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    The Brooklyn Hospital Center And The Cancer Services Program Of Brooklyn Launch Community Education Initiative Promoting Early Colon Cancer Screening

    June 15, 2017

    Brooklyn has some of the highest incidence and mortality rates in the New York State when it comes to colorectal cancer.Early colon cancer screening, detection and treatment can save lives.

    Yet, statistics show that colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in New York State. Each year, more than 9,000 New Yorkers develop colorectal cancer and more than 3,000 die as a result.

    The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) and Cancer Services Program (CSP) of Brooklyn are working together to reduce these numbers.

    The two are partnering through the innovative Colon Cancer Education Outreach Initiative to reach ‘hot spots’ in the borough where cancer screenings rates were low according to census tract data.

    “We were able to plot on a map of Brooklyn where colorectal cancer screenings were being performed in relation to the CSP screening provider sites and show areas where screening events were lacking,” said Gloria Ayide, director of CSP of Brooklyn. “We performed the hot spot analyses to examine potential clusters of low and high screening areas.”

    The first community educational forum will be hosted at the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center, 592 Rockaway Ave., on Saturday July 1, Ayide said.

    Participants will receive contact information to schedule an appointment for a colon cancer screening. Eligible uninsured Brooklyn residents will be enrolled into the CSP of Brooklyn to help them receive a screening or medical care, if needed.

    A 2016 study conducted by Dr. Namrita Prasad, a research fellow at TBHC, found that there “were statistically significant differences in prevalence rates of colon cancer in Brooklyn when compared to New York State as a whole.”

    Based on the study, TBHC and the CSP of Brooklyn setup a series of educational lectures at local churches, schools, and community groups to help increase screening rates, officials said.

    Targeted communities include Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint, East New York/New Lotts, Brownsville, Canarsie/Flatlands, Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay and Gravesend.

    Dr. Madhavi Reddy, Program Director of the Gastroenterology & Hepatology Fellowship Program at TBHC, will lead the colon cancer education workshops under the leadership of Dr. James Gasperino, Chair, Department of Medicine; Vice President for Critical Care, Perioperative, and Hospitalist Medicine; Associate Chief Medical Officer.

    Dr. Reddy said that statistics show that the number of people who die from colorectal cancer could be reduced by an estimated 60 percent with early screening and detection.

    “We know that colon cancer screenings and early detection can save lives so we look forward to partnering with the CSP of Brooklyn to reach local residents who will benefit the most from education and early screenings,” Dr. Reddy said.

    TBHC Census Tract Data Research Findings

    In 2015, CSP of Brooklyn conducted a cross-sectional study for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening.

    TBHC and the CSP of Brooklyn decided to focus on colorectal cancer screening as part of The National Colon Cancer Round Table’s stated goal to screen 80 percent of the population for colorectal cancer by 2018.

    The community outreach initiative later emerged from the research conducted by Dr. Prasad in collaboration with the CSP of Brooklyn.

    Dr. Prasad used the census tract data to create thematic maps of area-level socioeconomic indicators such as percentage of uninsured persons.

    A recently conducted study, titled, Colorectal Cancer Screening in Minority Populations: Impact of a Comprehensive Cancer Screening Program – Performance and Outcome, further supported the previous research that more targeted screening programs were needed to decrease barriers and increase screenings.

    Gastroenterology Fellows Dr. Denzil Etienne, Dr. Emannuel Ofori, and Dr.Mel Ona conducted the study with Ayide and Dr. Reddy.

    Dr. Prasad said that the research also showed that education, poverty, race and the lack of medical insurance played a factor in several “cold spots,” or low screening rates, which corresponded to the areas with higher concentrations of socioeconomic deprivation.

    TBHC and CSP of Brooklyn Promote Cancer Awareness

    The joint community outreach initiative is part of a larger effort by TBHC and CSP of Brooklyn to promote cancer education and screenings.

    In March, Gary G. Terrinoni, President & Chief Executive Officer of TBHC urged the public to seek early screening during a press conference at the hospital as part of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. New York City Public Advocate Letitia James also participated.

    Terrinoni said, “We are committed to empowering communities, patients, health care providers, community health centers, health systems, health plans and other partners to close the colon cancer screening gap.”

    Letitia James promised her support. She called the TBHC and CSP of Brooklyn efforts the “Thompson 80/20 Initiative” after the late Brooklyn DA who died from colon cancer in October 2016.

    TBHC offers a comprehensive list of cancer services. Free screenings are available for the uninsured. For more, information call: 718 250-8708, or visit