Communities of color are disproportionately affected by colorectal cancer, with Black men and women 20 percent more likely to get the disease than other groups and 40 percent more likely to die from it, according to the American Cancer Society. Now, thanks to a $2.2 million grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, NYU Langone Health is expanding its Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program to address this disparity in Brooklyn.
“Early screening is a proven way to prevent colorectal cancer,” says Mark B. Pochapin, MD, the Sholtz/Leeds Professor of Gastroenterology and director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in NYU Langone’s Department of Medicine. “Even young, and seemingly healthy people can be victims of colorectal cancer, and we truly hope to build awareness around the importance of screening within at-risk communities while providing additional opportunities for early detection.”
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation gift will support an early intervention program in Brooklyn that can lead to better outcomes for gastrointestinal diseases and cancers. To detect colorectal cancer early, experts at NYU Langone recommend all adults with average risk, regardless of race, start screening at age 45 to 50. Screening is recommended for all Black men and women beginning at age 45, regardless of risk profile, because of the higher incidence of disease and death. Through seamless integration with NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, suspicious findings can be diagnosed and treated quickly and closer to home at Perlmutter Cancer Center—Sunset Park.
The gift will support increased screening capacity at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn and the NYU Langone Brooklyn Endoscopy and Ambulatory Surgery Center, with a specific focus on reaching underserved communities. Additionally, a portion of the funds will expand screening for liver disease with support from Saikiran M. Kilaru, MD, clinical assistant professor in NYU Langone’s Department of Medicine and member of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and backs the recruitment of an epidemiology expert to research efforts on risk factors, screening, quality indicators, and prevention of colorectal cancer.
“Colorectal cancer disparities are of critical concern, so we are eager to support NYU Langone’s efforts to increase cancer screenings and expand care in these underserved communities,” says Alex Cohen, president, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation.
About the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is committed to inspiring philanthropy and community service by creating awareness, offering guidance, and leading by example to show the world what giving can do. The foundation’s grants support nonprofit organizations based in the United States that either help people in need or solve complex problems. The foundation also spearheads grassroots campaigns to encourage others to give.