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October’s MD Update: Dr. Jones Speaks “Going on Offense Against Cancer”

Our very own Dr. Whitney Jones graced the cover of MD-Update’s October issue.  Read about how he embraces preventative measures to beat colon cancer before it starts in the following article.

“We spend a lot of money on healthcare and health insurance. The problem is, we’re not spending enough on prevention.”— Whitney Jones, MD

 In the movie “Karate Kid,” there’s a scene where Mr. Miyagi asks the title character if he’s training to fight. In his light bulb moment, the student responds that he trains, “So I won’t have to fight.”

Make no mistake, Whitney Jones, MD, knows how to treat cancer. He’s trained for it and has years of experience in it. But it’s a fight he would prefer doesn’t take place.

“We’re going on offense against cancer,” says Jones, a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Health Partners (GHP) in Louisville. “We are working on becoming the number one state and the first in the nation to develop programs where we can use genetic testing. We spend a lot of money on healthcare and health insurance. The problem is, we’re not spending enough on prevention. The cost of cancer treatments totally overwhelms the cost of prevention.”

That has been the central message and purpose of the Kentucky Colon Cancer Prevention Project, which Jones helped found in 2004. The project’s work includes education, advocacy, survivor support, and health system change.

“It put the work of the state in front of the legislature,” Jones says, noting that a diverse group of leaders from across the state formed the project’s advisory committee. “It added a mix of healthcare, politics, and business that was catalytic.”

The project has received state funding as well as additional funding from the Kentucky Cancer Foundation, which Jones also helped found in 2012. “We have helped pay for a lot of uninsured people to get colorectal cancer screening,” Jones says.

The impact of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project is reflected in the state’s improvement versus the rest of the country. Jones notes that Kentucky ranked 49th out of 50 in the nation in colon cancer prevention statistics when the project was launched. The state also had the highest rates of incidence and mortality in the nation. Earlier this year, Kentucky ranked 17th best in the nation in the same colon cancer related categories and earned an American Cancer Society Achievement Award for the most improved state in the nation for colorectal screening over the past 15 years.

“When we started our work at the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, there was a huge gap between what could be done and what we were doing,” Jones says. “It’s been a broad coalition, including many of our state leaders and city officials. I think it’s proven that Kentucky can address its own problems, we can develop solutions, we can implement them locally, and we can save lives and save money.”

Read the full article here:

Common Causes of Constipation

Constipation is often defined by tough, hard to pass bowel movements that occur infrequently. Other signs and symptoms include bloating, having the sensation of an incomplete evacuation, abdominal pain and blood present in the stool.

While constipation is known for being both physically uncomfortable and embarrassing, the condition is more common than one might think. Constipation affects approximately 30 percent of the general population, and is most prevalent in women, children and the elderly. Persistent constipation should not be ignored as it could be the sign of a more serious condition, such as colon cancer or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

What are some of the Common Causes of Constipation ?

Dehydration

“If you don’t have enough water in your body already, the large intestine soaks up water from your food waste,” making for harder to pass stools. Caffeine can cause dehydration, and even dairy has been known to constipate some people. Proper hydration however, can help move food through the intestines and create softer stools.

Lack of Fiber

Fiber encourages regular bowel movements by allowing more water to remain in your stool and hastening it’s passage through the gut. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts are the best natural source of fiber. However, fiber supplements can be helpful as well.

Stress

Just like most of your bodily functions, the nervous system is in constant communication with your digestive system. During periods of intense stress, the digestive system can slow down resulting in constipation. Waiting too long to go to the bathroom for example, can cause a build up.

Not Enough Physical Activity 

Regular activity helps to stimulate the muscles in intestines and can also help alleviate stress.

Medication

Though laxatives can help ease constipation, they can also become habit forming meaning that one’s bowel movements end up depending on them. Overusing laxatives can over time can weaken the bowel muscles. Additionally, many anti-depressants and pain medications are common causes of constipation. It is recommended that any and all medications should be discussed with your doctor.

While many lifestyle changes can help to relieve constipation, if you experience chronic constipation, schedule an appointment with one of our fellowship-trained gastroenterologist today.

 

2019 Kicking Butt 5K Event Saves Lives

Kicking Butt 5k at the waterfront Dr. Whitney Jones at the 2019 Kicking Butt 5K

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated in this year’s Kicking Butt 5K! Survivors, fighters, advocates, healthcare providers and community partners all came together on what turned out to be a beautiful Saturday to help raise awareness of colon cancer. Gastroenterology Health Partners was proud to be one of the many sponsors who made this event possible. The Waterfront Park and Big Four Bridge were gracious hosts!

2019 Kicking Butt 5K booths Gastro Health Partners at the 2019 Kicking Butt 5k

The Kicking Butt 5k is an annual race put on courtesy of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project. Our very own physician Dr. Whitney Jones founded the Colon Cancer Prevention Project in 2004.  All of the funds raised as a result of the event go towards supporting their mission of eliminating preventable colon cancer death and suffering. The Project’s resources span from education and advocacy, to health systems improvement and survivor support. While colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, many don’t understand how preventable it is. A donation of $50 can help reach over 100 people who may need to be screened for colon cancer.

5K at the big four bridge 5k at the Louisville Waterfront Park

While the 5k is over, donations can still be made online. For more information on when you or a loved one should start the screening process, schedule an appointment with us online. We have a clinical team of 21 fellowship-trained Gastroenterologists and 13 advanced practice clinicians. All of which conveniently serve the Louisville, Lexington, Kentucky and Southern Indiana communities.

 

2019 Kicking Butt 5K

Join us Saturday, August 24th at at the beautiful Big Four Bridge on Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky for the 2019 Kicking Butt 5k!

This annual family friendly event is put on by the Colon Cancer Prevention Project whose mission it is to eliminate preventable colon cancer death and suffering. Participants are encouraged to spend the morning walking, strolling, running, and rolling to a world without colon cancer! Whether you’re a survivor, fighter, advocate, healthcare provider or community partner, all are welcome!

You can donate to the cause or register for the event online. The race starts at 8:30am with day of registration beginning at 7:30am.

Kicking Butt 5k

About the Colon Cancer Prevention Project

Our very own Dr. Whitney Jones founded the Colon Cancer Prevention Project in 2004. Since then, colon cancer is down more than 25% in the state of Kentucky. The project works to bring awareness to what is a highly preventable disease as well as offer support to those fighting it.

While colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States, when it is detected early, colon cancer is up to 90% curable. According to the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, “It is estimated that 6 out of 10 (60%) deaths from colon cancer could be prevented if everyone were screened at 50.” However, even young people are at risk for developing the disease. 1 in every 10 patients diagnosed are under the age of 50.

How to Take Action

Prevent colon cancer by talking to your doctor about the right time to get screened. It is recommended that men and women of average risk should start screenings by age 50. However, those with a family history or symptoms may need to be screened sooner. Don’t be afraid to ask your family if they’ve been screened as doing so could save their life.

The Gastroenterology Health Partners proudly sponsors the 2019 Kicking Butt 5k. Get screened and schedule an appointment by contacting us today!

National Clinical Alert Part 3: Preventing Young Adult Colorectal Cancer

Health care providers can aid in young adult colorectal cancer prevention by taking steps to educate the public on the rising rate of colorectal cancer found in people under the age of 55. For example, patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer prior to the age of 55 are 58% more likely than older patients to be diagnosed with a more advanced stage of the disease. This is in large part due to a general lack of awareness of young onset colorectal cancer.

The following are important actions steps health care providers can take in preventing young adult colorectal cancer:

1. Be Informative About Basic Digestive Health

Educating patients on the basics of digestive health should be part of regular office visits, especially yearly exams. Patients should understand what and where the colon is and know to take symptoms seriously should they experience them. For example, rectal bleeding and blood in the stool is never normal. Such symptoms require further assessment by a doctor to determine the root cause.

2. Relaying the Risk Factors

Patients should also be made aware of the risk factors associated with having a family history of colorectal cancer and or advanced colorectal polyps. Assessing one’s family history is critical in determining one’s risk for developing colorectal cancer themselves. Those at an increased risk may be eligible for more frequent colorectal screenings at an earlier age than others.

3. The Importance of Early Assessments

Patients at any age that are presenting symptoms or signs of colorectal cancer should be referred for diagnostic evaluation immediately and be given an early assessment with their physical exam. If found and treated early, colorectal cancer has a 90% survival rate.

To schedule an appointment or refer a patient, contact the Gastro Health Partners location nearest you today.

 

Young Adult Colorectal Cancer National Clinical Alert Part 2: The Importance of Family History

Assessing one’s family history of colorectal cancer and polyps (especially advanced polyps) is critical in determining whether or not one is at an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer themselves. Those at an increased risk may be eligible for more frequent colorectal screenings at an earlier age than others.

 

Patients with these family history indicators need to be referred for diagnostic evaluation. To schedule an appointment, contact the Gastro Health Partners location nearest you today.

Dr. Emori Carrara On Solving Gastroenterology Enigmas

Dr. Emori Carrara was recently featured in an MD-Update Magazine article where she is credited with treating her patients with both compassion and insight.

Dr. Carrara has been practicing gastroenterology and hepatology at Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana since 2010. As the Kentuckiana area is “one of the nation’s hot spots for obesity related epidemics such as colon cancer and non alcoholic liver disease,” Carrara treats a wide variety of patients and offers endoscopic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Common patient complaints include:

  • Acid Reflux
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Constipation and Diarrhea
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s/Ulcerative Colitis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Alcoholic Liver Disease
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Pancreatic Disease

Dr. Emori Carrara Specializes in Treating Susceptible Female Patients

As most women prefer a female doctor when it comes to these rather sensitive topics, Carrara’s patient base is mostly female. According to MD-Update, “Functional gastrointestinal diseases or conditions in which doctors can’t pinpoint a root cause, even after a thorough evaluation, are more common among women.” For example, a woman’s hormone levels have been known to complicate GI symptoms, and can even cause bowel movement issues. Carrara specifically treats the needs of pregnant women and has seen problems like gallstones and liver issues arise during pregnancy.

GI & The Psyche

When it comes to GI disorders, Carrara believes in taking note of one’s behavioral patterns and considering lifestyle changes before treatment. “Anxiety can contribute to nearly every gastrointestinal symptom and heighten each one,” says Carrara. IBS for example often stems from anxiety or depression. This is why Carrara recommends “stress reduction through exercise or engaging in hobbies as well as a healthy, balanced diet” in addition to medication.

Colon Cancer

In addition to participating in clinical trials and supporting the latest in preventive care, Carrara sees preventing colon cancer as one of the most important things she does as a gastroenterologist. “Colon cancer can be prevented with a colonsocopy as we are able to remove polyps before they can develop into colon cancer,” says Carrara.

To talk to your doctor about screening, contact us today.

Read the full article here:

Young Adult Colorectal Cancer National Clinical Alert: Part 1

The rate of young adult colorectal cancer has been on the rise in the United States since the mid-1980s. Adults born in the 1990s (now in their 20s) and beyond have double the lifetime risk of colon cancer, and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer, compared to adults born in the 1950s. Currently, approximately 20% of all colorectal cancer cases diagnosed in the United States are patients under the age of 55.

Unfortunately, patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer prior to the age of 55 are 58% more likely than older patients to be diagnosed with a more advanced stage of the disease (stage III or IV). This is due to a delay in diagnostic evaluation of symptoms and less access to medical care. Delays in diagnosis, late stage presentation, and limited access to care all contribute to an increase of mortality for young adult colorectal cancer patients. Both the increasing incidence and mortality of young adult colorectal cancer are in sharp contrast to the overall declines in incidence & mortality observed in people over the age of 55.

Patients with these symptoms and signs need to be referred for diagnostic evaluation. To schedule an appointment, contact the Gastro Health Partners location nearest you today.

Dr. Abdul Jabbar on Saving Lives with Colon Screenings

According to Gastro Health Partner physician Dr. Abdul Jabbar, “When you look at a colon cancer map of the USA, you’ll be surprised to see that along the Ohio river, specifically over Clark and Floyd county, there are significantly higher incidences of colon cancer.” This is due in large part to the region’s lifestyle. A lack of exercise, high obesity rates, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use and a diet high in processed red meat and low in fibrous fruits and vegetables can lead to colorectal cancer. 

Having recently sat down with Baptist Health Floyd for one of their Health Topics episodes, Dr. Jabbar is quick to point out how colon screenings can save lives. “A colonoscopy is one of the best tools available,” he says. With timely colon screenings, the rate of colorectal cancer mortality in the area has decreased as much as 53%. 

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is done using a colonoscope which is a flexible tube with a camera attached to it. This allows physicians to look inside the organ without doing any surgery. A colonoscopy is minimally invasive with minimal sedation required, and can be completed within 10 to 30 minutes.

The procedure helps to identify polyps that either are cancerous or could potentially turn cancerous. These polyps are then removed and the patient’s care is expedited. To schedule a colonoscopy, contact the Gastro Health Partners location nearest you today.

Watch the full episode of Dr. Abdul Jabbar on Baptist Health Floyd’s Heath Topics here:

Dr. Abdul Jabbar joined Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana in 2006. He earned his medical degree from Nishtar Medical College in Pakistan. For one year he served as Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia before completing his Internal Medicine Internship and Residency at Columbia University teaching program in Summit, New Jersey. He received his dual Fellowship training in Gastroenterology & Hepatology at the University of Louisville, followed by additional training in hepatology and endoscopic ultrasound. Prior to moving to Southern Indiana, Dr. Jabbar served as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Gastroenterology at the University of Louisville. Dr. Jabbar is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

 

Dr. Whitney Jones Discusses Colorectal Cancer

Dr. Whitney Jones is a national expert and frequent speaker on early-age onset colorectal cancer prevention, genetic GI cancer syndrome testing and risk management, and communication strategies for population-based cancer prevention.

On this episode of KET’s Kentucky Health, Dr. Jones explains how we can decrease incidents and mortality rates of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the second cause of death due to cancer in the United States. Prior to 2004, Kentucky had one of the highest death rates from colon cancer. One major factor was a lack of screenings. However, now the mortality rate has decreased by more than 20% and we have gone from being 49th in the U.S. for people being screened for colon cancer to a current ranking of 20th.

This is due in large part to the development in 2003 of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project by Dr. Whitney Jones; an organization dedicated to spreading the message of colon cancer.

While the rates are decreasing for those over the age of 55, for reasons unknown, rates of colorectal cancer, specifically rectal cancer, have increased in those under the age of 55. Genetics and lifestyle habits could be prominent factors in this increase. Early screening is an important preventive tool as these rates are projected to continue to rise. 

Causes of Colorectal Cancer

  • Obesity
  • Tobacco use
  • Diets high in red processed meat and low in fresh fruits or veggies
  • Lack of exercise 
  • A family history
  • Excessive or ongoing alcohol use

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Weight loss
  • Unexplained abdominal pain

However, the most common symptom of colon cancer is no symptom at all. It is known as the silent killer and early onset colon cancer has an average 6 month delay from the time a person has symptoms until they see a doctor. 

Screenings

Those with a family history should start screening a decade before their family history indicates, even as early as one’s twenties. 20% of those with a family history of colorectal cancer are at more of a risk themselves. 

If no warning signs or family history exist, screenings should being at the age of 45.

All colonoscopy screenings are covered in the state of Kentucky due to the Affordable Care Act. For those who don’t want a colonoscopy,  there are other options available. However, colonoscopies are still the gold standard of screenings as they remove polyps and the removal of polyps help prevent cancer from developing.

Knowing Your Family History

Genetic medical grade testing is an important proactive tool in diagnosing colorectal cancer. It is now more affordable and accessible than ever before.

Lynch syndrome for example is the most common genetic trait for colorectal cancer. Polyps in the colon develop into cancer faster for persons with Lynch syndrome than those with other genetic predispositions. Those who have it are also at an increased risk of ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and pancreatic cancer, among several others. 

Other Preventative Measures

  • Increase the amount of veggies in your diet.
  • Aspirin has been known to reduce the formation of polyps, but has it’s side effects.
  • If you have had polyps in the past, keep up with your follow up surveillance.

Watch the full episode of Dr. Whitney Jones on Kentucky Health here: 


Dr. Whitney Jones is a practicing Gastroenterologist, former therapeutic endoscopist and Clinical Professor at the University of Louisville from 1994 until 2017. He joined GHP in 2017 cofounding its new east Louisville division, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Associates, PLLC, alongside Drs. Ashok Kapur and Laszlo Makk.