Saint Michael’s Medical Center is urging residents of Greater Newark
who are over the age of 50 to talk to their primary care physicians about
a colorectal cancer screening.
“Colorectal cancer screenings are saving lives,” said Dr. Joseph
R. DePasquale, a gastroenterologist and chief academic officer and program
director of internal medicine at Saint Michael’s.
“A recent student found that the rate at which people are diagnosed
with colon cancer in the country has dropped 30 percent in the last 10
years for those aged 50 years and older, an age group in which colonoscopy
use, one of several tests available, has almost tripled,” DePasquale said.
Saint Michael’s recently signed on to the “80% by 2018,”
a national campaign launched this month by the National Colorectal Screening
Roundtable (NCCRT), in recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
The NCCRT was co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce colon cancer incidence
and death rates.
By joining the “80% by 2018” campaign, Saint Michael’s
is committed to ensuring at least 80 percent of all residents in the Greater
Newark area who are over 50 are screened for colorectal cancer.
Saint Michael’s is also committed to removing barriers that include
cost, transportation, and resistance to what is viewed as an unpleasant
Saint Michael’s is the only hospitals in the Greater Newark area
to operate “In the Pink,” which provides free or low-cost
education, outreach, screening, and treatment to women and men who qualify.
The program’s primary goal is to increase the proportion of age-appropriate
men and women who are screened for breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate
cancer among Essex County’s underserved population.
“A lack of health insurance or poverty should not be a barrier to
cancer screening,” said Aretha Hill-Forte, who oversees the In the
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men
and women. In 2017, there will be an estimated 95,520 new cases of colon
cancer and 39,910 cases of rectal cancer diagnosed in the U.S.
While colorectal cancer incidence rates are on the decline, there is more
that can be done. In 2010, the most recent year for which numbers are
available, only 59 percent of people ages 50 or older reported being up
to date with colon cancer screening.
Those less likely to get tested include Hispanics, people with limited
English language skills, American Indian or Alaska natives, and people
with lower education and income.
“By committing to 80% by 2018, Saint Michael’s is dedicated
to enhancing our already extensive outreach efforts to empower members
of our Newark community to collaborate with us to eliminate the disparities
and barriers to screening services,” said Dr. Hamid Shaaban, a hematologist-oncologist
and director of the hospital’s Cancer Center and chief medical officer
at Saint Michael’s. “Colon cancer is a largely preventable
disease and we can save more lives with timely screening."