Hospital panel focuses on high colorectal cancer statistics

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:08

    HONESDALE - Called “Bottoms Up” it started with a funny name, but a recent panel discussion at Wayne Memorial Hospital on colorectal cancer couldn’t have been more serious. Colorectal cancer rates in northeast Pennsylvania are higher than rates for the state and the U.S. as a whole. The discussion, aimed at healthcare workers, drew 55 physicians, nurses, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and representatives of physician practices and health-related agencies. “We gathered to share and increase our knowledge of colorectal cancer,” said Donna Decker, RN, Manager of Community Health at Wayne Memorial, “but there was also an underlying—and very urgent—message: how do we get colon cancer rates down in our community?” The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute estimates colon cancer rates in Northeast Pennsylvania are 20% higher than the rest of the state, 23% higher than the U.S. average. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It’s estimated that close to 57,000 Americans will die of colorectal cancer this year According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), if everyone aged 50 years or older were screened regularly, as many as 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. Early screening saves lives. “The screening tool for colon cancer with the greatest percent of accuracy is the colonoscopy,” said Gastroenterologist, Dr. David Reynolds. A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure, usually done with sedation by an experienced physician. The whole procedure usually takes from 30 to 60 minutes. The comfort level of having a colonoscopy has been greatly increased through improved medication and technology, according to Decker. She spoke from experience. “When I had a colonoscopy, I remembered going in and coming out but nothing of the procedure itself. Within three hours, I was in my parent’s yard picking blueberries.” “March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” added Decker. “So be on the lookout—we’ll have more tips on how to prevent this all too common disease coming up next month.”