Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., March 1, 2021 – Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) remains the third leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the nation. The goal of colorectal cancer awareness month in March is to help educate people about the risk of colorectal cancer and the benefits of early detection.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 104,200 new cases of colon cancer and 45,200 new cases of rectal cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the United States this year with about 53,000 deaths from this disease. Colorectal cancer usually does not cause any symptoms until it is advanced and starts to spread through the body. Most colorectal cancers can be prevented through regular screening through detection and removal of polyps, so it is important to learn about recommended screening guidelines.  

Specialists at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey are highly skilled in all aspects of colon cancer care, from screening and diagnosis to treatment and follow-up. Our multidisciplinary team includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, researchers, as well as specialized nurses and social workers, all working together to personalize the best possible treatment plan for each patient.

The following experts from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey are available for comment on colorectal cancer topics through the month of March:

Anita Kinney, PhD, is the director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, associate director for Population Science and Community Outreach at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health and director of ScreenNJ, a statewide cancer screening program that aims to increase screening for colorectal and lung cancer. Dr. Kinney has been an actively funded investigator in the area of cancer prevention and control for more than 25 years. She can discuss the importance of colorectal cancer screening, early detection, and prevention.

Howard S. Hochster, MD, FACP, is the associate director for Clinical Research and director of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute; director of Oncology Research at RWJBarnabas Health; and distinguished professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is also the chair of the Gastrointestinal Committee of the SWOG cooperative group that develops and manages cancer clinical trials with cancer research partners nationwide. Dr. Hochster can discuss the importance of screening and the latest in colorectal cancer clinical trials and research.

Daniel L. Feingold, MD, FASCRS, FACS, is the chief of colorectal surgery in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute. Dr. Feingold is double-board certified in general surgery and colorectal surgery and focuses on preserving function while reducing post-operative pain and complications. He specializes in minimally invasive colorectal surgery for colon and rectal cancer and in sphincter preservation so that patients can avoid having a permanent colostomy. A nationally recognized researcher and author, Feingold has published more than 90 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, edited two colorectal surgery textbooks and lectured extensively. He can discuss colorectal surgery, including the latest in technology and research.

Salma Jabbour, MD, is a radiation oncologist in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program and vice chair of Clinical Research and Faculty Development at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and clinical chief of Radiation Oncology at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. With a subspecialty in gastrointestinal cancers, she works closely with the multi-disciplinary gastrointestinal oncology team in to educate patients and help them make an informed decisions about what treatment options are right for them. As a member of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the American College of Radiology (ACR), and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), she serves on several national committees that help to decide which radiation treatments are best for patients. Dr. Jabbour can offer information on colorectal cancer treatment and research.

Patrick Boland, MD, is a medical oncologist in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. With a clinical expertise in colorectal cancer, Dr. Boland works closely with the team of surgeons, radiation oncologists, nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, and social workers through the course of a patients’ care. Having developed and conducted multiple clinical trials, He can offer insight on clinical research focused on colorectal cancer.

Kristen Spencer, DO, MPH is a medical oncologist in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Dr. Spencer also sees patients as part of the Phase I/Investigational Therapeutics Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute.  In addition to treating patients, she also conducts research in early phase clinical studies where she attempts to bring novel agents from the basic science research laboratories into the clinic to help advance the oncology field for her patients. With clinical expertise in colon cancer, phase I clinical trials and translational research, Spencer can discuss clinical research relating to colorectal cancer.