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Our hospitals, emergency departments and ambulatory sites are open to serve the community.

All our facilities are clean, safe and ready for you to get the care you need. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor’s office. If you need help finding a doctor, call 1-800-MD-MONTE (800-636-6683).

We are happy to welcome visitors to Montefiore and we appreciate your patience, understanding and cooperation.

More details on our increased Visitation Program Guidelines »

Monoclonal Antibody Therapy at Montefiore

Studies show that when monoclonal antibodies are given intravenously to high-risk people diagnosed early with COVID-19, they may prevent them from experiencing severe symptoms that lead to hospitalizations. Montefiore currently offers monoclonal antibody therapy at our infusion suite.

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Dr. Alia Hasham, Director of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program and Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology at Montefiore-Einstein, discusses colorectal cancer symptoms, risk, and screening options available during COVID-19.

Why is it important to get screened for colorectal cancer? Dr. Alia Hasham, Director of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program and Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology at Montefiore-Einstein, discusses colorectal cancer symptoms, how to reduce your risk, the different types of COVID-SAFE screening options available and what to know about screenings during the COVID-19 era.

Transcript

STAY STRONG

- Is Colorectal cancer screening recommended during the COVID-19 era?

- Colorectal cancer is one of the more preventable cancers therefore screening is essential and should not be delayed. Importantly, some may not demonstrate any signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer which is why screening is so important. Our healthcare team at Montefiore cares about every patient's safety and comfort and should know that careful steps and precautions are being taken to ensure a safe and comfortable environment when they have their colonoscopy such as designated patient treatment areas, rigorous cleaning and use of masks. Patients should talk to their healthcare providers to discuss the different screening options available to them. While there are specific recommendations to start screening based on age and/or family history of colorectal cancer even without any symptoms, if anyone is having signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer including blood in the stools, change in their bowel habits, abdominal pain, weight loss or anemia in their blood work, they should talk to their healthcare provider to make sure they have the appropriate testing done.

- Why is it important to be screened for colorectal cancer?

- Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in men and women combined. Colorectal cancer is highly preventable and curable if detected early. Getting screened for colorectal cancer allows for the detection and removal of precancerous growths or polyps on the inner lining of the colon or rectum before they can develop into cancer. Screening will also help detect pre-cancer and cancerous polyps that may be at an earlier stage therefore improving the chances of successful treatment. Therefore, early detection is key. The risk for colorectal cancer appears to increase after the age of 50. However, amongst those aged 50 to 75 years, approximately one in three adults still have never been screened. What is concerning is that more recent studies are showing that colorectal cancer is being diagnosed in those younger than age 50 at a rate of approximately one to 2% per year. While the exact reasons for the rise in early onset colorectal cancer are unclear, diet, sedentary lifestyle, positive family history and/or lack of awareness of the symptoms for colorectal cancer may be contributing factors.

- What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

- Some patients especially with pre-cancerous polyps or in the earlier stages of colorectal cancer may not have any signs or symptoms which is why screening is important even if you are feeling well. However, if you have any of the following signs or symptoms, you should inform your doctor to discuss further testing. These include change in bowel habits, blood in the stools, abdominal pain and/or unexplained weight loss.

- What age is screening recommended and what are the screening options for colorectal cancer?

- The goal of screening is to detect precancerous polyps and prevent colorectal cancer. Most expert groups recommend starting to screen at the age of 50. However, some including the American Cancer Society recommend beginning at age 45 considering the rise in early onset colorectal cancer cases. Due to higher rates of colorectal cancer in certain ethnic groups, experts also recommend that African Americans begin screening at age 45. However, if you have any symptoms or a positive family history of colorectal cancer, you should discuss this with your doctor as you may need to be screened at a younger age. There are multiple ways to be screened for colorectal cancer including visual based testing such as a colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy which uses a thin flexible tube to examine your colon and rectum. This procedure will also allow for the removal of polyps if they are found. Virtual or CT colonography is another alternative that uses x-ray images to examine your colon and rectum and also look for polyps. Stool based testing is another option that can be done in the comfort of your own home which looks for occult or hidden blood in your stool sample. Colonoscopy is the preferred test. However, it is important to be aware of the different options available to you. Your doctor may recommend a certain test be done based on your overall health and your preference. If you do have a test other than a colonoscopy such as a stool test and have an abnormal or positive result, this should be followed by a colonoscopy.

- What are some tips that may help reduce your risk from colorectal cancer?

- There are some healthy habits that may help lower your risk of colorectal cancer. These include maintaining a healthy body weight, increasing your physical activity such as trying to limit the amount of time sitting or lying down and depending on your physical health, taking the stairs and incorporating more walking into your day. You could also try to increase your intake of dietary fiber including fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Also, reducing your intake of red meat and processed meats. These include beef, lamb and luncheon meats such as pre-packaged lunch meats including ham or turkey. You should also try to stop smoking and avoid or limit your intake of alcoholic beverages. If you do consume alcohol, try to limit it to one to two drinks per day. You should also speak to your family and find out if there's anyone with colon polyps or colorectal cancer as this may place you at an increased risk.

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Dr. Charles Esenwa,  Montefiore’s Medical Director at the Comprehensive Center for Stroke Care, discussing strokes and COVID-19.

Why are some COVID-19 patients having strokes? Montefiore’s Medical Director at the Comprehensive Center for Stroke Care, Dr. Charles Esenwa, explains why some COVID-19 patients experience strokes, who is most at risk and what causes these COVID-19-associated strokes.

Transcript

- What we've noticed in COVID-19 is that there's about a 1% risk of patients suffering a stroke while they're infected with COVID-19. And before we talk about the specifics, I think it's really important to define what a stroke is. In order to do that, I have a model of a brain here, and as you can see, the model has all of these folds, and each one of these is responsible for doing something. So for example, this part of the brain and this fold specifically here controls movement of one side of the body. This fold, for example, controls speech or language. Now, if a blood vessel that supplies this part of the brain is blocked off, and that part of the brain is not receiving blood, that's exactly what a stroke is, and that is the definition of a stroke. Now, in COVID-19, we've noticed that the patients who we're treating and who are coming in with strokes tend to be younger. And what I mean by that is, the typical age for a stroke is anywhere in the 60s and 70s, but we've encountered a lot of patients who come in in their 40s and more so in their 50s. The other difference is that COVID-associated stroke or patients with COVID-associated stroke are less likely to have what we call traditional risk factors. And what I mean by that are the typical risk factors that we think of, like hypertension or high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol. Patients with COVID-associated stroke are younger, and they're less likely to have these traditional risk factors. Now, the good news is that, as I said earlier, stroke seems to affect a very, very small percent of people with COVID-19, and that's less than 1%. But we are still working on trying to decipher why it is that COVID affects the younger and also more healthy individuals. What we're starting to come to, however, is that, with COVID-19 infection and with the pneumonia that people suffer, they also have a heightened inflammatory state in their body. And what I mean by inflammatory state is that the body is trying to fight off the virus. And in doing that, all of the chemicals and things in the blood that help in that fight can make people more likely to develop clots. And when people develop clots in their blood, those clots can lodge themselves and block off critical arteries that supply the brain, hence, leading to a stroke. If somebody with COVID-19 starts to experience symptoms of a stroke, the most important thing to do is to call 911 immediately. During the COVID-19 surge, we actually measured how many patients with stroke came to the hospital, and it was about a 50% drop in the number of patients that we were able to treat for their stroke. This is an important thing to talk about, because we don't want people staying at home with stroke symptoms. And if they were to come to the hospital, we could potentially treat them and limit any long-term disability that they would otherwise have from their stroke. Now, here at the Montefiore Comprehensive Center for Stroke Care, the first comprehensive stroke center from Northern Manhattan to Albany, and one of only 200 such centers nationwide, we treat mild strokes, all the way out to the most severe strokes, but we only have about 4 1/2 hours to do that. And we know that the quicker people come to the hospital, the less likely they will have long-term disability from stroke. And that's true, no matter if they have COVID-19 or not. The quicker we can treat, the better people will do in the long run. Early on, ahead of the COVID-19 surge, we implemented measures to prevent COVID-19 infection in people coming into the hospital for emergencies, like stroke. Those measures have remained in place today, including COVID-free zones for treatment.

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COVID-19 Symptoms

People with COVID‑19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Individuals experiencing these symptoms or combination of symptoms may have COVID‑19:

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Cover Coughs

Cough

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Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


Or at least two of the symptoms below:

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Fever

Fever

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Chills

Chills

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Repeated shaking with chills

Repeated shaking with chills

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Muscle Pain

Muscle pain

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Headache

Headache

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Sore Throat

Sore throat

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New loss of taste or smell

New loss of taste or smell

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Diarrhea

Diarrhea


This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Care doesn’t stop

To ensure the safety of all our patients, we’ve implemented rigorous COVID-SAFE Care protocols, tailored to each setting.

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Covid-safe Care

Your Gratitude Keeps Us Going

The current outpouring of appreciation for New York's healthcare workers has been truly humbling. Our community's grace and optimism in the face of hardship inspires us every day. To all those who have cheered and honored our heroes, and to the many who are giving to support our COVID-19 efforts, Montefiore-Einstein would like to thank you. To those who would like to show their support, here's how.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread by people in close contact (approximately within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also possible to contract the virus by touching an infected surface or item and then touching the nose, eyes or mouth. The virus may be able to live on a surface for a prolonged period of time.

Protect Yourself
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Wash Hands
Wash hands frequently with soap
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Avoid Touching eyes and mouth
Avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth
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Seek Care
Seek care if you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath
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Avoid Close Contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
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Distance
Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet
Protect Others
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Stay Home
Stay home if you’re unwell
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Cover coughs and sneezes
Cover coughs and sneezes
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Clean and disinfect surfaces
Clean and disinfect surfaces
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Mask
Use a face covering when leaving the home for essentials
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Distance
Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet

Trusted Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The leading national public health institute of the United States
 

NY.gov

For the latest COVID-19 guidelines and information from New York State 

World Health Organization

UN agency responsible for international public health