Local Woman Faces Fears, Finds Life-Saving Help at Community Medical Center
When Janice Inkrote was affected by severe stomach pain last July, fear
was her biggest enemy. It kept her from seeking help for several weeks,
just as it had prevented her from having a recommended colonoscopy years
earlier. But when the 51-year-old was referred to Community Medical Center
(CMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, by CMC attending board-certified
gastroenterologist/hepatologist Paul J. DeMartino, M.D., FACG, she found
the courage to confront her worries and get the life-saving treatment
“My brother and father have Crohn’s disease [a chronic bowel
condition], so I was afraid I would have it, too,” says the Manchester
woman. “I should have had a colonoscopy much sooner because of my
After about a month of stabbing pain and diarrhea, Janice went to her family
doctor, who ordered a series of tests including a colonoscopy. When bloodwork
and ultrasound images of her bladder and kidneys came back normal, Dr.
DeMartino arranged the colonoscopy immediately.
Following the procedure, Dr. DeMartino informed Janice and her husband
that a tumor in the sigmoid colon (the part that connects to the rectum)
was discovered, requiring surgical resection. Since she was already “prepped,”
Dr. DeMartino advised her to be admitted to CMC and undergo surgery as
soon as possible since she would not have to undergo another laxative
“I decided to go for it!” says the wife and mother, who works
as a secretary for the Manchester Township Transportation Department.
Within hours, Janice was in the operating room undergoing her life-saving surgery.
Janice’s confidence grew even stronger after speaking to her surgeon,
Howard Berger, M.D., chairman of CMC’s Department of Surgery.
“He’s a wonderful doctor. Once again, I went for it!”
Dr. Berger removed the large tumor, along with 18 inches of her colon (large
intestine). She healed “extremely well,” and was discharged
from the hospital within four days of admission.
While the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes, it was considered “stage
2.” Due to Janice’s age and family history, Dr. Berger recommended
she see a medical oncologist.
Janice met with Sara McGee, M.D., who recommended chemotherapy. “I
was only home 10 minutes when Dr. McGee’s office called,”
she notes, “and they scheduled me to come in the next day for a
Even during six months of aggressive chemotherapy infusions, the slender
patient was able to gain back most of the 30 pounds she had lost during
“Dr. DeMartino couldn’t believe the difference,” says
Janice, recalling how much healthier she looked at a follow-up visit just
six weeks after surgery.
“The nurses, doctors and the entire team at CMC were fantastic,”
she enthuses. “They were very responsive to my needs. I can’t
say enough about how great they were!”
She does have some words of warning, however: “Don’t be afraid.
Don’t bury your head in the sand. Get your colonoscopy – it’s
not as bad as people think!
“If I hadn’t gotten help when I did,” adds Janice, “who
knows how far the cancer would have progressed.”