Former Bristolian steps into national spotlight to promote cancer screenings

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 2/22/24

Dr. Paulo Pacheco, who grew up in Bristol and whose family's legacy can still be felt throughout the town, was recently featured in a national broadcast segment encouraging colon cancer screenings.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Register to post events

If you'd like to post an event to our calendar, you can create a free account by clicking here.

Note that free accounts do not have access to our subscriber-only content.

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.

Former Bristolian steps into national spotlight to promote cancer screenings


Dr. Paulo Pacheco, formerly of Bristol, appeared on ABC’s GMA3 “What You Need to Know” on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The gastroenterologist was at the center of a public service segment designed to demystify the process of getting a colonoscopy. The segment followed GMA3 host DeMarco Morgan and two of his friends as they went through the oft-dreaded procedure.

Though meant to encourage colonoscopy for all, Morgan and friends hoped their experience would particularly resonate with black men like themselves, who are disproportionally impacted by colon cancer for reasons ranging from lack of access, to stigma about the screening itself.

Pacheco, a board-certified gastroenterologist with the Manhattan Endoscopy center and NYU Langone Hospital, performed the procedures on the three friends. But long before he was a practicing physician, professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, a Resident at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, or a medical student at Brown University, Pacheco was raised here in Bristol; the son of Fred and Deodete Pacheco, and brother of Angela Pacheco Cabral.

The Pacheco family came to Bristol from the Azores on Jan. 1, 1968. Deodete hailed from Urzelina, Sao Jorge; Fred was originally from Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel. But the young couple had made their home in Angra, on the island of Terceira. That is where Angela and Paulo were born. When the family arrived in Bristol, Angela was 4 1/2 years old, and Paulo 8 months.

The Pachecos would come to embody the American ideal of hard work and service. Opening Bristol County Travel, Pacheco would help new Americans navigate their way, preparing documents, helping them pass citizenship tests, and file their taxes, often charging nothing to those who couldn’t afford to pay.

“He was a community man and a man of service,” Paulo said at his father’s funeral in December 2014. “It was extremely important for him to give back. It was part of the fabric of his being to try and improve the lives of those around him … People knew that they could count on him and he would do anything to help them.”

Among his many community-oriented accomplishments, in the early 1990s, Fred Pacheco spearheaded a campaign to preserve the Kaiser Mill at the corner of Wood and Franklin streets. The structure was restored and would ultimately become the Franklin Court Independent Living and Assisted Living facilities, where daughter Angela serves as Administrator of the Assisted Living side of things. In his honor, the intersection of Wood and Franklin streets was named “Fred Pacheco Square” in 2016; Deodete continues to live in town.

“My father always said that the most important thing he could provide me is the opportunity for a great education," Pacheco said. "But the best education he provided me, really, was the way he and my mother raised me and my sister at home and the way he set an example for doing good things for others in our community. I think it was the combination of all of this, while always feeling supremely connected to the Portuguese culture, that has defined me the most."

Back in the GMA3 studios, the three friends have sailed through their colon screenings. “The prep is the hardest part,” said Morgan. “And the anticipation.”

Pacheco has some advice to dispense, telling the men to come back in 7 to 10 years, but earlier if there’s a change or something doesn’t feel right. He noted that there is not much that can be done about your age illness, genes, or family history, but you can change your diet and lifestyle.

“At the end of the day my job as a doctor is to prevent colon cancer and if everybody did that, they’d see me a lot less frequently.”

2024 by East Bay Media Group

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.