Coming Full Circle by Maria Dorfner

Meet Gregory Oliver.

In 1954, five-year-old Gregory Oliver is stricken with polio.  He is rushed to Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in Plainfield, New Jersey, where an iron lung keeps him alive for months.  He survives.

Twenty years later, Oliver attends medical school in Washington, D.C., where he stays on to do his surgical training.  His area of interest is colorectal surgery.  A surgeon encourages Oliver to apply to a hospital in New Jersey because they have one of the best colorectal training programs in the world.

Little did Oliver know the program is at Muhlenberg Regonal Medical Center, where he spent months in as  a young child.  Oliver says it took “all of a second” to make a decision in 1988.

Today, Gregory C. Oliver, M.D. is president of the hospital. Yes, president.  He is also a Board Certified colon and rectal surgeon.  The hospital ranks number one in training programs for colorectal surgery throughout the U.S.

Oliver says, “It really is important that all people be screened, even if they don’t have symptoms. It’s the key to preventing colorectal cancer.  Muhlenberg was there for me when I needed them most in 1954.  I hope to be there for other people now.”

He’s come full circle.

I recently learned on Quora that Deepak Chopra is following me. His bio says he did a clinical internship at Muhlenberg Regional Hospital in Plainfield, NJ right after immigrating to the U.S. in ’70.   I lived there 10 years, and helped raise over $10M for their nursing school, now located in JFK Medical center.  I met Gregory Oliver through Plainfield, NJ neighbors.

Chopra’s book, The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success is an absolute little gem and favorite read of mine since the ’90’s.

Small world. Stay healthy, everyone! -Maria 🙂


Gregory Oliver as a child



Are Nuts Good Medicine for Colorectal Cancer? May 17, 2017

  • 8 Colon Cancer Risk Factors Everyone Needs to Know About
    BY Jenn Sinrich
    May 19, 2017

    Colon cancer is a serious diagnosis. Do you know how to recognize it early on?

    Though colon cancer remains one of the leading causes of cancer death in America, the good news is the overall rates have been declining among patients who are over 50 years old.

    But recent studies, including one in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, have shown a rise in colorectal cancer among patients between 20 and 30 years old.

    And the actual diagnosis is just part of the problem.

    “Another issue is these younger patients with colorectal cancer run the risk of getting diagnosed later in the course of their disease when the cancer may be untreatable,” Cedrek McFadden, M.D., double board certified colorectal surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, said in an interview with The Cheat Sheet.

    “This happens because doctors don’t typically consider colorectal cancers high in their diagnosis for symptoms at such a young age.” Instead, they may assume symptoms may be related to hemorrhoids.

    Most people are supposed to start screenings around age 50, however, several risk factors may encourage your doctor to recommend you start earlier. Here are eight colon cancer risks to keep on your radar.

    1. Age
    Aged patient receives the visit of a female black doctor
    Your risk goes up as you age.
    While it is possible for colon cancer to occur at any age, your chances of developing it increase dramatically after the age of 45.

  • According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, 95% of all colorectal cancers occur in patients older than 45.
  • Dr. Thomas Imperiale, a gastroenterologist based in Indiana, tells us the risk just about doubles each decade going forward from age 50 to 80.
  • The number one way you can protect yourself is to get screened regularly after age 50, unless you have a family or personal history that requires you to get screened sooner.2. Race or ethnicityRace can make a surprising difference in terms of risk.Though researchers are still trying to determine the reasons why, race does seem to play a role in risk for colon cancer.

    African Americans have the highest risk of developing colorectal cancer — 20% higher than non-African Americans, McFadden says.

    The reason for this finding is unclear, but possible causes include biologic or genetic links or even lower screening rates,” he added.

  • According to Cancer.Net, this increased risk is evident for both black men and women. Because of this increased risk, screening for African Americans may begin at age 45.3. Personal or family history
    Family history plays a big role in how likely you are to get colon cancer.Having a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps may increase a patient’s risk, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

    Because of this, patients must undergo aggressive and more frequent screening.

    “More specifically, patients who have a previous personal history of genetic inherited syndromes, such as FAP, familial adenomatous polyposis, or Lynch syndrome, just to name a few, have an exponentially high risk when compared to the average population in developing colon cancer along with high risk of developing another type of cancer elsewhere in the body,” said Samir Shah, M.D., who specializes in colon cancer and colorectal surgery.

    4. Inflammatory intestinal conditions

    Have IBS? You may need to start screenings earlier on.

    Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, may develop chronic inflammation of the large intestine, which Cancer.Net says increases their risk of colorectal cancer.

    Extensive colitis from these diseases can increase the risk five- to 15-fold compared to the general population,” Dr. McFadden said. He advises patients with these diseases to work with their primary care provider to ensure they have access to more intense colonoscopies that can fully evaluate the presence of precancerous polyps.

    5. Gender

    Men are mores susceptible.

    For unknown reasons, men have a slightly higher risk of developing colon cancer than women.

  • According to Imperiale, it’s about 80% higher than women at the same age, which could be due to a number of undocumented and under-researched factors like lifestyle or diet tendencies.Still, the recommended age for screening is 50.So, regardless of your gender, you should speak with your doctor about when you should begin annual screenings.6. Obesity
    Woman trying to close jeans button with difficult from fat
    Carrying around too much weight makes you more likely to get cancer. |

    Being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle increases a person’s risk for cancer and diseases of all kinds, including colon cancer.

    “There may be an increased risk with weight gain between early adulthood and midlife as opposed to between midlife and older adulthood,” explained McFadden.

    “Clearly, maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial to the patient in decreasing the risk of colorectal cancer.”


  • Colorectal Cancer Symptoms (



Broadcast Journalist, Maria Dorfner


Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD. This is her blog.