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St. Luke’s Nesquehoning patient: ‘Get screened for colon cancer. It could save your life like it did mine.’
April 04, 2018

Mary Davis, 67, of Nesquehoning, believes Joanne Calabrese, DO, of St. Luke’s Internal Medicine in Tamaqua saved her life when during a regular visit she suggested Davis have a stool sample test for colon cancer. The test came back positive.

A follow-up colonoscopy and biopsy showed Davis had a small tumor in her colon. Davis underwent surgery to remove the tumor and is undergoing 12 weeks of chemotherapy to prevent a recurrence.

“I was very lucky. They caught it early and it was small,” Davis says. “I have been told that I won’t need further surgery or radiation and that when I complete my course of chemotherapy I will be cured.”

During March, National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, Davis is telling her story in hopes others will get screened. Screening is critical because colon cancer is highly treatable if it is detected early, Dr. Calabrese says.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that if everyone age 50 and older were screened regularly, six out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented.

Davis says the stool sample test was very simple. “I don’t know why I didn’t get it done sooner,” she says. “But I’m so grateful I listened to Dr. Calabrese.” Like many people, Davis says, she had no signs or symptoms of colon cancer. She had no reason to suspect she had colon cancer and no family history of the disease.

“Significant family history of colon cancer or other disease of the colon may put patients at higher risk,” Dr. Calabrese says. “Patients who have a family risk history for colon cancer should discuss screening guidelines with their physician.”

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer, according to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

To find a doctor and schedule a colonoscopy, call St. Luke’s InfoLink at 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537) or email Info.Link@sluhn.org.

Media Contact:

Sam Kennedy, Corporate Communications Director, 484-526-4134, samuel.kennedy@sluhn.org

About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of 14,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and over 315 outpatient sites.  With annual net revenue of $1.9 billion, the network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is a major teaching hospital – the only one in the Greater Lehigh Valley.  In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus.  It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 27 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 211 residents.  St. Luke’s is the only health care network in central-eastern Pennsylvania to earn Medicare’s five-star rating (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction.  Repeatedly, including 2018, St. Luke’s has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital and 50 Top Cardiovascular Program designations from IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven Health Analytics).  St. Luke’s, utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system, is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of St. Luke’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information.  St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.