Colon Cancer Information from South Nassau Communities Hospital


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The risk of dying from colon cancer is reduced approximately 33% among people who are screened regularly. Colonoscopy is the gold standard approach to screening for colon cancer.

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Colon Cancer Information from South Nassau Communities Hospital

  1. 1. For Immediate Release May 24, 2013Contact: Damian Becker, Manager of Media Relations(516) 377-5370What You Need to Know About Colon CancerOceanside, NY – Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the UnitedStates in men and women. It is projected to cause about 50,830 deaths during 2013. The death rate (the numberof deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women formore than 20 years.The decline is due to the commitment that hospitals and surgeons, including Rajiv Datta, MD, MedicalDirector of South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center, have made to employthe latest advancements in diagnostic technology and surgical and non-surgical approaches to detect and treatcolon cancer. It’s also a result of hospitals working with the American Cancer Society to increase publicawareness of potential risk factors and the benefit of a regular colonoscopy, the most effective screeningtechnique.Colon Cancer Screening“We strongly advocate a regular screening for colon cancer because its symptoms often do not appearuntil the disease has reached later stages,” said Dr. Datta, who is both board certified and fellowship trained insurgical oncology. Dr. Datta has extensive experience in colon and rectal surgery and its multidisciplinarymanagement as well as a full range of gastrointestinal operations with a focus on minimally invasive techniquesand modern post-operative management.The effectiveness of screening is demonstrated by the fact that the risk of dying from colon cancer isreduced approximately 33% among people who are screened regularly. Colonoscopy is the gold standardapproach to screening for colon cancer. It’s a visual examination of the colon using a fiberoptic endoscope.With the patient sedated, the endoscope is passed through the bowel, which is examined for polyps, bleeding,ulcerations and other conditions. If a suspicious mass is detected, the physician can perform other minorprocedures such as a tissue biopsy or polypectomy to diagnosis the condition.Oncologists at The Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center say that lifestyle changes can help preventcolon cancer, including increasing the intensity and amount of physical activity; limiting intake of red andprocessed meats; taking the daily recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D; eating more vegetables andNews From:
  2. 2. fruits; avoiding weight gain around the midsection and excess consumption of alcohol.Colon Cancer SymptomsColon cancer often starts as a small, non-cancerous tumor (called an adenomatous polyp). Its symptomsmay include diarrhea or other changes in bowel habits lasting more than 10 days; regular appearance of blood inthe stool; unexplained anemia; constant abdominal pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen; intestinalobstruction; fullness and gaseousness in the abdomen and noticeable weight loss.Treating Colon CancerColon cancer may be treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. For rectal cancer,chemotherapy and radiation are used before surgery to shrink (or downstage) cancer. They are also used aftersurgery to destroy cancer cells that may have be left, thereby reducing the probability of local recurrence.Surgical treatment of colo-rectal cancer involves removal of the affected area of the colon/rectum alongwith its mesentery (the membrane that attaches the intestines to the wall of the abdomen, maintaining theirposition in the abdominal cavity – which contains the abdominal organs – and supplying them with bloodvessels, nerves, and lymphatics vessels).It has been shown in nationwide research that surgical oncologists have better survival and recurrenceoutcomes when compared to organ-specific surgeons. Dr. Datta specializes in resections for colorectal cancer,including Total Mesorectal Excision (TME), which is the surgical procedure of choice to treat rectal cancers. ATME involves removing the entire mesorectum, without disturbing nerve or sphincter function, to eliminate thecancer. Compared to other surgical options, post-operative quality of life is better and recurrence rates aresignificantly lower.Minimally invasive laparoscopic resection is also offered to suitable patients for treatment of colorectalcancer. When performed using a laparoscope (a tiny video camera that provides detailed images) a colorectalresection requires just a few small incisions through which the laparoscope and surgical instrumentation areinserted to remove the cancer. The patient benefits of laparoscopic minimally-invasive surgery include aquicker recovery time, minimal gastrointestinal complications, minor incisions, reduced blood loss and minmalpost-operative pain. In addition, patients who require post-operative chemotherapy can begin immediatelybecause they dont have to wait for a large incision to heal.Treatment Follow-Up“Follow-up care is essential to the short- and long-term success of the treatment,” said Dr. Datta. “Weare vigilant in encouraging our patients to follow through on continuing care.”South Nassau endorses the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for follow-uptesting. After surgery, patients should have a physical examination every three to six months for the first three
  3. 3. years and annually thereafter. Colonoscopies are performed approximately every three to five years.Blood levels for CarcinoEmbryonicAntigen (CEA) of patients treated for colorectal cancer should bemeasured every two to three months after surgery for two years. CEA is a tumor marker for colorectal cancersand is a protein normally found in the tissues of the intestines, pancreas, and liver. The CEA level is expectedto fall to normal following successful surgery to remove the cancer. A rising CEA level indicates progressionor recurrence of the cancer.A recipient of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC) OutstandingAchievement Award, The Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center treats approximately 1,500 patients annually.The Center has evolved into one of the Northeast corridor’s premiere providers of compassionate advancedcancer care. The center is the only one on Long Island that is equipped with three of the most advanced andeffective technologies used to treat and eradicate cancer: the Varian Novalis Tx™, da Vinci® Surgical Systemand Gamma Knife® Perfexion.In addition to its Cancer Center in Valley Stream, NY, The Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Centerincorporates the following specialty cancer care services:• South Nassau’s GYN Oncology Department (Valley Stream)• South Nassau’s Long Island Gamma Knife® Center (Oceanside)• South Nassau’s Center for Prostate Health Program (Oceanside)• South Nassau’s Center for Breast Health (Oceanside)• South Nassau’s Center for Lung Health (Oceanside/Valley Stream)• South Nassau’s Radiation Oncology Department (Oceanside and Valley Stream)• South Nassau’s Surgical Oncology Department (Oceanside and Valley Stream)• Complete Women’s Imaging Center (Oceanside)• South Nassau’s PET/CT Service (Oceanside)For more information about colorectal cancer surgery or The Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center, call(516) 632-3350.South Nassau Communities Hospital is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 435 beds, more than900 physicians and 3,000 employees. Located in Oceanside, NY, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profitteaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, painmanagement, mental health and emergency services. In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers,South Nassau provides emergency and elective angioplasty and is the only hospital on Long Island with theNovalis Tx™ and Gamma Knife® Perfexion radiosurgery technologies. South Nassau is a designated StrokeCenter by the New York State Department of Health and Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by theAmerican College of Surgeons and is recognized as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the AmericanSociety for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. For more information, visit
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