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Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world but, if detected early, up to 90 per cent of cases can be successfully treated.
The Australian Government has introduced the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to increase the rates of bowel cancer screening and improve the outcomes from bowel cancer. Everyone between the ages of 50 and 74 will receive a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years, which they can complete at home. The screening faecal immunochemistry test (FIT) checks for minute traces of blood in the stool. If the initial screening test is positive, then patients are notified and are usually referred for further testing with a Colonoscopy procedure, where a camera is advanced into the bowel to check for the source of bleeding, such as bowel polyps or early bowel cancer.
To help people complete their Colonoscopy procedures, well-known Sydney Gastroenterologist, Dr Darren Pavey has partnered with NurseWatch.
“I see the main role of NurseWatch in the pre and post-operative support for patients,” says Dr Pavey. “Most of our patients are fine and able to go home the same day of the procedure, but there is a requirement that someone should be with them after the procedure because they’ve had sedation (or anaesthesia) – and they may need help before the procedure as well.”
Premium medical care for all types of procedures
As NurseWatch CEO, Kate Spurway, says: “For Sydney GI patients, we can supply a registered or enrolled nurse to ensure patients are receiving premium medical care. We can provide pre-procedure assistance with the bowel preparation and post-surgery care including observation following sedation and after-care management.”
Now that Sydney Gastroenterology has partnered with NurseWatch, patients who come from remote areas of Australia or overseas can stay at a hotel rather than be admitted to the hospital and have a nurse from NurseWatch helping them: “If they’re on their own at home, it’s helpful to have someone there to assist them when they’re going through the bowel preparation,” Dr Pavey adds.
“This is usually the day before the procedure – they start drinking the bowel preparation at about 6.00 o’clock in the afternoon. They need to watch they’re not getting dehydrated and if they’re diabetic, that their sugar levels are OK.”
Pre and post-procedure help available via NurseWatch
After the procedure, patients are usually able to go home the same day. Dr Pavey says his patients usually recover from the sedation quickly, “within an hour or two.” But he says they must have a nominated escort with them who can watch them overnight following the procedure,” he adds.
“If they’ve travelled from regional centres or from overseas and they want to stay in a hotel the night after their procedure, this means someone needs to be with them, otherwise they need to stay an extra night in hospital,” he says.
“We have had some patients who come from overseas and we’ve had quite a few patients from regional areas come to the city. It’s important they’re monitored after the procedure, particularly if they’re diabetic or if their sugar is low. There needs to be a responsible adult around who can help them if required,” he says.
Most common procedures are Colonoscopy and Gastroscopy
Dr Pavey’s hope is for a future without cancer and he is a strong advocate for cancer screening and prevention. He says: “We are now able to detect and treat many pre-cancerous and early cancer cases endoscopically, thereby avoiding major surgery. This has a dramatic impact on the quality of life for my patients, since they are usually able to go home the same day instead of a requiring a prolonged stay in hospital recovering from an operation.”
“We know that we can save people’s lives and prevent cancer – or at the very least, find the cancers when they’re at a very early stage,” he adds. In addition to bowel cancer screening, we also offer screening for oesophageal cancer, gastric cancer and pancreas cancer in those individuals with high risk,” says Dr Pavey.
What’s the first step in detecting colon cancer?
“If people complete the home screening test and it indicates they need to investigate further with a Colonoscopy, it’s best not to put it off. People can get anxious and worried that they may have bowel cancer, but the sooner they have a Colonoscopy, the better.
This philosophy ties in well with NurseWatch’s mandate of assisting clients to live a healthy lifestyle so they can enjoy living in their own home for as long as possible. As Kate Spurway, CEO of NurseWatch, adds: “This is the basic premise of my company, NurseWatch. We recognise the importance of working with medical practitioners so we can provide optimum health outcomes for our clients.”
Dr Darren Pavey has trained extensively in this area
Dr Pavey has trained extensively in the endoscopic diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal cancers and is actively involved in research in the endoscopic management of GI malignancies. He works at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse which is one of the premier centres for cancer care in NSW, where he routinely performs Colonoscopy, Gastroscopy, Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and ERCP procedures.
When explaining what he does, Dr Pavey says: “Interventional endoscopy encompasses a variety of endoscopic procedures used to diagnose and treat diseases that are typically beyond the scope of regular endoscopic techniques. By combining advanced imaging and device technology with technical expertise, I am able to help patients to avoid more invasive traditional treatment approaches such as major surgery.”
“I am fortunate to work with some amazing people, who continue to motivate me to do better, and I look forward to one day living in a world without cancer,” he adds.
Dr Pavey’s Qualifications
Dr Pavey received his medical qualifications from The University of Sydney and then went on to complete an Advanced Fellowship in ERCP, EUS and Interventional Endoscopy at Duke University in North Carolina; he was a Faculty member at Duke until he returned to Sydney to establish his practice in 2008.
Dr Pavey is Co-Chair, Gastroenterology Network, NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI), and Head of Endoscopy at Bankstown Hospital. He established and runs the Barrett’s Program in the South West Sydney Local Health District and has co-written the guidelines for the Cancer Council of NSW for the treatment of Barrett’s Oesophagus. Dr Pavey is the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) representative on the Conjoint Committee for the Recognition of Training in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (CCRTGE), which reflects his ongoing interests in training and maintaining quality in endoscopy. He is also closely involved in the research of outcomes for patients with oesophageal, gastric, pancreatic and bowel cancers and collaborates with the Australian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG) and other researcher institutions, including the Garvan Research Institute and the Ingham Institute. He is Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales and Clinical Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University.
How to book
You can book in to visit Dr Pavey here at Sydney GI or call him on (02) 9707 3523.
NurseWatch provides premium nursing and wellness services tailored to your needs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. To book your care, go to www.nursewatch.com.au or call (02) 9331 3344.