|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
March 4, 2010
Pre-Cancerous Polyps found
in 20% of Colonoscopies
HHC and Health Department Urge New Yorkers 50 and Older
Performed at City Public
Get a Life-Saving Colonoscopy
New York, NY - The New York City Health and Hospitals
Corporation (HHC) today announced that HHC doctors performed more than
21,000 colonoscopies and removed pre-cancerous polyps in about 20 percent
of the cases at the city public hospitals last year. HHC doctors also
removed potentially life-threatening cancerous polyps from 338
The findings show the critical value of colonoscopies in identifying
pre-cancerous polyps and colon cancer early, when the disease can be
prevented or treated effectively. March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
and HHC and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene urge
all New Yorkers 50 and older to undergo a potentially life-saving colon
cancer screening. Colonoscopies are available year-round at all 11 public
hospitals at little or no cost.
“Unlike some cancers, colon cancer is preventable, treatable and
beatable,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “Since we began our annual
campaign in 2003, the number of colonoscopies provided by HHC doctors
every year has nearly tripled. Our goal is to make this screening test a
routine part of healthcare for all New Yorkers over the age of 50.
It is important for all of us to remind our family, friends and other New
Yorkers about the importance of early screening to prevent colon
“When it comes to colon cancer, one test can literally save your life,”
said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Colonoscopy is
the only screening test that can actually prevent cancer. Still, the
disease is claiming the lives of New Yorkers every year. We will continue
to work with HHC and our community and medical partners to raise awareness
and increase screening accessibility.”
At public hospitals last year, doctors performed 21,662 colonoscopies
to screen New Yorkers for colon cancer. Doctors removed pre-cancerous
polyps - abnormal growths in the colon or rectum – from 4,331 patients, or
about 20 percent of the total colonoscopies, which is in line with the
national average of 15 percent for women and 25 percent for men. Cancerous
polyps were identified and removed from 338 patients.
These statistics are available on the HHC website, www.nyc.gov/hhc,
along with a variety of other quality and performance data from the public
Men and women over age 50 should have a colorectal screening at least
once every 10 years. Individuals with a family history of colorectal
cancer should speak with their healthcare provider about an accelerated
screening starting at age 35 or 40.
In order to get this important message out, HHC will promote the
month-long campaign with multilingual brochures, posters and postcards
that will be distributed to dozens of organizations across the city.
In addition, HHC physician experts will be available to press to inform
New Yorkers about the importance of timely colonoscopies.
According to the NYC Department of Health, more and more New Yorkers
are getting screened for colon cancer each year, and fewer New Yorkers are
dying from the disease. Screening is up 57% since 2003, with almost 66% of
New Yorkers over 50 getting screened (compared to just 42% in 2003).
Deaths from colorectal cancer have fallen by 13% during the same
period—from 1,638 to 1,419.
During March, screenings will also be offered at the private hospitals
on Staten Island, Richmond University Medical Center and Staten Island
University Hospital, thanks to funding from HHC. New Yorkers can call 311
or visit www.nyc.gov/hhc to
find a screening location or learn more about preventing colon
cancer. About HHC
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.3
billion integrated health care delivery system with its own 300,000 member
health plan, MetroPlus, and is the largest municipal health care
organization in the country. HHC serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year
and more than 450,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health
and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four
skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and
more than 80 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also
provides in-home services for New Yorkers. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc.