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[February 26,2009]

Free Colorectal Cancer Screenings Offered in March:

Early Detection Means Lives Saved

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and SUNY Downstate Medical Center is encouraging Brooklyn residents to get a free colorectal cancer screening. Free screenings are available Wednesdays in March from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the SUNY Downstate Digestive Disease and Endoscopy Center, 760 Parkside Avenue, between Nostrand and New York Avenues.

There will also be a Health Fair at the Center on Saturday, March 28th, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Free colorectal cancer, blood pressure, and diabetes screenings; videos, brochures, and health information; and refreshments will be available at the fair.

"Colon cancer is a very easy disease to avoid. People just need to be aware of their risk factors and follow the screening guidelines," says Frank Gress, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at SUNY Downstate. "Many people avoid screenings because they are afraid of what we might find, but colorectal cancer is an extremely slow growing cancer. When detected early, there is a 90% survival rate.”

Dr. Gress is director of the Digestive Disease and Endoscopy Center at SUNY Downstate, and one of Castle Connolly's "Top Doctors” of 2009.

Colorectal cancer is a disease that it often preventable through appropriate screening techniques. Colonoscopy can catch and remove pre-cancerous polyps before they turn into colorectal cancer. Current national guidelines recommend it mainly for people age 50 and over, who face the highest risk and should get checked every 10 years. If it is determined through a colorectal cancer screening that you need a colonoscopy but you do not have insurance, you may qualify for a free colonoscopy.

For more information, please call the Digestive Disease and Endoscopy Center at 718-282-7234. The Digestive Disease and Endoscopy Center is an affiliate of SUNY Downstate Medical Center and a division of its University Physicians of Brooklyn, Inc.



SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a Graduate Public Health Program, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks ninth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools.  More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.