You may not realize it but each time you step foot into an Alegent Creighton Clinic - your doctor is helping you prevent cancer. With every test they order every question they ask, they're looking for signs and symptoms so they can check cancer off the list.
"As a primary care physician it's my responsibility to inform you of that as part of your routine health maintenance. It is very important for you to be aware of the things you should be worried about," said Dr. Josette Gordon – Simet.
All that starts with your annual exam and a relationship with your doctor - so together you can catch cancer early.
"Primary care physicians provide the opportunity to get the initial screening done. There are many individuals who may think it unnecessary or invasive - but science tells a different story. Cancer screening is essential," said Dr. Gordon.
Dr. Gordon is part of an army of primary care providers – more than 200 at Alegent Creighton Clinic keeping a watchful eye on the enemy – cancer. In her years of practice she's witnessed an increase in the number of breast cancer and colon cancer cases. But some of the lesser known cancers like esophageal cancer can take a team effort to diagnose and treat.
"Esophageal cancer has pretty much snuck up right in front of our eyes from being a not relevant disease to the fastest growing disease in white males," said Dr. Sumeet Mittal.
Dr. Mittal is an esophageal surgeon. He spends his days operating on that tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Now he works with primary care physicians – training them on what to look for and how to administer a simple test that screens for trouble.
"There's no other screening test for esophageal cancer and with esophageal cancer when they present clinically with swallowing problems the horse is out of the barn they have advanced disease or stage 4 disease and the prognosis is very bad and we have limited options," said Dr. Mittal.
With cancer, time is critical. Talking with your primary care physician and undergoing routine screenings may seem like a simple way to find and fight cancer but the experts will tell you it's the best way. This allows doctors to catch the cancer while there's still time to do something about it.
If you don't have a primary care physician who can help you prevent and detect cancer early, log on to alegentcreighton.com or call 1-800-alegent to find a physician who is right for you. If you do have a doctor but have not had a regular check up, now is the time to get that scheduled. The call could save your life.