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Read the Book and Make an Appointment in the Morning

A Leading NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Gastroenterologist Gives Patients Advice in His New Book: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Colorectal Cancer

NEW YORK (Apr 29, 2004)

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer of men and women in the U.S., yet it is also the most preventable form of cancer.

Studies show that more than 90 percent of lives could be saved through the early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer, says Dr. Mark Pochapin, Director of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. But a mix of ignorance, misinformation,and embarrassment about the disease is killing people — many of whom would go on to live a full life if they had the right information and the right screenings.

In his new book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Colorectal Cancer, Dr. Pochapin sheds important light on this often preventable form of cancer.

Clearly, one of the biggest problems regarding colorectal cancer is that no one has really wanted to talk about it, perhaps because of embarrassment or lack of knowledge, said Dr. Pochapin, who is also Associate Attending Physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. With all their time constraints and pressures, doctors, in particular, have been placing it on the back burner, or not even talking about it at all. Yet doctors, of all people, need to impress upon their patients the importance of screening and prevention. If doctors aren't talking about it, then their patients won't think it's important, either.

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Colorectal Cancer helps to bridge that gap and provides readers with a candid, detailed, and accessible explanation of everything they should know that is related to this misunderstood disease — from the elaborate workings of the body's digestive system to life-saving screening procedures and treatments to therapeutic options for counseling and pain management.

The book's foreword was written by Katie Couric, who, together with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, co-founded the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance after osing her husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer.

Explaining that colorectal cancer is often asymptomatic before it has reached its advanced stage, Dr. Pochapin is adamant that everyone at average risk for the disease needs to begin regular screening at age 50 and encourages patients and families to go to your doctor when you are well. While he explains why 50 is the magic age, he reminds readers that colorectal cancer is an equal opportunity disease that can also afflict younger people. Those with certain risk factors — such as inflammatory bowel disease or a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer — may need to be screened at a younger age and at more frequent intervals. Furthermore, because lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of colorectal cancer, Dr. Pochapin warns against smoking or excessive drinking, and promotes exercise and a high-fiber, low-fat diet.

Because the screening process has been unnecessarily shrouded in mystery, Dr. Pochapin leads readers through the entire procedure, from the preparation for a colonoscopy and other screening methods to the pros and cons of the different screening tests. For those who have put off screening for fear of pain, he details the types of sedatives available, all of which make the procedure painless.

While he cautions readers that the conventional cancer protocols are the only medically proven methods for treating and often curing colorectal cancer, Dr. Pochapin also supports the use of certain complementary therapies — in conjunction with established treatments. In listing the benefits and liabilities of everything from acupuncture and aromatherapy to t'ai chi and yoga, he notes that, if used properly and under the guidance of a physician, complementary therapies can make colorectal cancer, its symptoms, and its treatments and side effects more tolerable — and possibly even bolster the immune system for better recovery and healing.

Dr. Pochapin also advises his readers to focus on wellness. Once treatment is finished, he recognizes that the degree of concern patients have about their future can be overwhelming. In guiding readers through this difficult time, he outlines necessary follow-up care including doctor's appointments, tests, follow-up, screening, and lifestyle changes to enhance the healing process.

About the Author

Dr. Mark Pochapin is a widely known leader in the field of gastroenterology and a sought-after media expert. Board-certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology, Dr. Pochapin is the Director of the newly established Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He also serves as Chief of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and Associate Attending Physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Dr. Pochapin is highly respected for his dedication to the advancement of medical research; to public education and outreach; and to providing excellent and compassionate patient care. He has received numerous awards, including the Elliot Hochstein Teaching Award for the qualities of compassion, skill, and distinction as a physician and teacher and the Humanism in Medicine Award in recognition of compassion, sensitivity, respect, and cultural competence in the delivery of care to patients and their families.

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