Gastroenterology

Helping You Stay Well.
Gastroenterology is a specialty concerned with the function of the digestive system and its disorders. Disorders affect the stomach, intestines and related organs of the gastrointestinal tract; such as the liver and pancreas. Physicians practicing in this field of medicine are called gastroenterologists. Important advances have been made since Watson Clinic employed their first gastroenterology expert, contributing to the rapid expansion of its department.
 
Colorectal Cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. It is an easy disease to ignore because it’s hidden. Early detection is the primary defense against this deadly disease. There are several tests that are available to screen for colorectal cancer, including:
  • FOBT (fecal occult blood test) looks for blood in your stool, a sign that cancer may be present. This is a take home test that you can get from your doctor. You’ll place three stool smears on a test card and return it to your doctor or mail it to a laboratory. You may also elect to administer the test on-site in our lab.
  • Colonoscopy provides a view of your entire colon and rectum by using a flexible tube that has a tiny camera attached to it. During the exam, your doctor can remove most polyps and some cancers if necessary. A sedative is usually given for this test.
  • Double-contrast barium enema requires a barium enema followed by an air enema. It provides an x-ray image of the rectum and entire colon. You may have some discomfort during or after this procedure.
  • Pillcam is a vitamin-size camera (complete with light and batteries) that can be used to examine the gastrointestinal (GI) tract for cancer. It’s quick and painless. You simply swallow the small device, which snaps pictures as it moves along before being expelled naturally from the body. Images are transmitted so a doctor can view them. The camera can help detect problems such as precancerous changes in the GI tract.
The barium enema and colonoscopy all require clearing the intestinal tract before the examination. You will need to drink only clear liquids and take laxatives the day before the procedure.

What are symptoms of colorectal cancer?
  • A change in bowel habits.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Bright red or dark blood in the stool.
  • Stools that are narrower than usual.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Weight loss for no known reason.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Vomiting.
If you have one or more of these systems please see your doctor.
 
When is a good time to get screened? 
Watson Clinic’s Gastroenterologists recommend the following screening guidelines for cancer.
 
   Colon Cancer:
  • Annual digital rectal examination after age 40.
  • Colonoscopy at age 50 (or earlier depending on risk and family history), then at intervals determined by your physician based on their findings.
   Colorectal Cancer:
  • Annual screening at age 50. African Americans should begin screenings at age 45 due to increased risk.
Testing is especially urgent for people most at risk for cancers of the colon and rectum. According to the American Cancer Society, those at above average risk for colorectal cancer include anyone who:
  • Is 50 or older.
  • Has a family history of colorectal cancer.
  • Has had colorectal cancer or a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Has a history of colorectal polyps.
Other risk factors include a diet heavy in animal products, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and smoking.


Gastroenterology Physicians & Providers:


Dr. Louis Saco
Louis S. Saco, MD, FACP, MBA, CEO/Chairman of the Board
  • Graduate Degree: University of South Florida School of Business, Tampa, FL, MBA
  • Medical School: Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C., MD
  • Internship & Residency: Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C., Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship: Division of Digestive & Nutrition, Department of Medicine - University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, Gastroenterology
  • Board-certified: Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Managed Care Medicine
  • Fellow: American College of Physicians, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association
  • Member: Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, American College of Physician Executives, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Association, Florida Gastroenterology Society, Florida Medical Association, Polk County Medical Association, Major League Baseball Team Physicians Society, National Board of Medical Examiners, American College of Managed Care Medicine, Florida Southern College Board of Trustees, and Volunteers In Service to the Elderly (VISTE) Advisory Board
  • Awards: Designated as one of America's Top Doctors in Gastroenterology by the Consumers Research Council every year since the award was first originated
  • Publications: Author of numerous publications

Dr. Robert D. Lamport
  • Medical School: The New York State Program of The Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel, MD
  • Internship & Residency: Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY, Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, Gastroenterology
  • Board-certified: Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
  • Fellow: American College of Physicians
  • Member: American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, American College of Gastroenterology, Florida Gastroenterologic Society, Polk County Medical Association

Dr. Victor Nwakakwa
Victor C. Nwakakwa, MD, MRCP 
  • Medical School: University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, MD
  • Internship & Residency: Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship: Georgetown University Hospital, Washington D.C., Gastroenterology
  • Board-certified: Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
  • Member: American Gastroenterological Association, American Medical Association and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
  • Publications: Author of several articles in medical journals and has co-authored chapters in various Gastroenterology textbooks

Dr. Ugo Nzeako
Ugo C. Nzeako, MD, MPH
  • Medical School: University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria, MD
  • Graduate Degree: University of Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, Master of Public Health
  • Internship & Residency: University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT, Internal Medicine
  • Research Fellowship: Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C., Gastrointestinal & Liver Pathology
  • Clinical Fellowship: Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN, Gastroenterology
  • Board-certified: Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
  • Member: American Gastroenterological Association and American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
  • Awards: Named as one of "America's Top Physicians" in the field of Gastroenterology by the Consumers Research Council of America, every year since 2004
  • Publications: Selected publications by Dr. Nzeako

Dr. Joffre Rivera
Joffre R. Rivera, MD
  • Medical School: University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, MD
  • Internship & Residency: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, Gastroenterology
  • Board-certified: Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology 
  • Member: Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine, University of South Florida, American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterology Association, American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, American College of Gastroenterology, Florida Gastrointestinal Society, Florida Medical Association and Polk County Medical Association
  • Publications: Author of several abstracts in the areas of capsule endoscopy, gastrointestinal bleeding and esophageal stenting

Elizabeth Brown
Elizabeth Brown ARNP-C
  • Nursing School: Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, BSN
  • Masters Program: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, MSN
  • Member: American Gastroenterology Association, Phi Kappa Phi and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

Gastroenterology Hospitalist:


Dr. Lijian Wang
Lijian Wang, MD, D.Sc.
  • Medical School: Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China, MD
  • Doctorate Degree: Harvard University, School of Public Health, Boston, MA, Doctor of Science
  • Internship & Residency: University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, Internal Medicine
  • Fellowship: State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, Gastroenterology
  • Member: American Gastroenterology Association, American Association of Cancer Research and Polk County Medical Association

 
 
 
 
Please call 863-680-7490 for additional information.