AV Hospital to offer free cancer screening & education

LANCASTER – In honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month in March, Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) is hosting a free colorectal cancer screening and information session from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday,  March 19 at 44105 15th Street West (the corner of Avenue J-5 and 15th Street West), on the 4th floor, in Conference Room 15.

Local physicians and specialists will be available to answer questions, and each attendee will be given a free, at-home colorectal cancer test kit.

According to the Center for Disease Control, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer includes growths on the colon, rectum and/or appendix. It is also one of the most preventable cancers; the key to prevention is early detection and treatment.

“Early detection and treatment can result in better outcomes for a number of diseases,” says Edward Mirzabegian, AVH Chief Executive Officer. “Through ongoing educational events such as these, AV Hospital offers opportunities to learn about early detection and prevention of disease and invests in the healthy lives of our fellow residents.”

While everyone is at risk for colon cancer, certain factors can make you more susceptible. If you are over the age of 50, smoke, have a family history of colorectal cancer, have a personal history of other cancers and have been diagnosed with polyps or colitis, you could be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer. Also, those who eat a diet high in saturated fat or red meat, or are obese or generally inactive are at risk.

Even if someone does not have the risk factors, at age 50, they should begin having screenings, including a colonoscopy every 10 years. A colonoscopy is the most effective means of finding cancer-causing polyps, which can then be removed to prevent cancer development.

Antelope Valley Hospital will be hosting free health education lectures in April focused on cancer topics.

  • Thursday, April 12, Vijay Trisal, M.D., a surgical oncologist on staff at AVH, will be discussing melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and causes the majority of deaths related to skin cancer.
  • Thursday, April 24, Urologist Tawfik Hadaya, M.D. will present information on minimally invasive robotic surgery options available to treat various urologic disorders, including prostate cancer.

While advances have been made, cancer continues to remain the number one health concern for Americans. In the ongoing battle to reduce cancer mortality and incidences, Antelope Valley Hospital supports the American Cancer Society through programs such as Daffodil Days and the upcoming Relay for Life fundraising event, taking place on April 14 & 15 at Quartz Hill High School in Lancaster.

Future plans at AVH include the construction of a brand new cancer center on the hospital campus, which will expand the vital cancer services offered in the Antelope Valley. This new center will include a full-range of diagnostic and treatment options, clinical trials and research, as well as a complete support system designed to assist the patient through their entire treatment process. Groundbreaking for this facility is tentatively planned for late 2012.

(Information via press release from Antelope Valley Hospital.)

CORRECTION: MONDAY, MARCH 19, is the date for the free colorectal cancer screening and information session at the Antelope Valley Hospital. A previous version of this article gave an incorrect day. We apologize for our error.