As the number of aging Americans continues to grow, physicians who care for this population are faced with increasing challenges. Older adults often present with higher acuity diseases and multiple chronic conditions, requiring more follow-up tests and treatments. Add to this the ongoing push for preventive medicine and early diagnosis through screening, and it is easy to understand why the demand for specialized healthcare services is on the rise. One specialty in particular that is being affected by the growing senior population is gastroenterology.
John S. Park, MD
Western Reserve Hospital Physicians Gastroenterology recently opened three offices in Summit and Medina Counties. Led by board-certified gastroenterologists John S. Park, MD, and Corey J. Sievers, MD, the new practice offers comprehensive GI care.
Dr. Park earned his undergraduate degree in Integrated Life Sciences at Kent State University and his medical degree at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) in Rootstown, Ohio. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Summa St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, and his Gastroenterology fellowship at Strong Memorial Hospital/University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, New York, where he was chief resident.
Corey J. Sievers, MD
Dr. Sievers graduated with a BS in Biology from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona, and an MD degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica. He completed residencies in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at MetroHealth Medical Center/Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and is a member of the American College of Gastroenterology, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, and American Gastroenterological Association.
Together these two specialists provide high quality, compassionate care for all diseases of the gastrointestinal system, including:
- bloating, constipation and diarrhea
- celiac disease
- colon polyps
- Crohn’s disease and colitis
- dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- gastrointestinal bleeding
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- liver disease
- pancreas disease
They also offer screening and prevention of colorectal and gastric cancer through a full complement of basic and advanced endoscopic procedures and patient education.
“Many of the healthcare issues we diagnose and treat are difficult for the patient to talk about, or something that has been troubling them for a long time and they have finally decided to seek help,” says Dr. Park. “It’s important for us to be empathetic to their condition, and work closely with the referring physician to fully understand the patient’s history and what has led them to our care.”
Dr. Sievers agrees. “Our patients must feel comfortable with us for us to succeed. By listening carefully, being sensitive to their problems and working in concert with their primary care physician and other specialists that could be part of the treatment protocol, we are able to help deliver the needed care in a manner that is always focused on the patient.”
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the US, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). This year alone, the ACS estimates that 135,430 people in the US will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 50,260 people will die from the disease. One in 22 men and one in 24 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime.
“As physicians, we must always advocate for life-saving screenings, and the colonoscopy is one of the most important, especially for those patients over the age of 50,” says Dr. Park.
In recent years, questions regarding the effectiveness of colon cancer screening with colonoscopy have been laid to rest. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that colonoscopies cut the risk of colon cancer by 77 percent over 10 years. Even more impressive, researchers found that the risk of right-sided colon cancer (the most difficult to identify with a colonoscopy) was reduced by 56 percent as a result of screening and early diagnosis.
Despite the lifesaving benefits, many patients over age 50 continue to avoid having a colonoscopy. Why?
A survey published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine answers that question. It lists the top three reasons expressed by patients for not obtaining screening for colorectal cancer: 1.) the failure of a healthcare professional to suggest testing, 2.) a lack of awareness about whether they should be screened, and 3.) a belief that testing is too costly.
“We have the opportunity as healthcare professionals to change this trend of avoidance,” says Dr. Park. “By helping our patients understand the benefits of screenings — for colon and other life-threatening cancers — we can truly save lives.”
“Colonoscopy is also the best exam to diagnose colitis, diverticulitis and diverticulosis; identify polyps and bleeding lesions; and help diagnose the cause of abdominal pain,” Dr. Sievers points out. “Symptoms like anemia, weight loss, abdominal pain or cramping could arise from many different causes. A colonoscopy can determine whether the symptoms a patient is experiencing are related to colon disease or something more benign.”
Dr. John Park and Dr. Corey Sievers see patients at three offices: 3033 State Road, Suite 203, in Cuyahoga Falls; 4016 Massillon Road, Suite C, in Uniontown; and 3780 Medina Road, Suite 110, in Medina. For more information or to refer a patient, call Western Reserve Hospital Physicians Gastroenterology at 330-926-3313.