Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken was in Riverhead Monday to sign a pledge with Peconic Bay Medical Center to reach a shared goal of 80 percent of at-risk Suffolk County residents screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.
He took the pledge, along with hospital administrators, inside a ten-foot tall inflatable colon set up inside the main lobby of the hospital to remind patients of colorectal cancer awareness month.
Each year in New York State more than 10,000 people develop colorectal cancer and more than 3,500 New Yorkers die from the disease. Screening helps save lives.
Tour guides Dr. Brett Ruffo & Dr. Mark Coronel took members of the community on trips through the inflatable colon on Monday, discussing possible diseases that could form, what polyps looked like, and the importance of screenings to prevent cancer with early detection.
“We want people to get screened for colorectal cancer, a crucial step that can help save lives,” Dr. Brett Ruffo said, “Our community has the resources that make it easier to get informed and get screened.”
Town Supervisor Sean Walter has signed a proclamation declaring March 2016 Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in the Town of Riverhead, and the hospital and the Cancer Services Program of Suffolk County are encouraging businesses to participate in the “Main Streets Go Blue” campaign, decorating their shops and streets in blue, running blue sales and specials, and hosting colorectal cancer screening events throughout March.
The street lamps on Main Street have been wrapped with blue ribbons to remind the community of the importance of colorectal screening.
The Cancer Services Program of Suffolk County offers colorectal, breast and cervical cancer screening to eligible uninsured individuals. All men and women 50 and older are encouraged to begin colorectal screenings.
To find out about eligibility for Cancer Services of Suffolk County contact 631.548.6320 or visit the hospital’s website here. More information about colorectal cancer is available on the State Department of Health website.