DDAR Blog

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 or on your stool (bloody bowel movement).
  • Stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away.
  • 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 physician.

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.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • Genetic syndromes, like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (also known 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!

Please read Dr. Vipul Shah's Interview on the Nyack Hospital's Website- Monthly Health Tips Feature http://www.nyackhospital.org/Nyack-Hospital-For-Our-Patients-and-Visitor...

Tips on Belching, Bloating & Flatulence

Many people overindulge during the holiday season.  The amount and variety of foods consumed can often lead to abdonimal bloating and gas.  Here are some suggestions to alievate these symptoms as published by The American College of Gastroenterology and reprinted below.

Belching is caused by swollowing air from eating or drinking too fast; not chewing food completely; drinking carbonated beverages; chewing gum or sucking on hard candies; excessive swollowing due to nervous tension or post-nasal drip; and lastly forced belching to relieve abdominal distress.

Abdominal bloating and discomfort may be due to intestinal sensitivity or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.  Foods to avoid include broccoli, baked beans, cabbage, carbonated drinks, cauiliflower, gum, and hard candy.

Abdominal distention results from weak abdominal muscles.  To prevent abdominal distensiontighten abdominal muscles by pulling in your stomach several times during the day.  Do sit ups exercises if possible.  Wear an abdominal support garment if exercise is too difficult.

Flatulence is gas created through bacterial action in the bowel.  Foods that are likely to form gas include: milk & dairy products; certain vegetables such as baked beans, cauiliflower, broccoli and cabbage; and certian starches such as wheat, oats, corn and potatoes. Rice is an excellent substitute.

If your symptoms persist post- holiday season, please contact your physician. 

 

 

Spyglass Direct Visualization System

DDAR Physicians are using cutting edge new technology at Good Samaritan Hospital to aide in the diagnosis and treatment of gallstones, liver disease and certain types of cancer.  This exciting new technology from Boston Scientific is the Spyglass Direct Visualization System or Spyglass for short. The Spyglass technology provides our physicians with a powerful tool to get enhanced visibility of the pancreas, liver and gallbladder so that they can make a more accurate diagnosis of the patient’s condition.  It is particularly useful in identifying gallstones, hepatic strictures and lesions that may be cancerous.   Spyglass is used while the patient undergoes an ERCP, Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatograpy Procedure.

Dr. Vipul Shah noted that the Spyglass uses a tiny fiber optic wire and camera to locate the gallstone.  This is particularly useful in cases where there are multiple stones hidden in the bile duct.  The technology can be combined with a probe that emits pulse waves to break the stones  into smaller pieces, that can be more readily removed and without subjecting the patient to major surgery. 

Dr. Yaron Langman further commented that in the past the only option for detecting cancer was a blind swipe with a brush which resembles a pipe cleaner.  The test was only effective 65 percent of the time, which often delayed patient treatment.  Now, with the Spyglass system, the gastroenterologist can see the lesion and using the SkyBite Biopsy forceps take a biopsy thus increasing the likelihood of obtaining an accurate diagnosis with the goal of expediting the patient’s treatment when required. 

Spyglass technology is just one of the exciting new treatment modalities which utilize nanotechnology and enhanced optics to diagnose and treat many GI ailments and complaints.  Please stay tuned to future blogs wherein we will showcase other cutting edge technology in development.   

New York State Health Exchange

On August 20, 2013, The State Health Commission of New York, Dr. Nirav R. Shah announced the official name of the New York Health Benefit Exchange Marketplace and many of health plans to be offered.  “NY State of Health will be the official market place for individuals and small groups in New York State to purchase health and dental plans under Obama-care also known as the Affordable Care Act.  On October 1, 2013, NY State of Health will begin enrolling for the January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 coverage period. 

Health plan options to be offered by “NY State of Health” included individual and small group plans from the following health insurance companies:

  • Affinity Health Plan
  • America  Progressive Life & Health Insurance Co of New York
  • Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP)
  • Emblem Health – Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York.
  • Empire Blue Cross & Blue Shield
  • Fidelis Care
  • Frrelancers Co-Op
  • Healthfirst
  • Independent Health
  • MetroPlus Health Plan
  • MVP Health Plan
  • Nothshore LIJ
  • United Healthcare of New York, Inc. (United, Oxford)

Plans will be offered in four tiers (platinum, gold, silver and bronze).  All plans sold on the “NY State of Health” Marketplace will cover doctor’s visits; hospital stays; emergency care; maternity & newborn care;  mental health services; prescription drugs; rehabilitative care, laboratory testing; preventative and chronic disease care; etc.   Deductibles, co-insurance and co-pay amounts will vary by tier selected. Individuals and families with incomes below certain levels ($45,960 for individuals and $94,200 for a family of four are eligible for financial assistance in the form of federal tax credits which are only available through “NY State of Health”.  Federal tax credits limit the amount a person pays for insurance each month.  Monthly payments will be significantly below the cost of buying insurance in today’s marketplace.  Individuals cannot be excluded because of laps in previous coverage and prior medical conditions.  For more information, visit the NY State of Health website at nystateofhealth.ny.gov. 

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