Dr. Indrakrishnan brings colorectal screening message to Georgia legislature
Dr. Indran Indrakrishnan being recognized as an invited speaker at the Georgia House of Representatives, with Chairman of House Education Committee Brooks Coleman and Speaker of the House David Ralston.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Legislators at both chambers of the Georgia Assembly—the House of Representatives and the Senate—on February 10, 2016 heard the reasons and measures to enhance colorectal screening presented by Dr. Indrakrishnan, a gastroenterologist in private practice and an adjunct clinical professor at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Indrakrishnan, past president of Georgia Gastroenterological Endoscopic Society and Georgia Association of Physician of Indian Heritage (GAPI), was invited to speak at the House by Rep. Brooks Coleman and at the Senate by President Pro Tempore of the Senate David Shafer.
In the Georgia State Senate with President Pro Tempore David Shafer and Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle: Dr. Indrakrishnan speaks about colon cancer.
Dr. Indrakrishan spoke at length about the importance of detecting and treating colorectal cancer at an early stage. This cancer is easily preventable, detectable, and treatable, yet it remains the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the entire country, including Georgia. Incidence is about 50 per 100,000 and death rate is 20 per 100,000 in Georgia. Compliance for screening is alarmingly poor among Georgians. More than 90% of patients can be cured if detected early enough by appropriate tests. This cancer is becoming more common in people younger than age 50, although the standard recommendation is to start screening at the age of 50. Dr. Indrakrishnan urged the legislators and their support staff to talk to their constituents about regular health checkups, including colon cancer screening.
(Left) Dr. Indrakrishnan explains to Governor Nathan Deal that the Georgia public’s compliance for colorectal cancer testing is not optimal.
He explained how a benign growth called a polyp on the lining of the colon, the large bowel, grows larger and becomes cancerous. Colonoscopy—a painless outpatient procedure done under light anesthesia—can detect and remove these polyps. Colonoscopy is recommended starting at the age of 50 as part of the physical, but sooner if any high risks or warning signs or symptoms are found.
Colon cancer survivor Steve Sadoti holds Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month proclamation with Governor Nathan Deal, Dr. Indrakrishnan, and First Lady Sandra Deal.
Dr. Indrakrishan thanked Governor Nathan Deal for declaring March 2016 as State Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month on that morning for the third year in a row at his request. His patient, colon cancer survivor Steven Sadoti had received the proclamation declaration.
Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston thanked Dr. Indrakrishnan for his contribution to the welfare of legislators and the Georgia community and wished him many more years of service to the people of the great state of Georgia. The speeches were telecast live to the capitol and were available online. Dr. Indrakrishnan told the media that he hopes that his message and the Governor’s proclamation will reach the community and improve the colorectal cancer screening rate in Georgia.
Dr. Indrakrishnan has been fighting for the prevention of colorectal cancer in many ways. In 2013 he was invited to ring the NASDAQ opening bell along with other members of the national nonprofit Fight Colorectal Cancer board, to increase awareness of colorectal cancer. In 2015, his editorial article “Are you wearing the right genes?- From molecule to public health” appeared in an international scientific journal. He was also a convener of the Sunidhi Chauhan concert which raised funds to increase awareness of common cancers including colorectal cancer.
The Georgia public’s compliance for colorectal cancer testing is not optimal and is particularly much lower in the Indian community. Being a vegetarian is indeed a healthy lifestyle, but this does not prevent the development of colorectal cancer, a common myth among Indian migrants.
Website Bonus Feature
In the Georgia State Senate chambers.
(Photos: Georgia General Assembly)
[The article above contains additional material not in the print and digital issues.]
Enjoyed reading Khabar magazine? Subscribe to Khabar and get a full digital copy of this Indian-American community magazine.