Nicole A. Kershner, MD | Crystal M. North, DO
Rebecca C. Dunphy, MD | Maheen Sheikh, MD Ana L. Huerta Alardin, MD
ON THE JOB
The Centers for Gastroenterology was founded in 2007, after several practices in Northern Colorado combined into one. They now have office locations in Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland, and provide hospital services for Medical Center of the Rockies, Poudre Valley Hospital, UCHealth Greeley Hospital, McKee Medical Center and the VA Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Most people’s first encounter with a gastroenterologist is for the all-important colonoscopy screening. Current guidelines generally advise starting the screening at age 50, although those with a family history of colon cancer are advised to begin sooner, says Dr. Crystal North, physician with the Centers for Gastroenterology.
“Most patients with colon cancer don’t have any symptoms until it is very advanced,” says North. “I commonly hear ‘I don’t have any symptoms, so why should I get a colonoscopy?’ I tell them, ‘You get your oil checked, right? Why do you do that? To prevent problems, right?’ Colon cancer is one of the only preventable cancers.”
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death and is expected to cause 51,000 deaths in 2019. The very temporary inconvenience of a colonoscopy is well worth reducing the risk of colon cancer, North adds. Gastroenterologists performing the procedure catch cancer before it even starts by removing precancerous polyps.
Patients who have had trouble with the bowel prep in the past should discuss with their gastroenterologist, says North. “We have lots of tips and tricks to help.”
In addition to colonoscopies, their locations offer upper endoscopies, which are performed for such ailments as heartburn, chronic reflux, problems swallowing, stomach ulcers and celiac disease. PillCam is another option for patients, where a pill-shaped camera is ingested to help determine locations for bleeding in the small intestine. Select locations perform manometries as well (pressure testing of the esophagus for conditions such as problems swallowing, 24-hour pH study of the esophagus for acid reflux symptoms, and manometry of the anal sphincter muscles for fecal incontinence).
The Centers is also proud to be a leader in infusion therapy, offering services in their Loveland location. This treatment for patients with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis provides relief from the disease’s painful symptoms.
CLAIM TO FAME
Five of the practice’s 14 physicians are women, an impressive number when compared with the national average of only 17 percent of female gastroenterologists in this male-dominated specialty.
Not only that, the Centers’ physicians have been practicing in Northern Colorado longer than any other gastroenterology practice, says North.
THIS JUST IN…
The Centers for Gastroenterology is committed to serving Northern Colorado, which is why it will add a new, state-of-the-art, free standing endoscopy center in Greeley, set to open in January of 2020. “There are no other options currently in Weld County for highest quality, lower cost, ambulatory endoscopy,” says North, noting that insurance companies are increasingly mandating patients receive their endoscopic care in an outpatient setting because of the lower cost. “Now, patients will be able to stay close to home for these services, instead of traveling to our other endoscopy centers.”
WHERE TO FIND THEM
Fort Collins Office
3702 Timberline Rd., Suite A
Fort Collins, CO 80525
8225 W. 20th St.
Greeley, CO 80634
2555 E. 13th St., Suite 220
Loveland, CO 80537