George Yavorek, MD, has been a colorectal surgeon in the New Haven area for 25 years, providing nonsurgical and surgical care for teenagers and adults of all ages with problems ranging from hemorrhoids and diverticulitis to a variety of colorectal cancers.
Doctors often can do more when colorectal problems are diagnosed early, Dr. Yavorek says. Care for colorectal cancer has changed dramatically with the use of minimally invasive surgeries. “The outcomes, in terms of cancer survival, are equal to open surgery, but the length of stay and patient satisfaction are better,” Dr. Yavorek says. Results are also improving as different specialists collaborate on plans of care that may include such treatments as chemotherapy, radiation, and biologic medicines, he adds.
Dr. Yavorek comes from a family of doctors. His father was a dentist, and his four siblings are all doctors. “I was the most hands-on, so that led me to surgery,” he says. “As a surgeon, you get a lot of satisfaction out of solving a person's problem—even if it’s not a life-threatening one.”
His message to anyone, whether or not they have a family history of colorectal problems: Never miss a routine colonoscopy screening. “It's heartbreaking to see someone who is in their late 50s or early 60s, and never had a colonoscopy, show up with advanced colon cancer. Colonoscopy screenings can prevent cancer or at least catch it at an earlier stage when it is much more curable,” Dr. Yavorek says. The American Cancer Society recommends that people considered to be of average risk start regular colonoscopy screenings at age 45 and continue with regular recommended screenings through age 75.