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June 3, 2018

American Cancer Society changes recommended age for screening from 50 to 45

FRANKFORT, KY. -- Following the release of new national colorectal cancer screening guidelines, one Frankfort doctor says that type of cancer is becoming more common in a younger age group.

The American Cancer Society now recommends adults with an average risk of colorectal cancer begin colon and rectal cancer screenings at age 45, instead of 50. The group changed its guidelines Wednesday because studies show that younger adults are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Dr. John Shekleton, a Frankfort gastroenterologist, said that he has seen an uptick in younger patients who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer within the last five years or so. Shekleton said it is”disappointing” to see adults younger than 50 be diagnosed with colorectal cancer because they were not recommended to be screened yet. He said colon cancer is the second deadliest cancer among adults.

According to the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, the commonwealth has the highest number of colorectal cancer cases in the country. Over 2,700 Kentucky patients are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year. In Franklin County, there are about 49 cases per 100,000 people per year, according to State Cancer Profiles.

The ACA is recommending six different tests for screenings. One is a colonoscopy. Two of the tests are a fecal immunochemical test and a guaic-based fecal occult blood test, which test stool for blood. Another kind of test is a multitarget stool DNA test, which tests stools for blood and abnormal DNA. The last two tests are a virtual colonoscopy and a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which is a test that uses a scope to view the lower rectum and colon.

“They’re not going to tell you the exact test to use,” Shekleton said. “They just want you to get tested.”

The tests need to be repeated at varying times, Shekleton said, but colonoscopies are the least frequent at once every 10 years. He said some studies show that colonoscopies are the best option for colorectal cancer screening. Some insurance companies do not approve virtual colonoscopies as a test, he said.

Former Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen said she takes every opportunity to discuss colon screenings because the earlier the cancer is caught, the less risk it has. She said some avoid screenings because it is unpleasant, but screenings can save lives.

She was diagnosed with colon cancer in its early stages through a screening almost 13 years ago. Now, she is cancer-free.

“It can save your life,” Luallen said. “It certainly saved mine.”

Luallen said cancer can have devastating effects on patients and their families. She encouraged everyone to see a doctor on a regular basis and do every screening recommended to them.

Shekleton said ACA’s old guidelines recommended African-Americans get screenings at 45 due to a higher risk of colon cancer, and other demographics starting at 55. He said the ACA’s studies have shown that colorectal cancer has been increasing for the last 20 years.

Some reasons that colorectal cancer is becoming more common in younger patients is an increase in obesity and that the Western diet includes more alcohol and red meat as well as fewer fruits and vegetables. Shekleton said that having a high fiber diet, taking aspirin daily or taking calcium supplements could potentially reduce colorectal cancer risk.

Those with a family history of colorectal cancer have a higher risk of getting that type of cancer and should be screened before age 45, Shekleton said.

Many patients with colorectal cancer do not show any symptoms, Shekleton said. Some symptoms are stomach pain, rectal bleeding and anemia.

Shekleton said that only 66 percent of patients eligible for colorectal cancer screenings actually do it. Some reasons that people do not get screenings are they are concerned about the laxatives before the test, potential pain, possible complications and just not wanting to undergo a test, Shekleton said.

Regular screening could lower risk of colorectal cancer, Shekleton said. He said having one colonoscopy could reduce risk of cancer in the left colon by 90 percent. He said it is less effective in the right colon, but with regular screening, patients have a 70 percent reduction in colorectal cancer risk.

By McKenna Horsley
The State Journal

May 31, 2018




HUNTINGTON – Veterans are invited to take part in a Whole Health Fair from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, June 29th at the Huntington VA Medical Center. The fair is open to all Veterans and their families.

As the VA launches an innovative approach that empowers and equips Veterans to take charge of their health, the Whole Health Fair features programs that provide the support Veterans need to achieve what is most important to them in life. Information will be provided for a wide variety of integrative health programs offered at the Huntington VA Medical Center, including pain management, recreational therapy, yoga, fly fishing, and weight management. Some programs will be offering demonstrations.

The Huntington VA Medical Center serves nearly 30,000 Veterans with many of them being diabetic or pre-diabetic. Medical center director Brian Nimmo stated, “the trendline for the number of our Veterans that are diabetic and pre-diabetic is proof that we need to consider different approaches”. The VA’s Whole Health approach redesigns healthcare to treat the whole person, rather than just a disease or a symptom. Whole Health utilizes providers, well-being coaches, and Veteran facilitators to develop a personal health plan with strategies specific to each Veteran. Personal health plans incorporate a full range of conventional and complementary health approaches that may include clinical care, self-care and well-being programs.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Huntington, West Virginia is a fully accredited 80-bed acute medical and surgical care facility offering primary and subspecialty outpatient care including rehabilitation and mental health services. The Huntington VA Medical Center is honored to serve Veterans in a primary service area that includes 10 counties in West Virginia, 2 counties in southern Ohio and 12 counties in eastern Kentucky.



1540 Spring Valley Drive, Huntington, WV 25704

PHONE NUMBER: 304-429-6741 or toll free 1-800-827-8244





May 25, 2018

Two Newly-Passed Resolutions Bode Well for Kentucky Seniors

FRANKFORT, KY (May 24, 2018)— Two resolutions recently introduced by State Representative Addia Wuchner, House District 66 (Boone) and Chair of Health, Welfare, and Family Services and adopted by the House during the 2018 Session of the Kentucky  General Assembly, in time Older Americans Month, which is celebrated in every May, may bode well for the future of Kentucky seniors.

Addia, Rubin and Dee Addia, Rubin and Dee

The first resolution, (HR 284) acknowledges the shift in demographics taking place not only in the Commonwealth but worldwide and recognizes the importance of working towards becoming an “age-friendly” Kentucky.  The second, (HR 283) encourages the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to explore the impact of substance abuse disorder on older adults when considering the scope of the problem.

“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work with members of the Kentucky Institute on Aging and the Kentucky Department of Aging and Independent Living in the drafting of these resolutions,” said Rep. Wuchner. “Together, they shine a light on two issues deserving of more attention and place Kentucky in the forefront of states acknowledging the impact and issues associated with a growing aging population.”

Kentucky currently ranks sixth in the nation in percentage of its aging population. At the same time, substance abuse and misuse in older adults continues to grow. Yet the evidence of physical, social, emotional, and economic consequences of such abuse are poorly documented.

Collectively, these new resolutions call for evaluating the costs and harm of current criminal, social, and health patterns looking at current population substance abuse  and the likelihood of future trends, and the promotion of strategies for prevention in younger populations and impact on that population as it ages.  Both further encourage polices that make Kentucky cities and towns friendlier to the aging population; encourages cities and towns to take part in the age-friendly movement.

“As our population ages, as we ourselves age, it is critical we understand the issues that impact the lives of older Kentuckians,” added Wuchner. “We must continue to honor rights of every individual to be treated with dignity and respect and calls for protecting the safety and well-being of older people to live out their lives without having to make a choice between food or medication, or fear of becoming isolated or alone. Additionally, we are just have learned the devastating effects and how the opioid and substance abuse crisis has impacted the lives of parents and grandparents, more studies are now bringing to light the issue of addiction and substance abuse in our aging populations.”

The Older Americans Act (OAA), passed in 1965, established the Administration on Aging (AoA). This legislation has worked toward providing seniors and caregivers with health and nutrition programs, community service employment and elder rights protection and assisting in how we address the needs as a community  as a population ages.

Old Americans Month calls us to pause, to recognize and celebrate those who have spent decades providing for the next generation.  Our Commonwealth, our communities, and our families are a reflection of their values and their unique perspectives and collective experiences.  We continue to rely on their valuable wisdom and guidance, as we continue learning from them, we remain commit to ensuring their safety and comfort.

Issues and concerns addressed in both resolutions will be presented at the Health and Welfare Interim Joint Committee meeting in Frankfort on July 18. The committee meeting is open to the public.

In ongoing work on these resolutions, Rep. Wuchner met earlier this week with Jeff Rubin and Dee Antimisiaris, who co-chair the Age-Friendly and Substance Abuse Subcommittees of the Kentucky Institute on Aging, to discuss critical issues impacting the lives of seniors in the Commonwealth.

For more Information:

Daisy Olivo

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