What trends and changes this gastroenterologist predicts in the field

Becker's recently connected with Andrew Boxer, MD, a physician with Woodland Park-based Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey, to hear his predictions on changes and trends in gastroenterology.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What are some trends and challenges you've seen or predict in gastroenterology?

Dr. Andrew Boxer: I've been doing this for about 15 years and there are two major changes. One is technology, which has impacted the field tremendously over the last few years. Things like AI technology like the Medtronic GI Genius, our devices we are using now are different. We have changes in the scopes and imaging and a whole bunch of stuff like that. Medicines have changed dramatically, especially for inflammatory bowel disease for Crohn's and colitis. There's really been kind of an explosion. Fifteen years ago, there was really one and now you can't count them on your fingers anymore. The other thing that's really different is risk. What I'm talking about specifically is cancer risk, which has gone up in young patients — upper GI and particularly colon cancer risk. When I was in my training, this was not something that was even on the radar and now we're learning that if you take someone today in 2023 under age 40, they're five times more likely to have colon cancer today than in 1970. It's really changing the population we're seeing. Fifteen years ago, if a 35-year-old came in saying they have some rectal bleeding, we'd tell them to take something for hemorrhoids and send them on their way. Now you're worried that they have colon cancer. Awareness is different also. Patients are coming in telling me about things, and education starts way before they're even seeing me. It's different; it's way different.

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