Panel on Digestive Health and Colorectal Cancer

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DELAND, Fla., March 22, 2017 On March 20, Florida Hospital DeLand hosted a panel discussion on digestive health and colorectal cancer, featuring radiation oncologist Dr. Johnny Bernard, medical oncologist Dr. Ernesto Bustinza-Linares, gastroenterologist Dr. Jeanellee Soriano Co, cancer care navigator Ann DeCarr, oncology social worker Diana DePaolo, oncology registered dietitian Jennifer Robinson, and Genetic Counseling and Cancer Risk Screening Clinic nurse practitioner Cindy Trawick.

Nearly 50 community members joined Florida Hospital DeLand for this free event.

When you turn 50, it is so important to undergo a screening for colon cancer, said Co. That's why we've committed to the American Cancer Society's 80 Percent by 2018 pledge, a national campaign that is striving towards getting 80 percent of American adults older than 50 to have regular screenings for colorectal cancer by next year.

For those who are diagnosed with colon cancer, we offer the latest drugs and technology to treat cancer effectively right here in DeLand, Bustinza said. So many new cancer drugs have come on the market, and at Florida Hospital DeLand, we offer them. This is great news for patients who are fighting colon cancer; they don't have to travel far to get the newest treatments.

My grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer, so that experience has certainly fueled my passion for educating patients about the importance of early detection, Bernard said. It can take as many as 10 to 15 years for a polyp to develop into colorectal cancer, and that's why we shouldn't be afraid to have regular screenings. Colonoscopies can prevent many cases of colorectal cancer altogether by finding and removing polyps before they have the chance to turn into cancer.

Trawick explained how genetic testing can be used to determine risk of developing colon cancer, as well as other cancers, including breast, pancreatic, melanoma, prostate and endometrial cancers.

Generally speaking, approximately 5-10 percent of all cancers are hereditary. These cancers are caused by a broken or mutated gene that is passed down in families from one generation to the next, Trawick said. Patients who have either been diagnosed with cancer or have a strong history of cancer may want to consider genetic testing. In addition to providing an estimate on your own personal risk of developing cancer, the results can also help identify a family's cause of cancer and help families make medical and lifestyle decisions.

About Florida Hospital DeLand

Florida Hospital DeLand is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 46 hospital campuses and nearly 8,200 licensed beds in 10 states. With 164-beds, Florida Hospital DeLand is one of the six Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties that composes the Florida Hospital East Florida Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region has 923 beds and more than 6,000 employees. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region collectively contributed nearly $120 million in benefits in 2015 to the underprivileged, the community's overall health and wellness and spiritual needs, and capital improvements.

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