India Abroad April 25, 2014 A53 COMMUNITY NEWS
“Iwas diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008, at age 45. But I always think that if I had been screened earlier,
this nightmare would have been avoided,”
Sanjay Bery, a computer professional and
wealth management specialist, in Basking
Ridge, New Jersey, says.
Ever since his successful battle with cancer, Bery has been actively spreading
awareness about the disease.
In 2013, he was a model for a calendar
produced by the New York-based Colon
Club with 12 models, all survivors.
He was the only Indian featured on
NBC’s Today Show special on colon cancer
survival this March.
“Colon cancer is one of the few cancers
that is preventable. Screening for people
above the age of 50 and earlier for those
with a family history, will help them avoid
the nightmare,” he added.
Bery is a board member of the nonprofit
Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation, which
organizes a 15k/4k race in New York to create awareness and raise funds every year.
This year about 3,500 people participat-
ed in the event held in March. Bery and his
family organized a team Bery Colon Cancer
Helpers for the event and raised about
Despite research showing that colorectal
cancer screening tests save lives, screening
rates in the United States are low for
Americans and one of the lowest among
“The screening rate overall for the US
population (all individuals age 50 and up)
is actually 56 percent. For Asian Americans
it is only 48 percent. South Asians are
worse off when it comes to getting screened
for colon cancer,” Edwin Chandrasekar,
executive director, Chicago-based Asian
Health Coalition, said.
“The most recent research conducted
among South Asians (age 50 and over) in
Chicago found that only 8 percent had
received a blood stool test and 13.6 percent
had received a colonoscopy. These statistics
are alarmingly low compared to the 48 per-
cent screening for all Asian Americans.”
According to the National Cancer
Institute, colorectal cancer is estimated to
be the second-leading cause of cancer
deaths of men and women in the US in
2012 — second only to lung cancer.
A community-academic research project,
The Partnership for Healthier Asians,
recently released a community report to
“Having developed an evidence-based
colorectal health education and screening
program back in 2012 for Chicago’s Asian
community, this project explores effective
ways to disseminate colorectal cancer
health information and increase screening
participation rates for the target groups
who have a majority of foreign-born and
limited English-speaking older Asian
Americans,” Chandrasekar said.
“Our collaboration utilizes community-
based participatory research approaches to
engage both community members and
physician researchers to actively partici-
pate in the full spectrum of this project
from designing the scope of work, to ana-
lyzing, interpreting, and communicating
Get screened for
colon cancer, avoid the
Ever since his successful battle with cancer,
Sanjay Bery, center, has been actively spreading
awareness about the disease.
Over 750 doctors and entrepreneurs attended the 6th annual Scarlet Night gala of the South Asian Heart Center, recent- ly in California.
Dr Tony Nader, head of the Worldwide Transcendental
Meditation organization, was the keynote speaker at the event. He
explained how incorporating transcendental meditation into daily
life could help reduce the risk of heart disease.
‘Research on human physiology and the nervous system had been
done mainly from the perspective of physiology of the human body.
But what about the consciousness of the mind?’ Dr Nader asked.
‘Of course, we have psychology and psychiatrists, but in terms of
disease and social consulting, but I knew through my personal
practice of transcendental education that there is something that
we can do from the level of the mind that has a powerful effect on
the physiology,’ he said.
Dr Nader, who has a medical degree in internal medicine and
earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
told India Abroad that transcendental medication or mental yoga
helps improve people’s behavior and health and mental functioning
and prevents many factors that can cause heart disease.
“Meditation is an innocent technology that allows the mind to
settle down and then create a very profound effect on the body,” he
Ashish Mathur, co-founder, executive director, South Asian
Heart Center, also explained the benefits of meditation.
“We have been utilizing transcendental meditation as an evi-
dence-based lifestyle approach to help reduce the incidence of
heart disease, lower blood pressure, and help in health and longevi-
ty,” he said.
SAHC, which has been working with the El Camino Hospital
until, also announced a partnership agreement with the Palo Alto
Medical Foundation that would further their efforts of screening
the low-income population for risks of heart disease and diabetes.
“We are engaging the community to contribute to the cause and
address this health disparity across many dimensions. First as a
participant in our prevention efforts, then as a volunteer giving
back to a cause and finally as a donor helping save lives,” Mathur
Dr Ronesh Sinha, an internal medicine specialist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and
author of The South Asian Health
Solution distributed 400 copies of the
book at the gala.
He told India Abroad that the book
targeted people of Indian origin — a
population identified as being at the
highest risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and related conditions.
“I wrote the book after starting my
medical practice a decade ago in
Silicon Valley. I was overwhelmed by
how many high risk Indian-American
patients I was seeing in my clinic,” he
said. “Many of them had been following standard US guidelines, which for
them were ineffective. The resources
750 attend South Asian Heart
Center’s annual gala
risk of heart
disease in desis
Ashish Mathur, co-founder and
executive director, South Asian
Heart Center, speaks at the event.