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Colorectal cancer screening can save your life

by jmaloni
Mon, Feb 28th 2011 04:25 pm

WNED-TV will present the broadcast premiere of "My Health Counts! Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives!" on Monday, March 28, at 9 p.m.

WNED's ThinkBright and Well channel (Digital 17.3/Time Warner 21/Verizon FiOS TV 472) will re-broadcast this 30-minute television special on Monday, April 11, at 9 p.m. Additional information and resources will be available online at www.wned.org.

WNED and ThinkBright and Well joined forces with the P2 Collaborative of Western New York, a coalition of more than 200 health service and community organizations, to develop the "My Health Counts!" television and outreach campaign. The goal is to share important information about what people can do to improve their health, working alongside doctors and other members of their health care team.

In conjunction with National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month in March, WNED is premiering "Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives!" This program addresses the second-leading cancer killer in the United States affecting both men and women and is the fifth program in the "My Health Counts!" series.

Each year, more than 142,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed and more than 51,000 Americans die of the disease. Yet, screening tests have proven to be very effective in preventing the disease and saving lives.

The case for screening is emphasized throughout the program by both health care experts and Western New Yorkers who have been personally affected by colorectal cancer.

Buffalo native Susan Hunt hosts an informative, upbeat conversation with two colorectal cancer experts.  Dr. James Corasanti, a gastroenterologist with the Buffalo Medical Group and medical director of the GI Endoscopy Unit at Buffalo General Hospital, and Dr. Kelli Bullard Dunn, chief of Roswell Park Cancer Institute's Division of Colon & Rectal Surgery, are both featured in the program.

"On average, one in 11 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer. It's extremely common. Everyone's at risk at some point in time," said Bullard Dunn.

In addition, several people share their stories, including WGRZ-TV reporter Heather Ly, whose mother died at age 58 from colon cancer.

 "My mom felt fine. She looked fine. And six weeks from the day she was diagnosed, she died of colon cancer. Just because you look fine, just because you feel fine, doesn't mean you are fine," Ly says in the program.

Others featured include:

Walter Kolmetz, of Corfu, and John Farino, of Cheektowaga, are both colon cancer survivors.

Betty Green, of Buffalo, lost her job and health insurance but was able to take advantage of free screening services which detected an abnormality and may have saved her life.

"If everyone who should be screened is screened, we potentially could decrease the number of cancers by up to 60 percent," Bullard-Dunn says in the program.

"The rule is there are no symptoms with colon polyps or early cancers. The importance of screening is to look for those polyps before they would ever cause symptoms or have a chance to turn into cancer, thus preventing the disease," adds Corasanti.  "It's estimated that up to half of adults age 50 or older - the age group at greatest risk for developing colorectal cancer - have not been screened appropriately."

Kolmetz sums up the vital message of the program when he reminds the audience that a colonoscopy could be what saves your life.

But Bullard-Dunn adds, "The single best screening test is the one that you get."

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