Upstate News

March 7, 2008
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

SUNY Upstate, Syracuse University deliver colorectal cancer screening message

SRACUSE, N.Y. — SUNY Upstate Medical University gastroenterologist Ronald Szyjkowski, M.D., and Syracuse University coaches Jim Boeheim, Greg Robinson and John Desko are appearing in a 30-second television public service announcement (PSA) that encourages people over the age of 50 to be screened for colorectal cancer.

The PSA, spearheaded by Szyjkowski and Syracuse University Athletic Director Daryl Gross, was created jointly by SUNY Upstate and the Syracuse University Athletic Department to call attention to March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

“Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the U.S. with 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year,” said Szyjkowski. “Initially it has no symptoms. Early detection and treatment could make the difference between life and death. This is why regular screening is so important, especially for people who have a family history of colon cancer.”

“Cancer touches us all in one way or another,” Boeheim said. “One of the most successful methods of fighting cancer is screening tests. I encourage anyone over 50 or with a history of colon cancer in their family to contact their physician to set up the test.”

The PSA will appear on WTVH-TV5, WSTM-TV3, 9WSYR-TV, News10Now and on Time Warner during the Syracuse University coaches’ shows and lacrosse games. Live announcements regarding the importance of colorectal cancer screening will be made on the Syracuse University ISP Sports Network.

While younger adults can develop colorectal cancer, the chances of developing colorectal cancer increase markedly after age 50. More than 90 percent of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are older than age 50. Screening methods for colorectal cancer include: a digital rectal exam, a fecal occult blood test (FOBT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, and colonoscopy.

The PSA was produced by Roger Springfield, director of Media Properties, Production & Licensing for Syracuse University Athletics.

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