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Congregant Profile:  Dr. Jeffrey Cohen/Colorectal Cancer Awareness*

Since March was Colorectal Cancer Awarenessmonth, we wanted to begin our new endeavor by highlighting one of our long-term members, Jeffrey Cohen, MD.

Etz Chaim:  Why should we all be aware that March was Colorectal Cancer Awareness month?

Jeffrey Cohen:  Colon and rectal cancer is preventable, yet they are still the third most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States, and the second leading cause of death from cancer.  More than 140,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and 50,000 people in the America die from colon cancer.

EC: What is the most important thing we can do to prevent colon cancer?

JC: The vast majority of colon cancers start as colon polyps.  Our goal is to find polyps and remove them so that we can prevent the development of colon cancer.  Finding and removing polyps is a simple procedure and accomplished by routine colonoscopy. 

EC:  When should someone have a colonoscopy and how often should it be performed?

JC:  For someone without a family or personal history of colon cancer or polyps, screening should begin at age fifty and be repeated every ten years.  We would begin screening earlier and perform it more frequently in a patient with a personal or family history of colon polyps or cancer, as well as those with Crohn’s Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis.

EC:  How are we doing as a country getting people screened?

JC:  Only 50% of Americans are getting appropriate colon screening.  This frustrates me because with simple screening we have decreased the number of colon cancers.  Colonoscopy is the best way to prevent colon cancer.

EC:  Some people avoid colonoscopy because they are scared or may think the procedure will be horrible.  Can you shed some light on that?

JC:  Colonoscopy has evolved.  The evening before a colonoscopy it is important for the patient to have a bowel prep to clean out the colon.  In my practice, it is two 5-ounce drinks.  It does not taste bad.  I know this because I give my patients the same prep I had for my own colonoscopy.  Also, the patient is sedated for the procedure.  They do not feel it, they do not remember it, and they go home directly afterward (or like many, after a stop at Bagelicious or Waffle House).

EC:  Tell us a little about your background and medical practice?

JC:  I grew up in Orange County, California where my father was a General Surgeon.  I have three brothers and all of us are surgeons.  After my surgical training at UC San Diego and my Colon and Rectal Fellowship at The Lahey Clinic in Boston, I joined my brother in practice at Atlanta Colon & Rectal Surgery.  My practice encompasses essentially three areas.  First, screening and therapeutic colonoscopy.  Second, treatment of anorectal conditions such as hemorrhoids, fissures, fistulae, and abscess.  Finally, major abdominal surgery for benign and malignant conditions such as cancer, diverticulitis, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

EC:  What sets you apart as a Colorectal Surgeon?

JC: Well, I truly love my job and my patients.  Additionally, while the majority of colon resections in the United States are performed through large abdominal incisions, I have been performing minimally invasive surgery throughout my career.  My most recent advance is my move from standard laparoscopy for colon resection to robotic surgery utilizing the DaVinci robot.  The robot allows 3-D visualization, precision and control that is not possible with laparoscopy.  Robotic surgery allows smaller incisions, less pain and shorter hospital stays.  I have been an innovator in the field, performed more robotic colon resections than any other surgeon in Georgia, and have trained hundreds of colon and rectal surgeons on the technique throughout the country and internationally. 

Jeffrey S. Cohen MD, FACS, FASCRS is a partner in Atlanta Colon & Rectal Surgery. 

They have offices in Marietta, Canton, Sandy Springs and Forsyth.  For further information, please contact the office at 770.794.9203 on online atlantacolon.com

* Dr. Jeffrey Cohen was interviewed at his home by a representative of Congregation Etz Chaim.

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Sun, September 20 2020 2 Tishrei 5781