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Lenox Hill doctors highlight importance of colonoscopies for Indian Americans

Lenox Hill Hospital gastroenterologists Aakash Aggarwal, MD, Arun Swaminath, MD, director of the inflammatory bowel disease program and Patrick Okolo, MD, chief of the division of gastroenterology.
Lenox Hill Hospital gastroenterologists Aakash Aggarwal, MD, Arun Swaminath, MD, director of the inflammatory bowel disease program and Patrick Okolo, MD, chief of the division of gastroenterology at the Consulate General of India in New York.

Awareness is critical as incidence of colon cancer among Indian Americans living in the US is estimated at 15 cases per 100,000 individuals

NEW YORK, NY —

Three Lenox Hill Hospital physicians recently presented on the importance of colon cancer screening and prevention at an information session held by the Consulate General of India in NY in association with Northwell Health. Fifty guests attended the two-hour informative presentation and cocktail reception.

The event – Colon Cancer Screening: An Indian Perspective – specifically focused on the health and wellness of the Indian American community and featured gastroenterologists Aakash Aggarwal, MD, Arun Swaminath, MD, director of the inflammatory bowel disease program and moderator Patrick Okolo, MD, chief of the division of gastroenterology at Lenox Hill and professor of medicine at Northwell's Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra.

Colon cancer usually begins with small non-cancerous clusters of cells, known as polyps, forming in the large intestine. Over time, polyps may become cancerous; however, regular colon screening tests help prevent cancer by allowing doctors to identify and remove these lumps before they turn malignant.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, colorectal cancer (which includes both colon and rectal cancers) is the third most common cancer worldwide. The incidence of colon cancer in Indians living in the U.S. is estimated to be around 15 cases per 100,000 individuals, which is higher than in those residing in India, as found in a study by the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Fortunately, due to an increase in routine screenings, a move toward healthier lifestyles and advancements in treatment, the death rate for colorectal cancer has been dropping for several decades and there are now more than one million survivors of this type of cancer in the United States.

Lenox Hill Hospital’s gastroenterology department, which performs more than 4,500 colonoscopies annually, has been nationally and regionally recognized for extraordinary care. The hospital was rated as “high performing” in gastroenterology & GI surgery and in colon cancer surgery by U.S. News & World Report in its 2019-20 “Best Hospitals” edition. Lenox Hill was also recognized among America’s 100 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades for exceptional outcomes in gastrointestinal care for four consecutive years (2016-2019).