“Medcast Plus” a television program aimed at informing Brooklynites about various health issues, with doctors as featured guests, returns with a new episode on Hepatitis C.
Doctor Alexander Shapsis, president of Atlantic Gastroenterology, discussed why it is important to make residents aware of the disease. “It’s a very infectious viral disease that inflicts upwards of three and a half million Americans,” he said. “The numbers are growing and in addition to that, we now have an actual cure. For years, we didn’t have a cure. With the advent of newer medications that have come to the market over the past several years, we now can offer a complete cure of this previously chronic and ultimately deadly disease.”
During the program, Shapsis, who has an office in Sheepshead Bay and is affiliated with Mount Sinai School of Medicine, discussed with the show’s host Helen Vays, how Hepatitis C is transmitted, who is at risk and the specifics for diagnosing.
“As this disease runs rampant in the general population, less than half the people [who have it] haven’t been diagnosed,” he said. “A majority of people are living with this virus without knowing about it, so unbeknownst to the patients who are infected, they are actually risks to others because the risks of transmission are high and the majority of people have no symptoms until it’s too late.”
Shapsis stressed that people really have to be proactive in getting tested, especially the at-risk population, and recommended that physicians also be proactive and test the patients who come to see them.
Shapsis hopes that viewers learn two specific lessons from the episode. “I hope they actually get tested, either themselves or friends, family, loved ones actually to be proactive and get tested,” he said. “Also, I want to make sure people are not afraid to be treated. For years, there were very toxic treatments with dismal effects and now we have completely nontoxic treatments with virtually 100 percent guaranteed cure.”
“I’m passionate about the topic and Doctor Shapsis,” said Vays. “I’ve known him for eight years. He’s an outstanding physician and individual. To interview him was alone such an honor. He feels fulfilled when patients are happy.”
Shapsis loved his experience on the show. “I’m humbled to be invited to the show and give my opinion and share my knowledge with all the viewers, and I look forward to doing more of these shows should I be chosen to give interviews and bring a variety of other topics,” he said. “I myself, being a community physician, can actually get on the level with our community and reach wider audiences. It’s a real show for the people by the people.”
“Medcast Plus” is sponsored by City Drugs and its executive producer is Greg Romenski. The next episode will air on Thursday, February 23 on Channel 79 on Time Warner, 68 on Optimum, 83 on RCN, and 43 on Verizon Fios.