Health & Wellness

Press Releases

Atlantic Health System Unites with the American Cancer Society in the Fight Against Colorectal Cancer


Atlantic Health System (AHS), a leading health care delivery network, announced today the organization’s commitment to increase colorectal cancer screening in New Jersey by joining ‘80% by 2018’ - a national effort of the American Cancer Society in the fight against the disease. 

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women. In 2017, there will be an estimated 95,520 new cases of colon cancer and 39,910 cases of rectal cancer diagnosed in the U.S.

The national percentage of adults 50 and older that are up-to-date with recommended colorectal cancer screening was 65 percent in 2010. 

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“This announcement marks Atlantic Health System’s commitment to achieve an 80 percent screening rate for colorectal cancer by 2018,” said Brian Gragnolati, President & CEO.  “New Jersey ranks 30th out of 50 states for screening rates.  Our role in this initiative and collaboration with community partners will increase screenings and ultimately, save lives.” 

Colorectal cancer incidence rates continue to decline in people 50 and older, dropping by 32 percent just since 2000. 

“This trend is thought to be largely a result of screening, which can prevent colorectal cancer by detecting and removing precancerous polyps,” said Eric Whitman, MD, medical director, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care.  “If caught early, colorectal cancer is highly curable, but advanced disease remains difficult to treat. Adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for colorectal cancer,” added Whitman.

In a stark contrast to the colorectal cancer incidence trends in those 50 and older, incidence rates among people younger than 50 continue to rise, increasing by 22 percent from 2000 to 2013. While the reasons for the increase have yet to be confirmed, factors thought to play a role include increasing rates of excess body weight, as well as changes in lifestyle patterns that precipitated the obesity epidemic, like unhealthy dietary patterns and a sedentary lifestyle.

Despite dramatic reductions in overall colorectal cancer incidence and mortality, striking disparities by age, race, and tumor subsite remain. That's according to the latest edition of Colorectal Cancer Statistics and its companion publication, Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2017-2019, published every three years by the American Cancer Society. 

The hospitals and physicians of Atlantic Health System Cancer Care - Morristown, Overlook, Chilton, Newton and Hackettstown medical centers, as well as Atlantic Medical Group - have expanded access to screenings and partnered with local community organizations to raise awareness about the importance of regular screening.   


Upcoming events include:

Basking Ridge

  • Wednesday, March 29, 6:00 to 7:30pm, “Preventing Colorectal Cancer: What You Should Know About Diet, Environment and Personalized Screening” with Razvan Arsenescu, MD, Morristown Medical Center; Lawrence Harrison, MD; Morristown Medical Center; and Thangamani Seenivasan, MD, Somerset Medical Center at the Bernards Towship Health Department, 262 South Finley Avenue, Basking Ridge.  For information or to register, call 908-204-2520 or

Pompton Plains

  • Wednesday, March 22, 10:00am to 11:00am, “Colon Health Update” with Joshua Nochumson, MD, Chilton Medical Center, 97 West Parkway, Collins Pavilion, Pompton Plains. For information or to register, call 973-831-5367 or email


  • Thursday, March 23, 6:00pm to 7:30pm, “Preventing Colorectal Cancer: What You Should Know About Diet, Environment and Personalized Screening” with Morristown Medical Center staff members Razvan Arsenescu, MD; Lawrence Harrison, MD; Jessica Heinzmann, certified genetic counselor; and Mary-Giselle Ulbrich, registered dietician at Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion, 333 Mount Hope Avenue, Rockaway. For more information or to register, visit Classes and Events at

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Sparta Police: Traffic Stop Ends with Weed Arrest

March 22, 2018

SPARTA, NJ-  A man from Monroe, stopped for having an expired registration for his red four door Chevrolet ended up facing drug charges.  On March 17 around 2:13 p.m. Sparta Cpl. Dan Elig pulled over Mark Kern, 25, police report.

When the officer spoke with Kern he smelled burnt marijuana.  Kern admitted to Elig there was a half smoked marijuana cigarette in the car, which he ...

Sparta Police Scoop Up Three on Outstanding Warrants

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta Police Officers have picked up three people on outstanding warrants recently in unrelated traffic stops.

On March 20, around 7:30 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Erick Finley stopped 25-year-old Newark resident Crystal Dejesus for a broken tail light on her silver Toyota.  Finley found Dejesus had an outstanding warrant from Alpine Municipal Court, police ...

Sparta Police: Car Crash Leads to Warrant Arrest

SPARTA, NJ –  A car going too fast for the snowy road conditions crashed on Route 15.  No one was injured in the one car crash but the driver, Melvin Pineda-Castro of Plainfield, 27, was taken into custody.  On March 13 around 6:30 a.m. Sparta Police Officer Ben Griffin arrived at the scene, according to police.

Pineda-Castro had lost control of his black Honda CRV, hit ...

Mis-management At Presby Threatens the Future of the Garden

March 22, 2018

Dear Editor,

It is with concern that I bring this subject to the attention to all who care and treasure the Presby Memorial Iris Garden, which along with the cherry trees of Branch Brook Park is one of the crown jewels of the Essex County Park System.  This historic garden founded 90 years ago by Frank Presby on  Upper Mt. Ave. is known internationally for its collection which ...


March 11, 2018



Republican Freeholder Candidates, Dawn Fantasia and Josh Hertzberg commended the District 24 Legislators for taking action in the wake of the horrific school shooting that took the lives of 17 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.   


Senator Oroho, Assemblyman Space and ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 24, 9:30 AM

Sparta Recreation Department, Sparta

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, March 24, 10:30 AM

Dykstra Park, Sparta

UNICO Easter Egg Hunt

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

McKenna Hall, Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Sparta

Night with NJ Giants #53 Harry Carson Beefsteak


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

Perona Farms, Sparta

Trout Unlimited Annual Fund Raising Banquet

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Fri, April 13, 5:00 PM

Sparta High School Auditorium, Sparta

2nd Annual Jazz Festival at Sparta High School

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, April 14, 9:00 AM


Jr Lions Football - Meet & Greet

Education Sports

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Newton’s Spring Street Turned Green for a Day for St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 19, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—Despite the semi-chilly weather, residents from Newton, Sparta, Andover, Green, and all over Sussex County gathered on Spring Street, dressed in green for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

This year was Sussex County’s 15th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and had over 941 people marching in it, 79 vehicles, six floats and about 45 animals.

The ...

6 Easy Ways to Increase Zzzz’s During National Sleep Awareness Month and Beyond!

Team Nest Builder knows sleep deprivation leads to a myriad of problems, so we’re here to help you make your New Jersey home bedrooms the havens you deserve! Take a look at these simple ideas for increasing your zzzzz’s:

Soften Up

Employ a large area rug that covers the entire room to help absorb sound and enhance comfort.

Feeling Blue

According to a study by Travelodge, ...

4 Top Reasons NOW Is A Great Time To Buy A New Jersey Home

Team Nest Builder offers four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting:

Prices Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.  The bottom in home prices came and left. Home values will ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


The Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders March 14 2018 meeting video

NEWTON, NJ - The Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders March 14 2018 meeting video.


Town of Newton Flushing Hydrants

March 22, 2018

NEWTON, NJ-  The Town of Newton will be flushing hydrants for the water customers in Sparta and Andover on Saturday, March 24 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Newton water customers hydrants will be flushed on Sunday, March 25 through Friday, March 30 between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.