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Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Working to promote digestive health through preventative care, our Gastroenterology team screens for, manages, and treats a number of conditions related to the digestive tract and liver.

St. Lawrence Health provides an award-winning Endoscopy Unit, named a 2015 Endoscopy United Recognition Program (EURP) Honoree by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

From treatment of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal organs, including gastrointestinal reflux, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), ulcers, diverticular disease, Crohn's Disease, and colitis, to providing preventative screening for polyps and Colorectal Cancer, our team is committed to helping our patients maintain their digestive health through procedures ranging from endoscopic ultrasounds (performed in our Imaging Department) to several types of regular preventative screenings, including colonoscopies.

We maintain a commitment to excellence when it comes to our patients, and our diagnostic procedures and preventative screenings offer safety and quality that is close to home for North Country residents in St. Lawrence County and beyond.  

Colorectal Cancer

Help Us Spread Prevention Awareness

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the U.S., with 140,000 Americans diagnosed annually. It’s also the most preventable form of cancer. To put its preventability in perspective, if everyone age 50 and up were to get screened regularly, 6 out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer would be prevented, or 60% of the more than 50,000 lives it claims each year. That’s 30,000 people – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandparents – that could potentially be saved, all because of one simple thing: regular screenings.

Read our 2022 press release on how Early Detection Can Make All The Difference

Common Misconceptions About Colorectal Cancer

On average, 1 in 20 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer at some point in their lives. With many misconceptions about colorectal cancer floating around, it can be understandable why that number is so staggering and why so many fail to get an annual screening...

No Symptoms: “If I don’t have symptoms, how can I have it?”

Especially early on, this form of cancer may not display symptoms.

No Family History: “No one in my family has had it – it’s hereditary, isn’t it?”

Most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer or polyps, have no family history of either.

Too Young: “I’m only 51! There’s no way I can have it.”

More than 90% of this form of cancer occurs in men and women over the age of 50 – and risk increases with age.

The Test: “The test just sounds... no comment.”

There are several different forms of screening tests. There is not just one test.


Colorectal Cancer Prevention: What You Can Do

If you’re 50 years or older, now is the time to start looking out for yourself and building preventative habits. In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise, healthy eating, and cutting out smoking and drinking alcohol, the key to preventing colorectal cancer is regular screenings. Despite what most people think, there are several different kinds of preventative screening tests that vary by procedure type and frequency, and most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover these:

  1. Colonoscopy every ten years starting at age 50
  2. High-Sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), stool test, or fecal-immunochemical test (FIT) every year
  3. Sigmoidoscopy every five years with FOBT every three

If you’re one of the 28 million Americans not up-to-date on your colorectal cancer screenings, get in touch with your primary care doctor today.

Luis I Canales MD
Luis I. Canales, MD
John H Kim MD
John H. Kim, MD
Linda W Letham NP
Linda W. Letham, NP
David A Nevins PA
David Nevins, PA - Potsdam, NY Physician Assistant - St Lawrence Health
Lara Niles FNP
Lara Niles, FNP
Gina Sam MD
Gina Sam, MD
Rajiv Shah MD
Rajiv Shah, MD - Potsdam, NY Gastroenterologist - St Lawrence Health