Tag Archives: colon cancer

Op-ed: Let’s practice cancer prevention each and every day


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY DR. WAYNE KYE

What do you do to prevent cancer? February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and a great time to make or renew your commitment to put your health first. Take time to visit your health care professional and discuss your family and personal health history and which cancer screenings are right for you. Screening can detect cancer early, when it is most treatable, and in some cases stop cancer before it starts.

It is estimated that over 589,430 men and women will die in 2015 from cancer — including 34,600 New Yorkers. More than half of cancer deaths — more than 250,000 — can be prevented by taking action that includes getting screened.

Here are a few of the most common screenings to discuss with your health care professional:

• Breast cancer – mammogram
Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam done by your health care professional every three years. Women over age 40 should get a mammogram and have a clinical breast exam every year. Those who have a family history of breast cancer are at higher risk and may need to start screening earlier.

• Cervical cancer – Pap smear
Women in their 20s should have a Pap test every three years. It is recommended that women ages 35-64 have a Pap and HPV (Human Papillomavirus) test together every five years. If you have HPV, smoke, use birth control pills or have had multiple sexual partners, you may be at a higher risk and may need to be screened more often.

• Prostate cancer – Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test
At 50, men should talk with their health care professional about whether or not getting screened for prostate cancer is right for you. Men may be at a higher risk if they have a family history of prostate cancer.

• Colon cancer – colonoscopy or stool-based tests
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States. Starting at age 50, it is recommended that men and women of average risk get screened. You may need to start screening earlier if you have a family history of cancer or colorectal polyps, if you smoke or if you are overweight. Talk to your doctor about which screening test is right for you.

• Skin cancer – skin exam
Starting at age 20, have your doctor check your skin annually. Examine your skin at home once a month and tell your health care professional about any changes. You are at a higher risk for skin cancer if you spend a lot of time in the sun or use tanning beds. Always use sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more when in the sun, and avoid the sun at its brightest times.

• Lung cancer – low-dose spiral CT scan
If you smoke or if you have quit smoking, discuss with your doctor whether lung cancer screening is right for you. Men and women are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer if they smoke (or have smoked) or if they have been exposed to second-hand smoke.

• Oral cancer – head and neck examination
As a periodontist and fellow health care professional, I would like to update you on oral cancer. It’s two times as common in men as in women. Tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption are important risk factors. However, one in four patients diagnosed with oral cancer will present with no risk factor. Thus, it’s important to see your dentist regularly for oral cancer screenings. Start reducing your risk to by incorporating these healthy eating and exercise tips into your everyday lifestyle.

Dr. Wayne Kye is the spouse of U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) and a member of Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

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Why is Colorectal Cancer in the News?


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Dr-Margaret-KemenyW

By Margaret Kemeny, M.D.

Director, Cancer Center, Queens Hospital Center

You may have heard about the efforts of celebrities like Katie Couric and Ozzy Osbourne to promote colon cancer prevention during March, which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. Since colon cancer is the number two leading cause of cancer deaths in America, many organizations and individuals participate in activities that help educate and motivate an understanding of this disease.

What is colorectal cancer?

Colon cancer usually begins as one or more tiny growths, called polyps, in the colon or rectum. If not removed, these polyps may turn into cancer.

What is Queens Hospital Center doing about colorectal cancer?

In 2011, we provided 1,412 colonoscopies and treated 50 patients for colorectal cancer. We also make sure that when they turn 50, every employee receives a birthday card that also reminds them about the need to get screened. Further information, videos, links and brochures are available on our web site at http://www.nyc.gov/html/hhc/html/feature/coloncancer.shtml.

We at Queens Hospital Center have started the first comprehensive cancer center in the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) system. We can offer state-of-the-art treatment for colorectal cancer, which includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. We also have a specialized center for liver metastases from colorectal cancer. We can offer liver surgery, hepatic artery pump chemotherapy, radiofrequency ablation of the tumors and more.

Can anything be done about colorectal cancer?

Yes. A colonoscopy is an exam performed by a gastroenterologist or surgeon where the lining of the rectum and colon are examined for the presence of polyps or other abnormalities.

Studies have shown that it can take about 10 years from the development of a polyp to the progression into a cancer. If these polyps are detected early and removed, these cancers can be prevented. If a colorectal cancer does develop, removal of the cancer at an early stage, before the cancer has had the chance to spread to other tissues or organs, can increase the likelihood of a cure.

In fact, just last month, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a 20-year study done in New York City which showed that colon cancer screening with colonoscopy, including the removal of the lesions that can develop into cancer, reduced the death rate from colon cancer by more than 50 percent.

Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?

Both men and women are at risk. Colon cancer occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, and the risk increases as you get older. A family history of colon cancer may also increase your risk for this disease. People at high risk for colon cancer may need to get tested more often and at an earlier age.

Is colon cancer preventable?

Yes. Removing growths early can prevent cancer. If cancer already exists, screening tests can find it early when it’s easier to treat. Everyone 50 years of age or older should have regular colon cancer screening tests.

What are the signs of colorectal cancer?

People who have polyps or colon cancer usually don’t have signs of it, especially in the early stages. That’s why having regular screening tests is so important! However anyone with rectal bleeding should be screened.

How do I get screened?

Colon cancer screening is available at all HHC public hospitals at little or no cost. If you don’t have insurance or can’t afford medical care, you may qualify for HHC Options. Visit our web site, www.nychhc.org, to find an HHC hospital near you.