Over three days in March, 22 physicians from Arizona Digestive Health (ADH), the largest group of gastroenterologists in the southwest, participated in the Colorectal Cancer Control Program through the Centers for Disease Control to provide free colonoscopy screenings to unemployed, uninsured or under-insured and low income members of the community.
With the help of Mountain Park Health Center, Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA), Banner Health and the Arizona Department of Health Services, ADH physicians successfully performed colonoscopies on 30 participants between March 28 and 30, 2012. These procedures resulted in the removal of 26 polyps and thankfully, no cancer diagnoses.
“Colonoscopy has been shown to greatly reduce a person’s risk of developing colon cancer,” said Dr. Paul Berggreen, president of Arizona Digestive Health. “Providing a comprehensive screening to these patients that otherwise might not have been checked for colon cancer is incredibly gratifying.”
The costs of the complete experience were covered for the participants. Arizona Digestive Health waived charges for the physician’s services, pathology fees, endoscopy center charges and anesthesia. CCA provided funds to cover the costs of the colonoscopy preparation materials and medications, as well as the cost of gasoline for the patients to get to and from the appointment.
ADH would like to thank all the employees and volunteers at Mountain Park Health Center, Colon Cancer Alliance, Arizona Department of Health Services and within our own organization who made this event possible; and a special thank you to Banner Health for logistical assistance. We are honored to have had the opportunity to join with these organizations to make a difference in the community we work and live in and look forward to participating in years to come.
April is IBS Awareness Month. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults have symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), making it one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders diagnosed by doctors.
IBS affects the large intestine causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. “Although symptoms may be uncomfortable, they do not cause permanent damage to the colon and can be controlled over time,” says Dr. Nelson H. Lim M.D., a gastroenterologist and hepatologist with privileges at Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers.
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), IBS is not a disease but a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. This means that IBS symptoms are caused by changes in how the GI tract works.
“The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but food, emotional stress and hormones are just a few factors that can affect IBS symptoms,” adds Dr. Lim. He adds that a person with IBS may have a colon that is more sensitive and reactive than usual. “Sensitivity causes spasms after stimulation by things such as certain foods or medications. Milk, chocolate and alcohol might cause constipation or diarrhea, while carbonated beverages and some fruits and vegetables may lead to bloating and discomfort. Stressful events can worsen or aggravate symptoms, but it does not cause them.”
IBS usually begins before the age of 35 and is typically seen before the age of 50. Women and those with a family history of IBS are the most at risk for developing the syndrome. Since women are more likely to have IBS, many of them find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual cycle.
“Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers Highlight Irritable Bowel syndrome Awareness.” SanTanValleyToday.com. 7 April 2011. http://www.santanvalleytoday.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2882:chandler-regional-and-mercy-gilbert-medical-centers-highlight-irritable-bowel-syndrome-awareness&catid=64:business
Free colonoscopy screenings available March 28
By Katie Baker
Colon cancer is becoming a more common cause of death in the United States.
But many people put off getting a screening.
Berggreen said many don’t like the preparation and taking a day off of work, or the idea of a tube going up your backside.
“There is really no valid reason to put it off, and it is one of a relative short list of screening tests that can literally save your life,” Berggreen said.
Plus, Berggreen said with modern deep sedation, colonoscopies are painless.
He said all Americans should be screened starting at age 50 and African Americans at age 45. Those with a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or certain other conditions, should be screened earlier and more often according to recommendations from their gastroenterologist.
This month is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Wednesday, March 28 is National Colon Cancer Screening Day.
The Centers for Disease Control, the American Gastroenterological Association and the Colon Cancer Alliance in the Valley and Arizona Digestive Health will come together to provide free screenings to people who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
If you are interested you can call 602-323-3380 for more information.
Baker, Katie. “Free Colonoscopy Screenings Available March 28.” KPHO.com. 27 March 2012. <http://www.kpho.com/story/17267334/free-colonoscopy-screenings-available-march-28th>