Charles Vega, MD: Colorectal Cancer Screenings, Preventative Services

Published on: 

A discussion with Dr. Vega regarding colorectal cancer screenings, aspirin use recommendations, and the current state of healthcare.

In an interview segment with HCPLive, Charles Vega, MD, UC Irvine Department of Family Medicine Health Sciences Clinical Professor, described his presentation at Pri-Med Midwest 2022.

Vega elaborated on several points of interest for primary care clinicians, beginning with his views on colorectal cancer screening.

“Colorectal cancer remains the number three leading cancer killer in the United States,” he said. “And it does have a good lead time associated with it, meaning that if we detect it early, or we'd get better outcomes, and so it's not just about preventing cancer related mortality, which is what that New England Journal study failed to demonstrate in terms of its randomized group to colonoscopy, or to usual care, but it's about preventing…surgery, preventing chemotherapy and radiation and all the sequelae.”

The conversation shifted to United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines regarding patients and clinicians’ shared decision-making with the use of aspirin. Vega pointed to concerns with aspirin over its efficacy as primary prevention compared to its side effect profile.

“Patient input is really important,” Vega said. “I have some patients who just want to pare down their medication list no matter what and therefore will never want to take aspirin even if they've had a heart attack or stroke. And remember, for those folks, secondary prevention, antiplatelet therapy with aspirin or another agent is absolutely paramount.”

The discussion finally discussed Vega’s general assessment of the current state of healthcare, as well as his views on COVID-19 and preventative care.

“I think in terms of the state of healthcare right now, in our really important workforce, it's not ideal,” Vega explained. “I think with COVID, we appropriately stepped things up. And we're stepping into new roles that we hadn't taken before responding to an unprecedented crisis in our lifetimes. And we're on that crisis footing.”

View the full interview to learn more about Dr. Vega’s Pri-Med Midwest presentation.