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Vol. 112 - Issue 1, Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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HISTORIC ISSUES
Vol.6 No.51 - 7/6/1872
Vol.17 No.2 - 7/15/1882
Courtesy of the New York State Historical Association Library, Cooperstown, N.Y (.PDF files)
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News


March is colorectal cancer awareness month

Every year doctors at Bassett Healthcare diagnose patients with colorectal cancer, a disease that is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the more than 150,000 people diagnosed with cancer of the colon or rectum last year, more than 53,000 died. The good news is that awareness of the symptoms, along with screening for cancer in the early stages, before symptoms occur, can prevent many deaths.

R.S. Mercury
Schmer
Dr. Joseph Schmer, a gastroenterologist at Bassett Healthcare’s Herkimer health center, says, “The CDC estimates 40 percent of U.S. residents who should be screened for colorectal cancer have not been screened and I find that particularly frustrating. So many people are devastated by a disease that, with proper screening, early detection and treatment, can be prevented.”

Schmer went on to say, “Many of my patients tell me the thought of the screening makes them anxious and so they put it off, but it can be a life-saving procedure and with today’s technology it really is performed quite effortlessly.”

There are a variety of ways to screen for colorectal cancer, but the most effective method is a colonoscopy – a physical examination of the colon with a tiny lighted flexible scope. The procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes and is performed under mild sedation. Most patients tolerate the procedure very well and experience very little discomfort. Bassett offers this procedure at several locations including Herkimer, Cooperstown, Oneonta and Cobleskill. The colonoscopy allows the physician to locate and remove polyps during the screening. Polyps can be a precursor to colorectal cancer.

The disease doesn’t have recognizable symptoms in its early stages, but later on it can cause stomach pain, a change in bowel habits such as constipation or blood in the stool. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk it over with your physician. For most people, screening for colorectal cancer should begin at age 50. People with a family history of the disease should be screened sooner and more often.

We can all benefit from making lifestyle changes to prevent colorectal cancer. Exercise is important and so is increasing the amount of fiber in your diet by eating more vegetables and fresh fruits. If you have not had a colon cancer screening, talk to your doctor about scheduling one. It could turn out to be a lifesaver. Colonoscopies are offered Tuesday through Friday at Bassett Healthcare Herkimer. For more information call 315-867-2847 or 315-867-2850.


 


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