2016 SCOPE FOR HOPE Run draws near

Scope for Hope LogoOnce again Janette Gaw and Vera Owens will co-chair this important event.  The 5K run, 2-mile walk, and kids’ fun run will be held on March 12, 2016 at Hammond Stadium.  In it’s 6th year, the run is sure to be bigger and better than ever.  With lots of excitement, prizes, entertainment and awards it is truly a FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY event.

Remember, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country. Colorectal cancer is preventable. Colorectal cancer is treatable. 100% of Scope for Hope proceeds stay here in our community, providing colonoscopies, biopsies, treatments and financial assistance to our neighbors in need.  We hope to see you there to help raise funds for colorectal cancer patients in Southwest Florida!

For more information on Scope for Hope, to register or form a team, please visit www.21stCenturyCare.org


Valerie Dyke speaks at Cancer Seminar

March 2013 SCOPE FOR HOPE Run against COLON CANCER







“Dear Runners,

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first two Colorectal Cancer runs! With your help $53,000 has been raised, and those funds have been used to provide colonoscopies, biopsies, treatments and financial assistance for 123 colorectal cancer patients in need in Southwest Florida.

The colorectal cancer event’s new name is Scope for Hope, with fully 100% of proceeds staying right here in Southwest Florida. The 5K run, 2-mile walk, and kids’ fun run will be held on March 23, 2013 at Hammond Stadium. Under the direction of Dr. Janette Gaw and Vera Owens, the event has been growing every year and we expect this year’s to be the biggest ever. As always, door prizes, chance drawings, entertainment, and other surprises will add to the fun. We have some wonderful prizes this year, including a cruise! You can order your chance drawing tickets atwww.21stCenturyCare.org or at the event.

Remember, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country. Colorectal cancer is preventable. Colorectal cancer is treatable. We hope to see you there to help raise funds for colorectal cancer patients in Southwest Florida!

For more information on Scope for Hope, to register, or form a team, please visit www21CenturyCare.org

Colorectal surgeons break new ground for women in medicine

Special to Florida Weekly

 Valerie Dyke, M.D. and Janette Gaw, M.D.  ROMAN DAVID GARAY / COURTESY PHOTO
Valerie Dyke, M.D. and Janette Gaw, M.D.

The job of a
surgeon can be time-consuming, filled with early morning surgeries,
emergency cases and late nights checking on patients, all while making important decisions that can impact patients for a lifetime.

Opening a practice without being part of a team adds even more to the mix, but for colorectal surgeon Valerie Dyke, M.D., there was no other

“I wanted to start my own group, because at that time, colorectal surgeons were establishing themselves as something separate from general
surgeons,” Dr. Dyke says. “I started the Colorectal Institute and I was
so overwhelmingly busy.”

Without anyone to fall back on, Dr. Dyke spent nights on her office couch and days adding patients to her practice. She treated everything
from irritable bowel syndrome to colon cancer, dividing her time between surgery in the hospital and regular office visits with patients. She
rarely went home.

“I needed a partner,” she says. She began calling program directors throughout the country until she landed on a program in Atlanta that
connected her with Janette Gaw, M.D. Dr. Dyke did not know Dr. Gaw except for the recommendations of other physicians, but she decided to
take a chance and offer her a position. Her goal was to get Dr. Gaw to leave her successful program in Atlanta and head south to join a
onephysician practice. The two women had several phone conversations before meeting in person.

“Our personalities meshed well,” Dr. Dyke says. “I knew it was a leap of faith on her part to join a new practice.”

Undeterred by the amount of work ahead, Dr. Gaw took the offer and moved to Fort Myers six months into the Colorectal Institute’s

“I knew there would be a lot of opportunities in Fort Myers,” Dr. Gaw says. “And Dr. Dyke seemed nice. You spend so much time working
together you want someone with a similar perspective.”

The two women don’t necessarily see themselves as pioneers, even though they work in a field that is dominated by men. It’s rare that a
woman would launch a surgical practice without partners to help shoulder the patient load.

“It was tough,” Dr. Dyke says. “But it was the right choice. I knew it was something positive for our community.”

More than eight years later, Dr. Gaw has no regrets. “We put in a lot of long hours, but our patients are so grateful,” she says. “We really
want to make a difference in their lives.”

Now, with experience and a large patient base, the practice continues to grow. Two more surgeons, Jeffrey Neale, M.D., and Nagesh Ravipati,
M.D., joined the practice in recent years. The four surgeons treat patients at the Colorectal Institute and at all four Lee Memorial Health
System Hospitals — Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital.

In 2010, Dr. Gaw teamed up with her patient, Vera Owens, a colorectal cancer survivor, to form an annual charity run to benefit colorectal
patients who need financial help. The third annual Scope for Hope 5K Run/Walk is March 23 at Hammond Stadium. For more information, go to www.21stcenturycare.org. ¦


Helpful Advice For Preventing And Treating Hemorrhoids

Many adults will deal with hemorrhoids at some point.  Late in pregnancy, and also just after childbirth, is a time when women are apt to get hemorrhoids. Men and women can get hemorrhoids if they strain too much while they are constipated. The practical advice in this article offers several ways to avoid or treat this unpleasant condition.


For hemorrhoids that seem to be protruding outside your body,  try to gently nudge them back into the anus.  You want to make sure that the hemorrhoids aren’t too big though, because if they are, in doing so you may cause further damage.   Pushing hemorrhoids inside the anus also prevents your clothing from chafing against the hemorrhoids.    Make sure you have clean hands in order to keep bacteria from being introduced, which can cause inflammation.   BEST ADVICE:   Go see your doctor as soon as you can to receive treatment, because nudging hemorrhoids inside your body is only a trick that will help you slow down the progression of your condition.


Powdered myrrh and water can make a paste that will reduce hemorrhoid pain.   Mix a teaspoon of water with a teaspoon of myrrh to make a paste that is thick. Place the paste onto the hemorrhoids, and allow it to remain there for 30 minutes. You can purchase powdered myrrh at most any beauty and health store.


If you suffer from the discomforts that hemorrhoids cause, you may be able to find some relief.  Try sitting in a bath of sitz for 10 minutes, several times each day. You can also apply a cold compress to the affected area to get relief.


Steer clear of caffeinated beverages, as well as foods that are spicy and hot in nature. This is because these particular foods are capable of irritating your intestines. Spicy foods are notorious for the burning sensation that they can cause during bowel movements, so they should definitely be off-limits to those with hemorrhoids.


Avoiding scratching the area, as this can worsen the problem. One alternative to scratching is using a pad with a bit of witch hazel, apply this to the area to get some relief from the hemorrhoid itch. Also ensure that you are getting enough fiber in your diet, as well as the recommended eight cups of water per day.  This can help keep you from too much straining while having bowel movements.


Avoid reliance upon laxatives to alleviate constipation when your hemorrhoids are inflamed. Those products can only help with one movement, and do not address the root of the problem. Dietary changes are a better long term strategy to hemorrhoid management.


Consume fiber-rich foods, and drink plenty of water in order to soften feces. A softer stool is much easier to pass and involves less straining. Straining is the main cause of hemorrhoids. There are some fruits which are wonderful for softening your stool, and encouraging it to move. These include grapes, watermelon and papaya. Some vegetables, like okra and cabbage, are also good for helping the process along. Keeping yourself hydrated with plenty of water can also increase the effects.


As the above article has demonstrated, most people will have hemorrhoids sometime in their lifetime. Many of these people will repeatedly suffer with this problem.   It is possible to prevent the development of painful, swollen hemorrhoids by eating right, exercising, and employing other helpful methods and techniques.    The Bottom Line however is there is absolutely zero need to suffer, as hemorrhoids are a treatable ailment that THE COLORECTAL INSTITUTE can help you with.



Fight Back Against Your Hemorrhoids and Win

If the Internet has been your research tool of choice regarding hemorrhoids, look no further.  It is easy to imagine that you are in dire need of practical, effective advice.   The advice contained in this article will offer some practical tips about treating your hemorrhoids, but the best advice we can have is to schedule an appointment to be seen by one of our board certified colorectal doctors at THE COLORECTAL INSTITUTE.


One the easiest and best ways to lessen the risk of hemorrhoids is to get plenty of water in your diet. Be sure that you drink eight tall glasses of water at a minimum, as well as other nourishing beverages every day to keep from becoming constipated.    Drinking plenty of water is a must for those with a history of hemorrhoids.  Maintaining  your hydration equates to having easier bowel movements.  Also, you need to limit the consumption of both caffeine products and alcohol.



If you think you have hemorrhoids, please understand it is VERY IMPORTANT to be seen by your doctor.  As Lee County’s only Board Certified Colorectal surgeons, many of our patients that come in believing they only have a case of hemorrhoids, many times have some other disease of the colon and rectum that if left untreated may rapidly become life threatening.   EARLY DETECTION of Colon Cancer is therefore your best defense at beating it!    Most individuals have trouble discerning the difference between hemorrhoids and colon polyps, therefore if you have any growth, rectal bleeding, or change in bowel habits, we advise you schedule a quick check-up with one of our physicians to accurately diagnose what may be causing your symptoms.


Getting enough vitamins and supplements daily will assist you in managing hemorrhoids, over the years. If your diet is less than ideal, a supplement and/or vitamin will ensure that your body receives needed nutrients.


Avoid sitting on the toilet if you have the urge to go. Waiting on the toilet puts on unnecessary pressure on your lower body.   Gravity can also worsen hemorrhoids, so ensure that you are ready to go before you sit on the toilet.


It is vital to keep the area with hemorrhoids clean. Use moist wipes to clean up instead of toilet paper. You can also try out a sitz bath. Taking a lukewarm bath will help to relieve the pain, itching and swelling that usually accompany hemorrhoid flare-ups.   About 20 minutes of soaking should provide some relief.


For hemorrhoids that seem to be protruding outside your body, try to gently nudge them back where they belong. You should wash your hands thoroughly before trying this to avoid introducing bacteria into the area and increasing your inflammation.    However, if you have protruding hemorrhoids we advise you to see a doctor for this very common and treatable condition.


Squatting while passing stool will make the process easier and avoid flare-ups. While it may feel a little unnatural at first, by squatting, instead of sitting, hemorrhoid pain can be avoided.


Making sure your body has enough fiber is a great way to relieve any hemorrhoid pain. This is vital because when you don’t consume foods with fiber, you end up having hard stools and a deficiency in important nutrients. Therefore, you may want to consider taking some fiber supplements, like psyllium husks or linseed.


To soften stools, drink plenty of water and eat high fiber foods. Softening your stool is important because it will cause less strain when you are having a bowel movement, which will relieve some of the pain that is associated with hemorrhoids. Papaya, grapes and watermelon are all great examples of food that helps you to soften your stool. Fibrous vegetables also are beneficial, including okra or cabbage. You want to stay hydrated as well, so make sure you drink a lot of water throughout your day.


You may have checked many places for advice on how to best treat your painful hemorrhoids. We are glad that you chose to read this article. Use the ideas we have provided here, and you should find yourself feeling better, yet please take not that consulting with us in person is the best way to treat your hemorrhoids, and for you to make sure that you do not have something more serious going on.

Staging Colon Cancer

When a doctor wants to evaluate the progress of colon cancer of one of his patients he or she uses a method called Staging. This method is about finding out to what extent the tumor (colon cancer) has spread to the other regions of the patient’s body.   Once a doctor determines what stage the colon cancer is in, they will then develop the best course of action or treatment.


At this point in time the system that is most commonly used for the staging process of colon cancer is called the American Joint Committee on Cancer’s (AJCC) TNM staging system. Simply put this system is used for staging a patient’s colorectal cancer into one of four distinct stages.


Stage 0

Stage 0 also known as carcinoma in situ or colorectal cancer. In this stage the colon cancer has been detected in the innermost lining of the colon.

Stage I

In this stage the colon cancer has already begun to spread. But the cancer is still in the inner lining of the rectum or colon. In this stage the colon cancer has not reached the outer walls of the colon yet. Stage I is also known as Duke A or colorectal cancer.


Stage II

In this stage the colon cancer has spread more deeply into or through the colon or rectum.  The colon cancer may have possibly affected other tissue as well when it reaches this stage.   In this stage the colon cancer hasn’t reached the Lymph nodes  (bean-sized structures which can be found in the entire body that helps the body fight all kinds of infections and diseases).   Stage II is also known as Duke B or colorectal cancer.

Stage III

When you are in this stage the colon cancer has now spread to the Lymph nodes although it hasn’t spread to nearby parts of the body. Stage III is also known as Duke C or colorectal cancer.

Stage IV

In this stage the colon cancer has spread through the Lymph node system to other nearby tissue. This is most commonly called metastasis. The organs that most likely are affected are the lungs and liver. Stage IV is also known as Duke D or colorectal cancer.


Recurrent Colon Cancer or Cancerous Cells

When doctors talk about recurrent colon cancer they mean that cancerous cells that have already been treated have returned. These cancerous cells could possibly have returned as colorectal cancer but they might well return in any other part of the body too.

Colon Cancer – The Maori Factor

Research by a New Zealand University team into colon cancer has uncovered a very interesting phenomenon that sheds light on why colon cancer may be non-existent in the Maori race.  Naturally this discovery created a spin-off from the original study because if the reason why the indigenous Maori people have avoided colorectal cancer could be found,  then this information would become significant in the constant fight to prevent colon cancer.


Initially researchers looked at The Maori race’s diet, and they discovered that their abundant consumption of both red and purple berries, along with fresh fruits formed a higher proportion of their diet than it did with non-indigenous New Zealanders.    Based upon common practice, researchers were aware of the anti-oxidant value of fruits consumed by the Maori, and they assumed that non-Maori people gained the same amount of anti-oxidants from other fruits and vegetables in which they consumed.   This assumption appeared to cancel out any benefit the Maoris would gain by having a diet high in red and purple fruits and vegetables.  However, once researchers decided to check anti-oxidant levels individually, they then found out that anti-oxidant levels deferred quite significantly between Maori and non-Maori New Zealanders.


The results of the independent checks of anti-oxidant levels across a wide range of fruits and vegetables discovered that rather than these levels being the same, as commonly thought at the start of the experiments, they vary quite widely.    For instance fruits with red or purple skins like berries, plums, red apples and even red skinned sweet potato have around four times the anti-oxidant levels of other fruits and vegetables.   At this point the entire project started to make sense and the higher levels of ant-oxidants in a traditional Maori diet began to point to clues or a hypothesis as to why Maori have such low levels of colon cancer within the race.


The research continues today but based upon these findings there is strong reason to eat more strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, cherries, plums, red apples and sweet potato in our daily diets. In fact any fruit or vegetable with a red or purple skin contains around four times the anti-oxidant level of other fruits and vegetables and therefore should be utilized in our diets for anti-aging and many beneficial health reasons.


Somebody is bound to raise the question of whether frozen is as a good as fresh fruit. Here I can only give a personal opinion and state that whenever we cook, or freeze, foodstuffs we change the chemical make-up of the food and therefore it is unlikely to be the same as eating it fresh and uncooked.   But, if frozen is all that is available,  then some nutrients – anti-oxidant food, is better than nothing.

Caregivers Play Key Role in Disease Management of Older Colon Cancer Patients

Colon cancer patients who are 65 and older may benefit from a caregiver’s involvement, and caregivers may ultimately have a major impact on patients’ disease management, according to a survey of oncologists commissioned by the Alliance for Aging Research.


Ninety percent of oncologists feel that caregivers have a moderate to major impact on the decision-making process. Unfortunately, only about 64 percent of colon cancer patients in this age group have caregivers’ support.


More than half of oncologists who agree that colon cancer patients 65 and older have a more difficult time managing their disease than younger patients.    These oncologists also agree that older patients are generally less proactive about researching available treatment options.   Seventy-seven percent said that such patients experienced better disease outcomes with a caregiver’s involvement due to increased communication and condition – treatment education.   Additionally, caregivers play an important role in providing emotional support, participating in doctors’ visits and in decisions about disease management options and providing transportation to and from appointments.


“It is clear that caregivers are key to ensuring that colon cancer patients 65 and older receive the best care,” said Daniel Perry, executive director of Alliance for Aging Research. “Since managing colon cancer can be a complicated and confusing process especially for the aging population, a caregiver, whether a spouse, child, friend or neighbor, should be actively involved.”


“Crossing Jordan” star Miguel Ferrer, who lost his father, José Ferrer, to colon cancer, is partnering with the Alliance for Aging Research in a program called “Caring for the Aging,” to educate colon cancer patients and caregivers about the importance of active involvement in the treatment of the disease. This awareness program is sponsored by sanofi-aventis.


“The involvement of my stepmother helped ease my father’s decision-making process as he went down a difficult path,” Ferrer said. “I encourage all caregivers and family members to become actively involved and ask the right questions to ensure the best possible outcomes for their loved one.”

Colon Cancer Affects Men and Women Equally

Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Cancerous tumors found in the colon or rectum also may spread to other parts of the body. Cancer of the colon and rectum (colorectal cancer) is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine. If signs and symptoms of colon cancer do appear, they may include changes in bowel habits, blood in your stool, persistent cramping, gas or abdominal pain.  Since colon cancer can grow for years without causing any symptoms, it’s best to get regular colon cancer screenings.


Almost all men and women age 50 and older should have a colon cancer screening. Screening tests can help prevent colorectal cancer by finding pre-cancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. For normal risk individuals, screening tests begin at age 50 and the preferred approach is a screening colonoscopy every 10 years; an alternate strategy consists of annual stool test for blood and a flexible sigmoidoscopic exam every 3 to 5 years.


Special screening programs are used for those with a family history of colorectal cancer. Colonoscopic surveillance (also called screening colonoscopy) needs to be available at more frequent intervals for individuals at high risk for colon cancer (for instance, those with a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps; family history of colorectal cancer; non-hereditary polyposis; colorectal cancer; or a pre-disposing condition such as inflammatory bowel disease. Since your genes cannot be changed, if there is a family history of colon polyps or cancer, a colonoscopy should be performed to remove the polyps before they become malignant.


In the area of prevention, researchers are looking at the effects of curcumin (found in curry), resveratrol (found in red wine), ginger and the Mediterranean diet on the growth and development of colon cancer. Recent research suggests that a high fiber, low-fat diet plays a role in prevention; how great a role it plays is unclear.   Although the exact cause of colorectal cancer is not known, it is believed that it is possible to prevent many colon cancers through:  diet and exercise.   Therefore, it is important to manage the risk factors you can control, such as diet and exercise.


Consciously improving one’s diet in most cases shall include a mental shift in attitude towards improving nutrition, removing toxins, returning the desired flora in your internal system, maintaining a balanced pH level in the body, and also improving the overall mind – body relationship.     An individual’s diet is considered to play an important role in possibly preventing the development of colon cancer. Diets that are high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables, such as those that include an abundance of red meat, fried foods, and high-fat dairy products, may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.


Exercise helps tie the mind – body relationship knot.   Participating in a regular exercise program is believed to reduce the risk of colon cancer.   Light to Moderate exercise is not only a way of getting the blood circulating in your body, it is a way for you to significantly reduce your stress levels.   Gentle, no-impact exercise is not only safe but extremely beneficial for people of all ages in that high levels of stress may increase one’s risk of cancer.    There are tons of exercise programs and plans out there to choose from that and there is an exercise program that will fit your life and personality.   One suggestion that we have is a regiment of daily walking for a minimum of 12-15 minutes a day as light exercise is known to be beneficial to the colon function.