Florida Hospital Flagler Hosts Colorectal Cancer Panel

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PALM COAST, Fla., April 6, 2017 On March 29, Florida Hospital Flagler hosted a panel discussion on colorectal cancer, featuring radiation oncologist Dr. Luis Carrascosa, gastroenterologist Dr. Issam Nasr, hematologist and medical oncologist Dr. Padmaja Sai, and hematologist and medical oncologist Dr. Mitchell Weisberg, as well as cancer care navigator Katie Fazio, oncology social worker Deb Duvall, and Genetic Counseling and Cancer Risk Screening Clinic nurse practitioner Cindy Trawick.

More than 100 community members joined Florida Hospital Flagler for this free event.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S., and it is the third deadliest cancer too, taking approximately 50,000 American lives each year, said Nasr. There is good news here though. On a national scale, we are seeing a decline in the number of people dying from this disease. This is due to screenings.

It can take as many as 10 to 15 years for a polyp to develop into colorectal cancer, and although you may not have any symptoms, regular screening can save your life, he added. Colonoscopies can prevent many cases of colorectal cancer altogether by finding and removing polyps before they ever have the chance to turn into cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, a recent study estimates that over the past three decades, screenings have prevented more than half a million colorectal cancers in the U.S.

About 90 percent of cases occur in people over 50, so that's why the recommendation is to begin screenings at 50, unless you have family history that indicates you should begin screening earlier, said Sai. 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 colorectal cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are two treatment options.

Chemotherapy may not be necessary for patients with stage one or two colorectal cancer, but is a common treatment option for patients with stage three or four, said Weisberg.

Radiation therapy uses targeted energy to destroy cancer cells, shrink tumors, and can also alleviate certain symptoms, Carrascosa added.

As a nurse practitioner offering genetic counseling, Trawick explained one of the genetic risk factors for developing colorectal cancer.

Lynch Syndrome is an inherited condition that increases your risk of several types of cancer, including colon cancer, Trawick said. Its estimated that three out of every 100 colon cancers are caused by Lynch Syndrome.

About Florida Hospital Flagler

Florida Hospital Flagler 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 99-beds, Florida Hospital Flagler 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 907 beds and nearly 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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