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New Hyde Park event will offer free cancer screenings

Dr. Thomas Mathew, left, talks about free cancer

Dr. Thomas Mathew, left, talks about free cancer screenings on Sunday, May 8, 2016, that South Asian organizations will hold in New Hyde Park later this month. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

South Asian organizations will hold free cancer screenings in New Hyde Park this month to help those in the immigrant community and anyone else.

“In immigrant communities like ours, [people] are reluctant to go for screening,” Thomas Mathew, a doctor and executive director of ECHO USA Inc., an East Meadow nonprofit, said Sunday at a news conference. Mathew, who is South Asian, said cancers often aren’t detected until they are in their later phases, when treatment becomes more difficult.

“That’s the importance why we need to screen people in the earlier phases so we can take care of them and treat them,” Mathew said.

ECHO USA is partnering with the East Meadow-based Indian Nurses Association of New York to hold the screenings at “cancer awareness camp” on May 22 at the Hillside Family Care Center in New Hyde Park. About 15 doctors will provide screenings including mammograms for breast cancer, as well as screenings for lung cancer, blood cancers and prostate cancer. They will schedule colonoscopies, the screening procedure for colon cancer. The screenings are free for low-income individuals.

“There’s a lot of people who are not financially able to do these screenings and physicals, and we have this one opportunity for them,” Mathew said.

They will also offer workshops and seminars to talk to experts about cancer and cancer survivors about treatment. In addition to Western medicine, they will offer yoga, Pranic Healing — an energy healing practice — and meditation.

“We’re trying to have a more holistic approach to health care,” said Nilesh Mehta, a gastroenterologist who will perform colonoscopies.

Mehta, who practices in New Hyde Park, said patients often seek medical care later than they should, when there are fewer treatment options.

“We found that in the community we felt needed to have a dialogue with people,” Mehta said.

Usha George, president of the nurses association, said raising awareness was important to detect cancers early, while there are better treatment options.

“Here the lifestyle is busy, we forget to take care of ourselves,” George said.

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