Cancer is defined as a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without stopping and can invade other tissues. In
fact, cancer is the second leading cause of death behind heart disease, according to statistics from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But here’s some good news: At least 42 percent of newly diagnosed cancers in the U.S. — about 750,000 in 2020 — are
potentially preventable, a recent study by the
American Cancer Society found. This statistic includes the 19 percent of all cancers caused by smoking and the 18 percent
caused by a combination of excess body weight, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition and physical inactivity.
Cancer prevention can involve education, screening (to find early-stage cancers before they have spread), vaccinations for
certain cancers (such as human papillomavirus (HPV) that can lead to cervical cancer) and a healthy lifestyle and diet.
February marks National Cancer Prevention Month. We want to honor it by giving you the latest of what’s happening in
cancer prevention at Doylestown Health.
Doylestown Health Events
Expert-led cancer prevention educational events are planned throughout the year. Currently, all events are virtual.
Scheduled for 2021 thus far:
Lung Cancer Prevention Talk
March 25 – 6 pm
This free information session will be led by critical care pulmonologist,
Pinak Acharya, MD
Female Cancer Prevention Talk
May 5 – 6
Donna Angotti, MD, director of oncology service
Mark Shahin, MD
, a gynecologic oncologist, will lead this free information session.
Doylestown Health has the following free public cancer screening events slated for this year for those uninsured or
- May 2021: Skin cancer screening involving full-body skin checks by dermatologists
- August 2021: Colon cancer screening, including a rectal exam and an at-home test
- October 2021: Breast cancer screening, including breast exams and mammograms
For more information on any of the free events above, call 267.885.1580.
When to Screen
When it comes to
screening, it can get confusing with how often or at what age to start screening for which cancer. Medical societies often
put forth conflicting recommendations. However, by working closely with your primary care provider, you can ensure you’re
covered for any available screening.
Screening should be based on a patient’s risk. “We should evaluate a patient’s risk first because a higher risk
patient is going to be screened differently,” says Dr. Angotti.
For example, suppose someone has a family history of colon cancer. In that case, that person should be screened around age
40 vs. the general recommendation of age 45 for the first screening, she adds.
Still, we may get too busy and forget to get screened every year. To help remind the public, every cancer organization has
its own awareness month (e.g., breast cancer month in October).
However, if that doesn’t grab your attention, Dr. Angotti recommends using your birthday month to get any preventive
screening done. Some people choose to get screened in the month a loved one was diagnosed with a certain cancer as a way to
Cancer screenings that were put on hold for two months at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have resumed. However, many
people are still afraid to return to get them performed, despite the comprehensive
control practices in place throughout the health system.
Unfortunately, Dr. Angotti says, this gap in care had “a huge detrimental” effect. “We saw a surge, sadly, in more
advanced cancers, which was really disheartening. Patients were more fearful of contracting COVID in the hospital setting than
they were of untreated serious disease, which was unfounded.”
is heartening is that Doylestown offers state-of-the-art
cancer care that also encourages close, supportive working relationships between patients and their care team, according to Dr. Angotti.
“We are fortunate to have a tremendous community partnership here at the hospital that dates back to the turn of the 20
th century and the founding of our hospital by a group of concerned community women. Our
have made it so much easier to support patients through any aspect of cancer care, including the screening process,” she
- Visit the American Cancer Society
for more information on cancer screening at any age.
About Doylestown Health Cancer Institute
Doylestown Health Cancer Institute offers patients the quality care they expect from a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment - close to home. Accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and a member of Jefferson's Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network, our board-certified physicians and oncology-certified practitioners provide comprehensive, coordinated care and services for the full range of cancer diagnoses including breast, lung, urologic, gastrointestinal and other cancers.