the Life Scan fire fighter wellness program and were so excited that we came back to Englewood and talked the Fire Chief into switching to Life Scan. The Life Scan physical was ten times the physical that we were receiving from a local doctor’s office.   Englewood firefighters go through numerous tests including strength, flexibility, vision, hearing, EKG, stress test, ultrasound and respiratory tests.

My name is Rusty McCord I have been a firefighter for 21 years. Without Life Scan I would not be here today.  I probably would have had a major heart attack.   In June 2006 I had a five way open heart surgery. I didn’t have any symptoms and I thought that there was nothing wrong with me. At the time I was only 44 years old and I wasn’t sure about the results of the physical since I was so young and didn’t really want to go to the doctor. What really meant a lot to me was that Life Scan didn’t just come to our department and do the physical exam. They constantly stayed on me to go and see a cardiologist. After telling my wife that Life Scan kept calling to see if I had gone to a heart specialist, she made an appointment for me to see a cardiologist.   I still didn’t believe there was any thing wrong with me but I went anyway. Life Scan could have just left it alone but they were very persistent. I followed up with a cardiologist and went through another stress test which I passed and then a catheterization.   After the catheterization the doctor sent me straight to the hospital where the next morning I had open heart surgery. This was a serious blow to me mentally I had no idea what to expect and if I was going to be able to return to work. I had over 70% blockage in three arteries and over 90% blockage in the other two.  The surgeon and nurses couldn’t believe that I didn’t have any pain and that I had not had a heart attack yet. I spent five days in the hospital and then started my rehab at home. Because of the early detection from Life Scan I was back to work light duty in six weeks and back to firefighting in just eight weeks.

Since my surgery, I have taken on the responsibility for the firefighters of the Englewood fire department to schedule their physicals every year. Our firefighters really enjoy having the Life Scan physicals and try to stay in shape through fitness and wellness through out the year because they know that any thing can pop up through the year and it also helps them stay in shape for everyday firefighting duties. The wellness and fitness today has become a competition between our firefighters and in the long run it will keep them healthy for the rest of their career. I highly recommend that every department have a health and wellness program…it will save lives.

Russell McCord

Englewood Fire Dept.

I wanted to express my thanks for the service Life Scan has provided me and share my story with you.  The first year my department began using Life Scan I was pregnant and missed my evaluation.  I was able to get my physical several months later-November 2007.   I had a clean bill of health and thought that was the most comprehensive physical I had ever received.  The following year, June 2008, our department had scheduled the annual physicals again.  This time there were several small nodules on my thyroid.  At the very same time a firefighter in my department was diagnosed with Papillary Cancer.  He had a nodule that grew in size from one year to the next and upon biopsy revealed cancer.  I made an appointment to have the nodules biopsied and the results came back abnormal.  Surgery was quickly scheduled and I too was diagnosed with Papillary Cancer.  Fortunately for me the cancer was contained to the left side of my thyroid gland and had not reached the surface of the tissue.  I did not have to get radiation treatment and, aside from bi-annual follow-up, the worst is over.   

At the time of my surgery I had a one-year-old child.  I frequently think about the what-ifs…  What if I did not have the scan?  Where and when would the cancer have revealed itself?  As you well know thyroid cancer is not associated with any symptoms.  There is no pain or indication that cancer is present, not until the cancer spreads to another issue or organ.  The ultrasound detected the thyroid nodule early in the cancer process and the result was positive.  Life Scan changed my life.  

The job of Firefighting involves calculated risk.  Risks that involve immediately dangerous situations and danger that is not seen immediately, but found many years later.   The health risks that are associated with firefighting are far reaching.  Life Scan offers the most comprehensive examination available to our profession.  Florida does not have cancer presumptive laws to protect firefighters.  When a firefighter is diagnosed with any type of cancer, the treatment, time off from the job and any follow-up care is handled by the firefighter through private insurance and available sick time.  Prevention and early detection is the key to ensuring a successful outcome.  

Finally, I want to say thanks to your staff.  Tammy and the rest of the clinical staff go above and beyond.  They care about each and every patient.  Many of our employees have shared that the staff has called them to ensure they were comfortable with the medical information and followed-up when it was necessary.  For myself, you and Tammy are like family.  Thank you again.

Shelby Willis

Divison Chief, Largo Fire Rescue

My name is Steve Wagner and this is my cancer survival story.  In 2006 the Fire Department that I work for needed a new company to provide our annual employee physicals.  They chose Life Scan Wellness Center based on several recommendations from other Fire Departments that use their service.  At the time of my physical I was a healthy 42 year old with no current issues that I was aware of.  Life Scan provides a very thorough firefighter physical including lab work, hearing and vision and stress testing as well as ultrasound imaging of all of my internal organs and heart. No major issues were found prior to the ultrasound. During the ultrasound examine a large kidney stone was found in my left kidney. Having a very extensive history of kidney stones I was not surprised of this and was now aware that I would have to deal with this at some point in time. Either I would start to pass them or have to surgery to remove them.   

However, this was the good news.  The last part of the ultrasound was the ultrasound of my testicles. While scanning my right testicle three small masses were found.  I had no warning signs or symptoms and could not feel them. The following day I contacted my urologist that I had seen for my kidney stone issues.   He verified there was a mass present and I would need surgery to remove the testicle.  About three weeks later I was having a procedure performed called a radical orchiectomy.  This involved removing the entire testicle and related connective tissue.  A tissue sample was then sent to be tested and was determined to be cancerous.  Following the surgery I was referred to an oncologist for further follow up treatment. Upon meeting with the oncologist the cancer was classed as stage one. I was advised to start radiation therapy as soon as I was able to treat any cancerous cells that could still be present.  

Because of such early detection during my Life Scan physical and after the removal of my testicle, I was given a seventy percent survival rate without radiation and ninety nine percent with it. I received twenty eight rounds of radiation therapy on a Monday through Friday schedule. I have been cancer free now for four years, I receive checkups every six months by my oncologist.  Also, I have a complete firefighter health and fitness physical every year with Life Scan.  I have learned through my experience that early detection is the key that could save your life .  

Thank you to you and your team Life Scan!

Steve Wagner

Firefighter, East Lake Fire Rescue

I am a Firefighter/Paramedic.  A few days ago I learned that my surgery in the spring of 2009 to remove a very rare testicular tumor was, indeed, completely successful.  My urologist assured me that the tests were all negative and that I was released from his care to live without fear of any further complications from this whole stressful event. 

I want to thank Tammy Torres and the Life Scan staff for all that they did to bring me to this sense of relief today.  I will never forget that it was Tammy Torres with Life Scan that initially identified my medical condition.  Like most 35 year olds, I was just going about living my life quite well without any tedious battery of tests.  When we learned at the fire station that everyone (young and old alike) was obligated to go for this body scan and firefighter physical, we moaned and groaned and thought about ways to make the whole thing more fun.  Needless to say, I was very surprised when I learned that my testicular scan was not normal.  Suddenly, the Life Scan physical was not a burden, but an opportunity to be healed of a serious and potentially fatal cancer.

A year and a half ago, I had never heard of Life Scan.  Today I have learned an important lesson from them and I promote their life-saving services every chance I get.  Carry on with the good work!

Jeff Bergamo

Firefighter / Paramedic, South Pasadena, FL

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