Diseases & Conditions


Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs. In New York State (NYS), more than 1.1 million adults have asthma. Asthma occurs at any age but is more common in children than adults. In Niagara County the adult rate for asthma is 9.4%. The population with the highest asthma rate in Niagara County is children between the ages of 0-4 years. Nationally, nearly one in 13 school-age children have asthma, and that rate is rising more rapidly in preschool-aged children and those living in urban inner cities than in any other group. Although there is no cure for asthma, asthma attacks can be prevented and controlled with proper care. New York is actively working with health care providers, community coalitions, schools, families and many others to fight asthma so people with asthma can live a full and active life.

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Breast cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in New York State.

Each year, about 13,800 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 3,000 women die from this disease in New York State. It is estimated that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime during her life. Female breast cancer accounts for 13.9% of cancer cases and 8.3% of cancer deaths in Niagara County.

Men also get breast cancer, but it is very rare. About 150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in New York State.

Early detection is the key. Regular self breast exams, clinical breast exams and mammograms can detect cancer in its early stages and may produce better treatment outcomes.

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Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is one of the most common cancers among New Yorkers. Colorectal cancers account for 13% of cancer cases and 10.8% of cancer deaths in Niagara County.

The colon and rectum are part of the body's digestive system. The colon (large intestine) and rectum (the last 7-8 inches of the intestines) absorb water and eliminate waste products from digestion.

Nationally, excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women. In New York, about 5,500 men and 5,800 women develop cancer of the colon and rectum each year. About 2,000 men and 2,100 women die from this disease annually in New York State. It is estimated that one in 18 people will develop colorectal cancer sometime during their life. It is recommended that men and women aged 50 and older be tested for colorectal cancers with an FOBT kit (Fecal Occult Blood Test) or colonoscopy.

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Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make any insulin or can't use the insulin it does make as well as it should. Insulin is a hormone made in the body. It helps glucose (sugar) from food enter the cells where it can be used to give the body energy. Without insulin, glucose remains in the blood stream and cannot be used for energy by the cells. Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause many health problems. The incidence of diabetes is rising rapidly due to obesity, lack of physical activity and unhealthy diets. In Niagara County the rate of diabetes is higher than the New York State rate. Some risk factors for diabetes include obesity, being overweight, and a family history of diabetes.

Resources are available at all Niagara County Hospitals regarding diabetes. Below is a grid of diabetes resources at hospitals in Niagara County.


  DeGraff Memorial Hospital Eastern Niagara Hospital Mount St. Mary's Hospital Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
Outpatient Classes Yes, 12 per year. (they alternate each month between 9-12 and 6-9)


Yes, once a month. (three 3-hour sessions or one 8-hour session)


Yes, 12 per year (monthly, varied morning, afternoon and evening)
Support Groups   n/a Yes, monthly – Third Tuesday of the month at 6:30pm  
Community Education Nutrition Counseling and Education Nutrition Counseling and Education

Weight management programs--customized programs offered periodically and upon request. Nutrition programs Printed materials, available to the community. 2 community seminars or workshops per year

Availability of exercise equipment, fitness center in the cardiac rehab center
Contact Information

Call hospital at (716) 690-2005

Lockport Site:
Robin Dulniak               (716) 514-5688

Heather Mendyk, RD, CDN
(716) 778-5071 ext. 4220
Diane Petrizzo, RN, BSN
Debra Hoffman, MA, RD, CDE Clinical Diabetes Educator
(716) 298-2297

Mary Degnan, MS, RD, CDN Diabetes Educator (716) 278-4360
Jessica Masterson, RD CDN CDE
(716) 278-4102
 Website  http://degraff.kaleidahealth.org/  www.enhs.org  www.msmh.org  www.nfmmc.org


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Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading cause of death in the United States despite improvements in prevention, detection, and treatment. CVD is no longer thought of as a disease that primarily affects men as they age. It is a killer of people in the prime of life, with more than half of all deaths occurring among women. Niagara County has one of the highest rates of incidence and mortality of cardiovascular disease in the United States.

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Viral hepatitis is an infection that affects the liver. There are at least six different types of hepatitis (A-G), with the three most common types being hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Hepatitis A is an acute infection and people usually improve without treatment. Hepatitis B is the most common liver infection in the world and is 100 times more infectious than the AIDS virus. It is transmitted through blood and body fluid contacts with an infected person. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause a chronic, persistent infection, which can lead to chronic liver disease. Fortunately, there is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis A and B, however there is not one for hepatitis C.

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HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus. You may hear that someone is "HIV infected", "has HIV infection", or "has HIV disease." These are all terms that mean the person has HIV in his or her body and can pass the virus to other people.

HIV attacks the body's immune system. The immune system protects the body from infections and disease, but has no clear way to protect it from HIV. Over time, most people infected with HIV become less able to fight off the germs that we are all exposed to every day. Many of these germs do not usually make a healthy person sick, but they can cause life-threatening infections and cancers in a person whose immune system has been weakened by HIV.


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a late stage of HIV disease. There are medications that have helped people living with HIV or AIDS live longer, healthier lives. Some people have lived for more than 20 years and have taken medicines for more than 10 years. But, there is no cure.


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Human Papillomavirus (HPV, genital or venereal warts)

Human Papillomas virus is one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the United States. Some strains of the virus cause warts on the hands and feet while other strains cause warts in the genital area of both men and women. Research has shown that 99.7% of cervical cancers are caused by the HPV infection. It is estimated that 20 million people in the U.S. are infected with HPV and 6 million new cases are diagnosed each year. A vaccine develop to protect against the cancer causing strains linked to HPV is available to females aged 9-19. It can be obtained from health care providers.

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Obesity Prevention

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions both in New York and across the nation. While most epidemics can be defeated with a pill or a vaccine, obesity requires people to change the way they eat and live, and in many ways is much harder to successfully defeat. Obesity is a risk factor for other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and some cancers. In Niagara County 60.1% of adults are either overweight or obese, putting them at risk for other chronic diseases. Children who are overweight or obese also raise their risk for diabetes and heart diseases.

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Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer can develop in one or both ovaries. About 1 in 55 women is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her lifetime (compared to 1 in 8 diagnosed with breast cancer). However, because ovarian cancer is often not discovered until it has spread beyond the ovary, it is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the U.S. (after lung, breast, colon and pancreatic cancer). Diagnosis at an early stage greatly increases a woman's chance of survival. It is therefore critical that both women and their health care providers recognize the symptoms of this disease.

Ovarian Cancer is the type of cancer that begins in the ovaries and often goes undetected until it has spread. Women should talk with their health care provider to assess their risk and learn about the symptoms for ovarian cancer. Niagara County has the 3rd highest incidence and mortality rates for ovarian cancer in Western New York. For more information contact the WNY Ovarian Cancer Project at wnyovariancancerproject.org.

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Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 700,000 to 750,000 new or recurrent strokes occur each year in the United States. A stroke occurs when blood vessels become blocked in the brain. Time is an important factor in the outcome of a stroke. Once symptoms occur immediate medical attention should be sought.

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