Appalachian Gastroenterology in Boone, North Carolina welcomes you!
At Appalachian Gastroenterology, we believe that each patient and doctor become a team for treating an individual's digestive problems. Our gastroenterologists spend most of their time listening in order to understand your concerns and responding with the best treatment options for you. With the help of our professional staff, they also follow up to make sure that problems are resolved and your health improves.
We want our patients to be informed about their digestive problems and treatments, because informed patients make better decisions about their health and well being. That is why we've included a section on this website covering common topics associated with gastroenterlology and endoscopic procedures. We encourage you to look through these pages whenever you have an interest or concern related to your digestive health.
We also know that convenience is important to your selection of a gastroenterologist. In these web pages you'll find information about Appalachian Gastroenterology's office, including our location, maps, directions, hours, insurance policies and appointment scheduling. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have or to request an appointment. We hope you will find that our practice offers the accessibility and personal commitment you look for from a gastroenterologist.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
The doctors at Appalachian Gastroenterology are encouraging everyone to get screened if they are age 50 and over. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in this country.
But colorectal cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers because screening helps prevent colorectal cancer or detect it while it is still easily treatable. Colorectal cancer usually starts as a polyp or small growth in the colon or rectum. When polyps are found and removed early in their development they no longer pose a threat. But if they are not detected and removed, some polyps can turn into cancer, which can then spread to the lymph nodes, liver or other organs, making it very difficult to treat.
Colorectal cancer is considered a silent killer because often there are no symptoms until it is too late to treat. Age is the single most important risk factor for the disease, so even people who lead a healthy lifestyle can still develop polyps and cancer. Men and women are affected by colorectal cancer equally. The American Cancer Society recommends that screening begin at age 50 or sooner if there is a family history of polyps, colorectal cancer or other risk factors. Some experts suggest that African-Americans should begin screening at age 45.
Colonoscopy is considered by many to be the preferred screening test because it is also a preventive exam. Colonoscopy is the only test that both finds and removes precancerous polyps during the same exam. With the other methods, if a polyp is found, that test must then be followed by a colonoscopy to remove the polyp. A person at average risk with normal colonoscopy results won’t need another exam for 10 years. Should a polyp or cancer be found, screening intervals may be more frequent.
Many people avoid having a colonoscopy because they have heard that it is painful, expensive and that the preparation is very difficult, but this is no longer true. The preparation has greatly improved in recent years; it takes less time and is easier to tolerate than previous preparations. Our patients are sedated during colonoscopy so that they do not feel any pain. And, with the Affordable Care Act, many insurers now cover all or most of the cost of a colonoscopy.
For more information about colorectal cancer prevention, visit the Colon Cancer Awareness website at http://www.ccalliance.org/awareness_month/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/ColorectalAwareness/ or call us at Appalachian Gastroenterology at (828) 264-0029.