New initiative makes colon cancer screenings more accessible than ever
One in 20 people are diagnosed with cancer of the colon or rectum in their lifetime, a disease that affects both men and women. Unlike other cancers, colon cancer is highly preventable and curable with regular screening. There are many, however, who don’t take preventive action.
Studies show that certain population groups are less likely to get tested — including Hispanics or American Indians, men, and those between ages 50 and 65 with lower education and income. Reasons for this may include lack of knowledge about the importance of colorectal examinations and/or accessibility to screening centers.
Dr. Elena Tsai, a gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville says, “Approximately one-third of Americans over the age of 50 are not getting screened for colorectal cancer according to national recommendations. This translates to roughly 20 million adults.”
In addressing the problem, Lawrence Hospital has joined in a new, nationwide program titled “80% by 2018.” Co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the goal is simple: to eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and to work toward the shared goal of reaching an 80 percent colorectal screening rate of adults aged 50 and older by 2018.
“80% by 2018 is an important collaborative effort involving hospitals, healthcare providers, local health centers and local communities,” says Dr. Tsai. “By working together, we can ensure that more people are screened for colorectal cancer, prevent more cancers, and save lives.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by President and CEO of Lawrence Hospital, Edward M. Dinan. “Lawrence Hospital is proud to be part of this groundbreaking initiative. We are committed to educating our patients and communities about steps they can take to prevent disease, and we will do our part to help achieve the collective goal of reaching an 80 percent screening rate by 2018.”
Dr. Tsai offers these simple lifestyle tips that can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer:
1. Regular screenings are critical: Getting regular screening tests for colon cancer is the single best way to protect yourself from the disease. Screening can catch cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and help prevent the disease by finding and removing abnormal growths called polyps before they can turn into cancer. Screening is recommended beginning at age 50 for people at average risk. The most common type of preventative screening test is the colonoscopy. (Talk to your doctor about when you should start screening and which test is right for you.)
2. Don’t smoke. Not smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health. In addition to raising the risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke and emphysema, smoking is a major cause of at least 14 different cancers, including colon cancer.
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity has been linked to colon cancer. If you are overweight, make changes in your diet and exercise routine to shed pounds. Even a few pounds of weight loss will have a positive impact on your health. Eat a diet with plenty of whole grains, fruits and plenty of vegetables. Limit your intake of red meats and saturated fats.
4. Be active. Regular physical activity lowers the risk of many serious diseases, including colon cancer, and provides a good mental boost.
For more information on colon cancer visit nyp.org/lawrence. To find a medical doctor in your area who can discuss your screening options, call 914-787-5000.
Lawrence Hospital as a part of NewYork-Presbyterian is pleased to extend the following invitation to Westchester residents:
Saturday, March 14, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Event: Interact with renowned leaders in the field of colorectal cancer, and hear patients share their personal experiences. Register today, space is limited. Hosted by NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
Location: The Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center, Myrna L. Daniels Auditorium, 173 Fort Washington Avenue, NYC.
This story is provided and presented by our sponsor: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital