News & Events


If You Have Been Exposed To COVID-19 And Develop A Fever And Symptoms, Please Call Your Primary Care Provider For Medical Advice.

All our offices and endoscopy centers are open for in-person services, including elective, screening and surveillance procedures.  We continue to offer telehealth appointments when appropriate.

Safety is our top priority.  Please be aware of our current office policies as it relates to the Coronavirus pandemic:

  • All patients are screened upon arrival for their appointment.
  • Masks are required in all our facilities. Please wear a mask over your mouth and nose throughout your visit.
  • We are allowing patients to bring 1 guest with them to their appointment.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office.  We are here to help (864) 232-7338.


Cologuard vs Colonoscopy – Dr. Barnes

March is colon cancer awareness month, so it is a fitting time to provide important information about colon cancer screening. Colon cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer in women and the third leading cause of cancer in men in the United States. It is unfortunate that so many people should be impacted by such a preventable disease. There are several ways to screen for colon cancer, but I would like to discuss two primary methods of doing so that garner a lot of attention; colonoscopy versus other non-invasive screening tests, namely Cologuard.

Colonoscopy remains a top-tier test for colon cancer screening and is considered the “gold standard” by many. During a colonoscopy, the patient is comfortably sedated, and a gastroenterologist passes a flexible scope to the end of the colon and carefully examines it on the way out. One of the primary benefits of colonoscopy is the ability to not only detect pre-cancerous colon polyps but also to prevent colon cancer by removing these polyps during the exam. The timing of the next colonoscopy is then determined by the size, number, and type of polyp removed, if any.
Non-invasive testing remains an option as well. There are, however, significant shortcomings associated with these tests. First, and perhaps most importantly, is their sensitivity. Not all polyps are created equal; those with “advanced features” (i.e., larger size, higher number, and villous or serrated histology when examined by a pathologist) pose a greater risk of progressing to colon cancer if not removed. Cologuard, which is arguably the best-known non-invasive test, only has a sensitivity of 42.4% for these types of advanced polyps. Put differently, it can miss up to 57% of advanced polyps. Once such polyps come to our attention, they may have become too large to remove endoscopically or may have already progressed to colon cancer. Colonoscopy, on the other hand, carries a sensitivity of up to 95% for advanced polyps, which can be removed when detected as described above. The sensitivity for non-advanced (but still pre-cancerous) polyps are even lower for Cologuard at 17%, whereas it remains 85% for colonoscopy.
Another significant shortcoming is the fact that a positive Cologuard then requires undergoing a “diagnostic” colonoscopy. Unfortunately, most insurance companies will only pay for one “screening” test. Therefore, if a “screening” Cologuard returns positive, the subsequent colonoscopy is then considered a “diagnostic” test, for which patients often have to pay out-of-pocket, much to the chagrin of the patient and the provider. On the other hand, the reported false-positive rate (i.e., the test returns positive but no polyps are found on subsequent colonoscopy) for Cologuard is 12%, which means that over 1 in 10 patients who have a positive test may be left paying needlessly out-of-pocket for a colonoscopy that could have been performed (and covered) in the first place.
Last but certainly not least is the fact that Cologuard is often being performed inappropriately on certain individuals. Cologuard is approved by the FDA for individuals “who are typical average-risk for colorectal cancer,” which does not include people who have a family history of colon cancer or personal history of colon polyps (i.e., those who are at high risk for colon cancer). In fact, the approval statement specifies that “Cologuard is not a replacement for diagnostic colonoscopy or surveillance colonoscopy in high-risk individuals.” Unfortunately, it has been our experience that Cologuard is all-too-often performed inappropriately on these individuals.
In summary, colon cancer is a deadly, yet in many cases preventable, disease. There is growing evidence that colon cancer is occurring at earlier ages than previously noted. On October 27, 2020, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force issued draft recommendations to begin colon cancer screenings at age 45. The change in age would bring the Task’s Force recommendations in line with those of the American Cancer society. Fortunately, colonoscopy is a safe and effective method to screen for colon cancer. Therefore, if you are over this age and have never undergone screening, or if you are past due according to findings from your previous colonoscopy, we encourage you to contact your gastroenterologist as soon as possible. Please join us in our fight against colon cancer.


We are pleased to announce the opening of our Clemson Office and Clemson Endoscopy Center.

January 25th 2021 our Tiger Boulevard Clemson office moved to its new location at Patrick Square’s Town Center. The BRAND NEW facility includes an Ambulatory Surgical Center, giving residents easy and convenient access to endoscopic procedures. We are thrilled to join the Patrick Square community and are very excited to provide even more services to our current and new patients in the Clemson area.


If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, please call your Primary Care Provider for medical advice. 

All our offices and endoscopy centers are open for in-person services, including elective, screening and surveillance procedures.  If appropriate, we continue to offer telehealth appointments for all patients.

Safety is our top priority.  At Gastro, we are taking enhanced measures to ensure a safe and sanitized environment for all patients and staff.  We are following CDC-recommended guidelines which can be found here:

  • All patients are screened upon arrival for their appointment.
  • Masks are required in all our facilities. Please wear one if you have one.
  • We are only allowing patients in our offices unless a medical decision-maker is necessary for the appointment.
  • We are taking additional precautions with physical distancing and sanitization.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office. We are happy to help.


We are open!
We are here to help.

At Gastroenterology Associates, we are committed to providing for your healthcare needs during the Coronavirus outbreak.  We are pleased to offer the following services:

  • In-Person Office Visits at all locations (Greenville, Simpsonville, Clemson, Spartanburg)
  • Elective Procedures at our Endoscopy Centers
  • Telehealth Appointments

We are taking additional precautions at all our facilities to ensure the health and safety of our patients.  We ask for your patience and understanding as we adjust our office flow to support CDC recommendations.

What to expect?

We want to ensure our facilities are safe spaces for all staff and patients. Upon arrival, please be prepared for the following:

  • A screening specialist will screen everyone entering our offices. Your temperature will be taken and you will be asked specific COVID-19 screening questions.  Patients who present symptoms may be rescheduled for a telehealth appointment. If you have been tested for COVID-19 and awaiting results, please call our office before arriving for your appointment.
  • Patients and staff are required to wear masks while in the office. A mask will be provided to those who arrive without one.
  • We allow only patients in exam rooms unless the presence of a medical decision-maker is necessary. We ask that family or friends accompanying patients wait in the car rather than the waiting area to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Our lobbies are limited to patients and their essential caregivers.

For the most up-to-date information and recommendations on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website


Along with in-person office visits, we continue to offer Telehealth visits. This is a great way to see a provider from the convenience of your home.  If you are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, please call our office before coming in for an in-person appointment.  Our staff will be happy to reschedule you for a virtual visit.  We are here to help.
Call (864) 232-7338.


Important Information About Your Cloth Face Coverings


What you should know about COVID-19 to protect yourself and others


Notice Regarding COVID-19

Gastroenterology Associates is committed to providing your healthcare needs during the Coronavirus outbreak.  We remain open and available to take care of patients during these difficult times.The health, safety, and well-being of our patients and staff are top priorities.  We want to ensure our facilities are safe spaces for all patients that are continuing to be seen in the office.  If any of the following applies to you, please call our office before entering our facility.

  • Fever (100.4 or higher)
  • Recent onset cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for Coronavirus
  • Been tested for Coronavirus and still waiting on the results
  • For the most up-to-date information and recommendations on COVID-19 you may visit the CDC or SC DHEC webpages.

What we have implemented in our offices:

  • Intensive screening of patients upon entrance into our lobbies. Any patients who present with the above symptoms may be rescheduled for a telemedicine appointment.
  • No visitors accompanying patients to their appointment, unless medically necessary.
  • Proper disinfection of all clinical areas per standard protocols.
  • If you have a mask, we ask you wear one into our office.
  • If patients prefer to stay at home, we are offering telemedicine visits.

Protect yourself and others:

  • Practice social distancing and stay at home when you can.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wear a cloth face cover when you go out in public. The cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. It does not substitute social distancing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

If you feel you may have COVID-19 or have had recent contact with someone who has tested positive, please contact your Primary Care Provider. For the most up-to-date information and recommendations on COVID-19 you may visit the CDC or SC DHEC webpages.


Upstate Doctors Urge More To Get Colon Cancer Screenings Early

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths in the US, but now there are more ways to be screened than ever before.



Many physicians are wary of patients coming in with printouts of their Internet searches. The thicker the pile of printouts, the greater the amount of office time the physician has to spend explaining why the patient does not have the particular disease. …


As part of our annual effort to raise awareness for colon cancer prevention, the physicians and staff at Gastroenterology Associates in an annual colon cancer screening day. This effort is designed to provide colonoscopies to patients who otherwise could not afford or do not have access to colon cancer prevention…