Category Archives: Northern Westchester Hospital News

Detecting and Treating Colon Cancer

Posted on: March 3, 2017

Colon cancer remains the third most common cancer in both men and women. However, only one in three eligible Americans begin to be screened for colon cancer at the recommended age of fifty-years-old. What is stopping people from taking the lifesaving step of screening? Unscreened individuals may avoid the procedure out of fear of the unknown, or the patient may feel like they are not at risk. Here, I’ll explain the importance of screening and the exciting new developments in detecting and treating colon cancer. By Jerald Wishner MD, FACS, FASCRS, Director of the Minimally Invasive and Colorectal Surgery Program at Northern Westchester Hospital.

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Local vs. Organic Shopping

Posted on: February 27, 2017

Are you a health conscious consumer wondering whether it’s worth buying local or organic food? It’s a valid question without a simple answer. By Caryn Huneke, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

Let’s start with what the terms local and organic mean. While there are no government regulations defining “local,” it is generally referred to as food purchased or consumed within 100 miles of origin. However, this is a loose definition, as the concept of local is relative to where you live and your access to farms and fresh or salt-water sources. Local can be used to describe food produced anywhere within ten to 500 miles of your town, county, state, or general geographic region.

With organic, it’s a different matter. The National Organic Program (NOP) within the USDA strictly regulates which foods can bear the official USDA organic seal. To meet its standards, food must be free of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMOs, irradiation, nearly all conventional pesticides, and fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewer sludge.

For many, the greatest value of locally sourced foods is fewer “food miles” from source to consumption. As a result, food is fresher, often tastes better, may retain more vitamins and antioxidants (as foods lose nutrients over time), and has a much smaller carbon footprint. Shopping locally also supports fairer farm practices and the local economy.

The benefits of organic foods are also compelling. By choosing organic, you avoid unnecessary exposure to antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals. And because the NOP emphasizes sustainable agricultural practices and bans most pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, it’s environmentally friendly as well.

While choosing local or organic has many advantages, they are often more expensive, subject to faster spoilage due to using fewer (if any) artificial preservatives, and they’re harder to find. Furthermore, local produce is seasonal so you have fewer options, and organic foods may be linked to more foodborne illness outbreaks. Finally, the research is still inconclusive (and ongoing) as to whether organically vs conventionally produced foods have a superior nutritive value.

Ultimately, choosing to eat local or organic is based on many factors, including cost, access, and personal values, so there’s no absolute right answer. While eating locally-sourced, organic food may be the ideal for many, it’s most important to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. There’s no free pass for organic chips and cupcakes; they’re still junk food and should be eaten in moderation. And remember, it’s not all or nothing. Start by visiting your local farmers’ market or only buying organic fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue levels (hint: consult the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides).

What to Consider When Shopping, What’s Important to You?
• If health is your concern, pick organic over local to limit exposure to potential toxins.
• If you care about small business and the local economy, shop local at farmers’ markets, CSAs (community supported agriculture), or supermarkets that carry local farmers’ goods.
• If the environment concerns you, either one may be a good bet, but consider the overall carbon footprint. A local farm may use pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, but the energy spent shipping organic food across the country (or world) is often more harmful in the end.

Turnips and some mushrooms are still considered seasonal in February in New York – harvested in the fall but stored through winter, Try This Roasted Turnips and Mushrooms Recipe.


Ingredients: 1 pound baby turnips, halved
10 oz small white mushroom caps
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: Toss 1 pound halved baby turnips and 10 ounces small white mushroom caps on a baking sheet with 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the turnips cut-side down, then roast at 425 degrees F until golden and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe From The Food Network

Onions are also considered seasonal in New York in February, try this Baked Chicken and Onions Recipe (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients: 2 roasting chickens, cut up
Garlic Powder
1 large onion, sliced thin (or two small onions, sliced thin)
2 cups sweet wine

Directions: Put the chicken in a baking pan and sprinkle with garlic powder. Top chicken with onions and pour the wine over the chicken. Cover and bake at 350F for 90 minutes; then uncover and bake for another 30 minutes to get nice, crispy onions, and a lovely glazed skin.

Recipe from The Food Network

Radiation Therapy for Skin Cancer

Posted on: February 15, 2017

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 5.4 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year – making skin cancer the most common type of cancer. However, a range of treatment options combined with early detection makes skin cancer very treatable. Read on as I discuss radiation therapy, a non-invasive treatment option for skin cancer with a 90% success rate and typically, no reminder of treatment once the patient is cured. By Alfred Tinger, MD, FACRO, Chief of Radiation Oncology at Northern Westchester Hospital.

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Don’t Let a False Positive Prevent you from Getting your Annual Mammo

Posted on: February 9, 2017

A false positive screening mammogram is defined as a mammogram that results in calling back a patient for additional imaging. For every 1,000 women having a screening mammogram, 100 are called back for additional images, 20 of those are recommended to have a biopsy and 5 of these women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Reassuring a patient that the overwhelming majority of mammograms and even biopsies are normal can calm much of a woman’s anticipatory anxiety. By Stefanie Zalasin, MD Breast-imaging Specialist and Site Director of Yorktown Imaging at Northern Westchester Hospital.

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A Parent’s Guide to Cuts, Breaks, Bruises and Burns

Posted on: February 6, 2017

A parent’s worst nightmare – an accidental tumble during a snowball fight, or an unfortunate bout of curiosity with the stove during dinner time and your child runs into your arms, in pain and inconsolable. As parents, it is assumed that our job is to be the superhero and prevent our children from getting injured. Often though, our precious little ones bump into situations that we cannot prevent, despite our superhuman efforts to keep them safe. Imagine the life of a two-year-old: Your child has finally mastered the art of walking and there are endless new places to explore. Furniture, cabinets and staircases become the most interesting discoveries – worthy of thorough investigation. Supervision, attention and safety are important, but there are some injuries that are impossible to avoid. Here, I inform you about how to handle your children’s cuts, breaks, bruises and burns and when it’s time to seek emergency care. By Jim Dwyer, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Northern Westchester Hospital.

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