Colorectal Specialist: Don’t Delay Your Screenings Due To Pandemic

Dr. Tara Domash Martinez

Colorectal specialist and surgeon Dr. Tara Domash Martinez is now treating patients at Palms West Hospital. After practicing on New York’s Long Island for eight years, Martinez recently relocated to be closer to her family in Wellington.

One of those family members is Jason Feuer of the Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute, who is a cousin of Martinez and grew up in the Wellington area. She is among the first colorectal surgeons in the area and is a specialist in the male-dominated field. “This is a really big deal for our community,” Feuer said.

Martinez explained how she came to move to the western communities.

“I was considering different options in Florida, and I met with the CEO at Palms West Hospital, and we hit it off,” Martinez recalled. “I was considering Florida because Wellington is where the majority of my family lives, so the location was a definite plus.”

Making such a change to her medical practice was made more challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I started in May at Palms West Hospital, moving down here with my husband, six-month-old baby and three dogs,” Martinez recalled. “It was overwhelming. We had to quarantine when we came down here. The pandemic wasn’t as bad here then as in New York, but it got much worse.”

Now that she has settled in, Martinez is glad to be offering local residents a much-needed medical service.

“As a colorectal surgeon, I do minimally invasive surgery,” said Martinez, who explained that there was no one providing that service at Palms West Hospital. “It’s a new service line for the area.”

Martinez said that she loves her new home and practice.

“It is a great location. I love the demographic of the area and, obviously, the weather is great. I love this time of year. It is so beautiful. It’s just gorgeous every day,” she said.

Martinez is concerned that patients might be delaying their necessary screenings because of the pandemic.

“Some people are scared to go to a physician for these services and treatment,” said Martinez, who added that telemedicine doesn’t really address colorectal services. “The patient needs an examination.”

She warned people to keep an eye out for symptoms of a colorectal problem and get screened as necessary.

“I’m hoping that people aren’t ignoring their symptoms and delaying care,” Martinez said. “Dismissing symptoms for rectal or anal cancer is very serious.”

If caught early, these types of cancers can be treated with good results. Unfortunately, it is not always caught right away.

“Many symptoms can mimic everyday benign conditions, and now it has been almost a year during the pandemic,” Martinez said. “Cancers can be growing and growing and can spread. Something that could be a simple treatment could develop into something much more serious within a year — something that might not be curable.”

Martinez said that the American Cancer Society encourages anyone over age 45 to be screened, and anyone who has a first-degree relative that was affected by the disease to begin screenings earlier. Patients can contact her office directly, as many insurance programs do not require a referral from a primary care physician.

Martinez is one of a growing number of female surgeons in the field in recent years.

“Surgery in general has changed over time. It used to be predominantly men as surgeons, but over the years, there are a lot more females in the field. There’s even some studies that have come out showing there are better outcomes for female surgeons,” Martinez explained. “Colorectal specialty is even more of a male-dominated field.”

However, she is used to it, since even in New York, there were not that many women in the field.

“The most important thing for people to know is how important it is not to delay getting screened for colorectal cancer,” said Martinez, adding that patients can come to her for everything from hemorrhoids to cancer screenings and colonoscopy screenings.

To contact Dr. Tara Domash Martinez’s office, call (561) 795-5130.