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Meet Dr. George Blestel

Dr. Blestel: Early detection leads to better outcome

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, June 10, 2011

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Dr. George Ambrose Blestel’s practice is limited to the specialty of colon and rectal surgery, which includes treatment of colorectal cancer, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis. He also specializes in treatment disorders of the rectal area such as hemorrhoids, fissures, fistulas and repair and reconstruction of the sphincter muscle. Colonoscopy for screening and surveillance exams is also provided.

Dr. George Ambrose Blestel’s practice is limited to the specialty of colon and rectal surgery, which includes treatment of colorectal cancer, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis. He also specializes in treatment disorders of the rectal area such as hemorrhoids, fissures, fistulas and repair and reconstruction of the sphincter muscle. Colonoscopy for screening and surveillance exams is also provided.

Dr. George Blestel best describes colon and rectal cancer as a closed-door conversation. “It’s getting better but we’re about 10-15 years behind where breast cancer is,” Blestel said.

When Nancy Welch undergoes surgery Monday, Blestel will perform the procedure. His almost 30 years of practicing colon and rectal surgery and related disorders is a field that only has 1,200 board certified surgeons nationally.

“For years colon and rectal cancer has been a closed door conversation," Blestel said. “The problem with this unique disease is it follows behind lung, breast and prostrate cancer. It’s unlike the majority of cancers.”

Nancy and Blestel are teaming up to educate the public about colon and rectal cancer. Blestel will not discuss his patients because of the HIPPA privacy policy but does talk candidly about his relationships with his patients and a disease that has an 85 percent cure rate when detected early.

Blestel said early detection in any cancer leads to a better outcome. “The uniqueness to colorectal cancer is its precursor to the development of cancer can be identified and treated. The emphasis is on prevention. When polyps are removed from the lining of the colon it can lead to a better outcome when detected during examinations. This is not a disease that just occurs. The emphasis is on prevention,” Blestel said.

Detection by colonoscopy is one of the least popular but most beneficial tests in diagnosing the cancer that often has no symptoms. “The earlier you detect this disease the better chance to treat it,” Blestel said.

Doctor and patient relationship

Blestel has a process when he begins seeing a patient. “A patient may come in and say ‘I have cancer of the colon’. We don’t discuss cancer. Cancer means absolutely nothing to me. Society associates the word cancer too often with death. I look at the optimistic side. Yes, it’s a long road to go with different therapies.

“I am very upfront with patients. Recovery is a life-long process. The first part is we outline a plan. We go through a battery of tests to see precisely what we are looking at,” Blestel said. There are a myriad of tests that will narrow the focus to the precise location of the disease. “Until we find that, we don’t know what we’re looking at.”

Throughout the doctor-patient relationship, Blestel said, “Patients become your close friends.”

Nancy demonstrated this at a recent First Friday luncheon at Greer City Hall. Greer Memorial Hospital sponsors the Greer Chamber of Commerce event and it invites a doctor or associate to speak on their medicine practice. “Dr. Blestel was introduced and Nancy steps up and continues the introduction that took about 10 minutes,” John Mansure, president of Greer Memorial Hospital, said.

“As a doctor the dynamics of the relationship you develop are unique. You get to see the long-term results,” Blestel said.

Following surgery Blestel said patients can expect three-month checkups for the first three years, six-month checkups the next two years and ultimately a yearly visit. “We will continue the patient-doctor relationship for the rest of our lives.”

Blestel graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

Helpful links

Visit the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons website for more information at http://www.fascrs.org/.

Facts about colorectal cancer, a screening brochure, myths and realities, and 6 steps to lowering your risk of colorectal cancer can be found at: http://www.fascrs.org/patients/colorectal_cancer_awareness_month/

People mentioned in this article. Click a name to view more articles for that person.

Nancy Welch

Businesses mentioned in this article.

Greer Memorial Hospital

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