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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals Urges New Yorkers 50 and Older to Get a Life-Saving Colorectal Cancer Screening

Helping Queens Narrow the Screening Gap

Mar 08, 2016

New York, NY

colonoscopyFor Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, NYC Health + Hospitals urges all Brooklyn residents 50 and older to undergo potentially life-saving colorectal cancer screening. In New York City colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer, killing approximately 1,400 people each year according to the New York Citywide Colon Cancer Control Coalition (C5), which includes NYC Health + Hospitals, the City’s essential public health system. Yet 90 percent of colorectal cancers are curable when caught in the early stages. NYC Health + Hospitals performed almost 7,800 colonoscopies in Brooklyn in 2015.
Men and women over age 50 should have a colonoscopy at least once every 10 years. Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer should speak with their healthcare provider about more frequent screenings starting at an earlier age. NYC Health + Hospitals offers affordable colonoscopies and other screening tests to all New Yorkers. To find a Health + Hospitals facility in your community, see its website or call 311.

“NYC Health + Hospitals offers affordable colonoscopies and other screening tests to all New Yorkers, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status,” said President Dr. Ram Raju. “Our intent is to make colon cancer screening a routine part of preventive health care for everyone over the age of 50. Effective early detection of avoidable cancers is an important public health goal.”
People with colon cancer often have no symptoms until the disease has reached advanced stages. However, signs of colon cancer may include:

  • A change in bowel habits, including diarrhea, constipation or a change in consistency of stool
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
  • A feeling that the bowel does not completely empty after a bowel movement
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

During the colonoscopy exam, a doctor looks inside the colon using a thin, bendable, lighted tube that has a small camera on the end. If polyps are found, they can be removed right away. The exam lasts about 30 minutes. Typically at NYC Health + Hospitals, polyps and other pre-cancerous growths are removed in about 20 percent of colonoscopies performed, when the disease can be prevented or treated effectively. That rate is consistent with the national average. Other screening tests are also available.
“Colon cancer is a silent killer, and while there is greater awareness presently of colon cancer screening in Brooklyn we must continue to get the message out,” said Dr. John Trillo, Director of Gastroenterology at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island. “By the time people feel the symptoms of colon cancer, treatment can be difficult or ineffective. Early screening can find and remove polyps which are the precursors of cancer or discover cancer at a curable stage. Because of new treatments and better chemotherapy options, more colon cancer patients in the U.S. are living longer and enjoying a better quality of life.”
Overall NYC Health + Hospitals performed almost 22,000 colonoscopies in 2015, almost twice as many as it did when it began an initiative a decade ago to get more New Yorkers to undergo colon cancer screenings. That initiative, as well as the work of the C5 coalition, has helped to close the disparity in colon cancer screening rates that exists in most other parts of the country among blacks, whites, Asians and Hispanics. In New York City, the colonoscopy screening rate is now the same across ethnic groups, though in 2003 whites were screened at a significantly higher rate than other groups.
NYC Health + Hospitals has three hospitals in Queens:
NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
79-01 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373
NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
82-70 164th Street
Jamaica, NY 11432

Contact : Ian Michaels, NYC Health + Hospitals, 212-788-3339

About NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation with a network of 11 hospitals including six regional trauma centers, community-based health centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, and a correctional health services unit. The system includes a home care agency and a health plan, MetroPlusHealth. The health system provides essential services to 1.2 million New Yorkers every year in more than 70 locations across the five boroughs. Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees are uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. Visit nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected: https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter @NYCHealthSystem.