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OCO’s Cancer Services Program proves early detection is the best defense in the fight against cancer

Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
Fulton, NY – When the Nestles plant in Fulton closed Cynthia Haney didn’t know where she would turn for health issues.

With the absence of health benefits she was concerned that she would not be able to continue receiving routine health procedures and screenings.  That changed when she heard of Oswego County Opportunities’ Cancer Services Program Partnership.

Carolyn Handville (right), meets with Cynthia Haney and Dr. Alec Sokolovski of Oswego Surgical Associates.  Thanks to the efforts of the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County and the medical skills of Dr. Sokolovski, had several polyps removed from her colon and completed a cancer free colonoscopy.
Carolyn Handville (right), meets with Cynthia Haney and Dr. Alec Sokolovski of Oswego Surgical Associates. Thanks to the efforts of the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County and the medical skills of Dr. Sokolovski, had several polyps removed from her colon and completed a cancer free colonoscopy.

After contacting the program Haney learned that the Cancer Services Program Partnership offers a number of free cancer screening services such as Clinical Breast Exams, Mammograms, Pap/Pelvic Exams, and Colorectal Cancer Screenings for Oswego County residents that are uninsured or under-insured.

Since 2004 Haney learned of the program’s services from an article she had read and began receiving her annual preventative cancer screenings free of charge.  For the past eight years her screenings showed no abnormalities or concerns; that all changed this year when one of the screenings detected a problem.

While Haney was receiving many of the cancer screenings she needed, there was one that she procrastinated on.

“I never did the colon cancer screening because I was afraid I may have to undergo a colonoscopy.  I thought it would be too uncomfortable and never did a colon screening even though I was the age when I should have it done,” said Haney.

After putting off the screening for nearly two years Haney finally decided to do the in-home FIT kit screening for colorectal cancer that she had received through the Cancer Services Program.  The highly accurate FIT test for colorectal cancer detects hidden blood in the stool that could be associated with colorectal cancer.  When the results indicated that there was blood in her stool the Cancer Services Program contacted Haney immediately to schedule her colonoscopy.

“When I contacted Cynthia she was understandably nervous and quite concerned over what the next step would be,” said Carolyn Handville, program manager for the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County.  “I contacted Dr Alec Sokolovski with Oswego Surgical Associates and scheduled her for a colonoscopy at his earliest convenience.  Fortunately the polyps that were found were not cancerous.  The results of her conlonoscopy were cancer free and Cynthia will have her next screening in five years.”

Handville added that Haney was very fortunate as colon cancer can be hereditary and several members of family have had issues with cancer.

“Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States, excluding skin cancers, and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in New York. Approximately, 11,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year in New York, and 4,000 men and women die from the disease annually. Completing the FIT Kit screening is the first step in early detection of colorectal cancer as these kits can either find cancer early or prevent cancer by finding polyps before they can potentially become cancerous.  “Cynthia’s story is not unique; it is one of many we have heard. We are happy that we were there for her, ” said Handville.

As for Haney, she learned a valuable lesson.

“I know now not to procrastinate when it comes to cancer screenings!  It is a huge relief to know that all is okay.  The Cancer Services Program is a wonderful resource.  Early detection can, and does, save lives,” said Haney.

Adminstered by OCO, the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County provides free cancer screenings including clinical breast exams, mammograms, pap/pelvic exams and colorectal cancer screenings to community members who are both uninsured and between 40 and 64 years of age.

For more information on the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County contact Handville at 315-598-8030 or visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org

OCO, Inc is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations.