Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common kind of cancer in the US and the third leading cancer-related cause of death in the US. Although the CDC reported in November of 2013 that 20 million Americans still have not completed a colon cancer screening test, the incidence of colon cancer has been steadily decreasing over the past 20 years. Possible reasons for this decline are improved screening finds pre-cancerous polyps early, treatments have improved and screening procedures have improved. It is expected that as the Affordable Care Act advances and more people have insurance (and this type of screening is covered) , that screening rates should improve. A procedure called a colonoscopy is the primary screening procedure (62%) for colon cancer screening. In addition, a colonoscopy has many other GI related indications, such as : bleeding, abdominal pain, polyp removal, unexplained weight loss and inflammatory bowel disease.
Until recently, many patients were fearful of going to get the colonscopy test completed due to discomfort during the procedure, an unwillingness to complete the required preparation or lack of insurance coverage. Beginning at age 50 (45 for African Americans), screening for colon cancer should begin if the pt. has no symptoms. A colonoscopy may be indicated earlier for patients with GI symptoms, a family history of colon cancer, or IBS. Now, in the news, are virtual colonoscopies- which require no sedation but do have additional radiation exposure risk.
For expertise in this segment, we have turned to a board certified GI specialist in Atlanta, Dr. Max Shapiro- who has a special interest in colon cancer screening . Dr. Shapiro is board certified in both internal medicine and gastroenterology/hepatology and is in private practice at Metro Atlanta Gastro at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta. Listeners can find more information at www.metroatlantagastro.com.
Dr. Max Shapiro
- Medical Degree from Tufts University in Boston, MA
- Internal Medicine fellowship completed at Emory University
- Fellowship in Gastroenterology and Hepatology from Georgetown in DC
- Board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
- Private practice at Metro Atlanta Gastro with interest in colon cancer screening