DDAR Blog

Hepatitis Awareness Month

May has been designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19, 2015 as Hepatitis Testing Day.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in concert with all public and private healthcare providers, are working to shed light on this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and encouraging at risk populations to get tested. 

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, most often caused by one of several viruses.  In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A (HAV), Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV), Unlike Hepatitis A, which does not cause a long-term infection, Hepatitis B and C can become chronic, lifelong infections. More than 4 Million Americans are living with Chronic Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, but most do not know they are infected.  Chronic viral hepatitis can lead to serious liver problems, including liver cancer.  According to the CDC, at least half of the new cases of liver cancer are from chronic Hepatitis C infection. Every year 15,000 Americans die from liver cancer or chronic liver disease associated with viral hepatitis.  The number of new cases of liver cancer is highest amongst Asian and Pacific Islanders and is increasing among African Americans, baby boomers and men. 

Hepatitis A infections have dramatically declined in the United States over the past 20 years, due in large part to vaccination efforts.   The HAV vaccine is recommended for all children starting at 1 year of age; men who have sexual contact with other men; users of IV and non-injected illegal drugs; people with chronic liver disease and people working with HAV in research laboratories.

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HBV infection.  According to the CDC, one in 12 Asian Americans is infected with HBV, and nearly two in three do not know they are infected.  Asian & Pacific Islanders make up 5% of the US population and account for more that 50% of the Americans with HBV.  Although people with HBV often have no symptoms, up to 25% of people with Hepatitis B will develop serious liver problems.   The CDC recommends HBV vaccination for all people born in Asia and the Pacific Islands; all infants; all children under the age of 19; people with sex partners who have HBV; sexually active people who are not in a long term monogamous relationship; people who share needles or other drug –injection equipment; healthcare workers; people with end-stage renal disease; residents of facilities for developmentally disabled persons; people with chronic liver disease; and people with HIV infection.

Hepatitis C ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious lifelong illness that attacks the liver. Many people can live with HCV fror decades without having any symptoms. Left untreated, HCV can cause serious liver damage and liver failure. Chronic HCV is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants.  According to the CDC, all people born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with HCV than other adults. There are an estimate 3.2 million Americans with chronic HCV.  The CDC recommends that all baby boomers get tested for HCV infection.  They also recommend testing for current or former injection drug users; persons treated for blood clotting problems before1987; persons who received blood transfusions before July 1992; persons with abnormal liver tests or liver disease;  health care workers who are exposed to blood from aneedlestick puncture and persons with HIV.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year over 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 people die from it each year.  The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Early detection is vital, over 90% of all cases of colon cancer can be prevented with recommended screening. Despite its high incidence, colon cancer continues to be one of the most detectable and most treatable forms of cancer.

Reduce Your Risk:  If you’re 50 or older, getting a screening test for colon cancer could save your life. Here’s how:  Colorectal cancer screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer; so colorectal cancer is prevented.  Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment often leads to a cure.  

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer:  Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first.  Symptoms for Colorectal Cancer may include blood in your stool, stomach pains, aches or cramps that do not go away or unexpected weight loss.  These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing is to see your Gastroenterologist.

Are you at  Increased Risk for Colorectal Cancer; You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50 and then keep getting screened regularly, we recommend every 5 years.  Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. Having any of these things may increase your risk:  Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer and genetic syndromes such as Lynch Syndrome. If you think you may be at high risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.

Did You Know:   The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) now requires all health care insurance plans cover preventative services, including colorectal cancer screening for individuals aged 50 or older, without any cost sharing to the patient. What this means for our patients is that 100% of the allowed amount of your screening colonoscopy should be covered by your insurance carrier. This may or may not include the costs of anesthesia services.  Please check with your carrier.  AFLAC and other voluntary benefits programs may pay you from getting a colorectal cancer screening.  Please check with your carrier or employee benefits department. 

Call our office today to schedule your screening colonoscopy! 

Dr. Richard Moccia Addresses GERD Prevention

Dr. Richard Moccia was interview by The Rockland Times on GERD Awareness and Prevention.   The 12th annual Gastro Intestinal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness Week was held from November 23rd to November 29th. It is sponsored by the Intestinal Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) to focus attention on GERD diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Moccia commented that often diet and lifestyle modifications are all that is required to reduce or eliminate GERD Symptoms.

To read the entire article, please clinck on the following link.  http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2014/11/26/take-some-good-advice-dont-let-acid-reflux-ruin-your-thanksgiving-meal/

Cancer Survivors Lobby for the Elimination of Colorectal Screening Cost Barriers

Hundreds of cancer patients, survivors and volunteers from the Mid-Atlantic States traveled to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday September 16, 2014 for an annual trip seeking support for continued cancer research, prevention and palliative care funding.Additionally, the group was lobbying for the elimination of colorectal cancer screening cost barriers.

Currently, Medicare patients who seek colonoscopies as preventative measures can see their out-of-pocket costs soar if polyps are found. Because of that potential cost, many people are skipping their scheduled screening procedures despite the fact that studies confirm that more than half of all colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented each year if everyone over the age of 50 is regularly screened. Representative from the American Cancer Society noted that our Congressional representatives need to know that we need to make cancer a national priority.  Every day, across the United States, 1,600 Americans die from cancer.

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DDAR Blog

3/1/18

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year over 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal...

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Colorectal Cancer doesn’t care about age and doesn’t just strike the older population. Currently, one in 10 individuals under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. According to...