University Cancer & Blood Center and University Health Alliance open High-Risk GI Clinic to address community needs

State-of-the-art program features acclaimed physicians and experts in oncology and gastroenterology

ATHENS, Ga., April 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- University Cancer & Blood Center (UCBC), a leading oncology and hematology practice for Northeast Georgia, and University Health Alliance (UHA), a multi-disciplinary practice focusing on prevention and coordinated care, announce the opening of their High-Risk GI Clinic. The facility allows convenient access to innovative gastroenterology care for patients in the Athens and Watkinsville regions. The High-Risk GI program combines advanced technology with expert clinical assessment for earlier detection of GI Cancer.

“The main objective of the High-Risk GI Clinic is to detect and diagnose these diseases at an early stage,” says Dr. Vikas Sangwan, gastroenterologist and advanced endoscopist at University Health Alliance.

The High-Risk GI Clinic program features a streamlined patient experience. With a comprehensive range of gastrointestinal procedures and experienced endoscopists available, the High-Risk GI program can effectively diagnose and treat concerns in one convenient location. The comprehensive approach includes a detailed history and physical, imaging, formal genetic counseling, and risk reduction strategies. A physician referral is not required. The clinic is located within the UCBC Surgical Oncology office (320 Old Jefferson Road, Building 300, Athens) and in the UHA office (1460 Resurgence Drive, Watkinsville).

“As we’re learning more about GI diseases, we have found that there is a need for detection programs,” says Dr. James Griffin, surgical oncologist and hepato-pancreato-biliary surgeon at UCBC. “Specifically with pancreatic cancer, although it is a rare disease, it deserves our attention as it is the third leading cause of cancer deaths with little research funding. We are putting our whole heart and focus on it so that we can make a more meaningful dent.”

Spearheading the program, Dr. Minesh Mehta, gastroenterologist at UHA, emphasizes the impact of the program. “Over the last 30 years, there has been an increase of screening efforts for colon cancer, which has led to earlier detection, resulting in increased survival rates and prevention,” says Dr. Mehta. “Through the partnership between UCBC and UHA, we are able to create awareness among a younger demographic as well as prioritize prevention, screening, and efficiency through a holistic and streamlined approach.”

UCBC’s and UHA’s groundbreaking approach delivers advanced cancer care, relief, and hope to local communities. To schedule an appointment, call 706-715-2006 or visit

University Cancer & Blood Center has been Northeast Georgia’s leading cancer and hematology treatment center for over 40 years. Our highly skilled medical professionals, whose backgrounds include working at the nation’s leading cancer centers, provide every patient with the most advanced cancer care available in an atmosphere of care and compassion.

University Health Alliance University Health Alliance allows access to comprehensive, world-class healthcare in the greater Athens area. The practice coordinates preventative, next-level patient care, utilizing an integrated network of physicians and medical professionals. Surgical programs and specialties include breast surgery, colorectal surgery, family medicine, primary care, medical oncology, radiation oncology, gastroenterology, breast health, hematology, and more. University Health Alliance streamlines communication and closes the gap between providers, elevating convenience as well as potential outcomes. University Health Alliance is brought to you by the trusted team at University Cancer & Blood Center, a leading oncology and hematology practice for Northeast Georgia. University Health Alliance is a division of University Cancer & Blood Center, LLC.

Interviews are available upon request.

Contact: Jon Waterhouse | Lenz, Inc.