With March being Colon Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to help spread the awareness message in the Fort Worth, TX area that following the recommended screening guidelines are the key to beating this cancer. To further promote colon cancer awareness, I’ve created a list of common Colonoscopy FAQs to help dispel some misconceptions and educate people on why it is the best way to screen for colon cancer.
If you know someone 50 years or older, make sure they know about the importance of colon cancer screening. Thank you in advance for helping to promote this awareness message in the Fort Worth, Hurst, Bedford, Euless, Southlake, Colleyville, Grapevine, Alliance and Keller areas. Let me know if you have any questions related to colon cancer and I will be happy to answer.
Jay Yepuri, MD
Colonoscopy Information Fort Worth, TX
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to directly image and examine the entire colon. It is used to evaluate various gastrointestinal conditions like colon cancer and GI symptoms like bleeding. The physician will use a flexible tube called a colonoscope to examine the colon while taking biopsies or removing polyps, if needed, during the procedure.
Why is colonoscopy regarded as the gold standard for colon cancer screening exams?
Colonoscopy is the only colon cancer screening exam that allows the physician to view the entire colon and then both detect and remove polyps. This distinction makes colonoscopy the best colon cancer screening exam.
What are quality indicators for colonoscopy?
Quality indicators can be used to maximize the effectiveness of colonoscopy by guiding consistent, high-quality practice by physicians. The two best indicators recognized by the American College of Gastroenterology for colonoscopy are: adenoma detection rate and the cecal withdrawal time.
The current goal for a colonoscopy provider as outlined by the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is an adenoma detection rate (ADR) > 25%.
- Dr. Yepuri’s ADR in 2017 for women was 43.9% and for men was 56.3%.
The cecal withdrawal time is the time it takes for the gastroenterologist to withdraw the scope after they have already advanced the scope to the beginning of the colon. Withdrawal times greater than 6 minutes have been shown to significantly increase adenoma detection rates and therefore decrease the risk of future colon cancers.
- Dr. Yepuri’s average cecal withdrawal time in 2017 was 10.8 minutes.
Why is there a trend of more younger adults being diagnosed with colon cancer?
It is believed that this is primarily due to unhealthy lifestyle choices. Increasing rates of obesity and lack of activity amongst younger adults are key contributing factors.
How can I help reduce my risk of colon cancer?
The best thing you can do to prevent colon cancer is to get screened for colon polyps and have them removed before they have a chance to grow. We also know that a healthy diet and lifestyle can make a difference. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Get on a consistent exercise program and avoid high-fat foods while increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and grains. Smoking cessation and limiting the amount of alcohol intake can also make a difference.
Is colonoscopy painful?
Colonoscopies are not painful. Patients are sedated during a colonoscopy to keep them comfortable while still breathing on their own. If you have any concerns regarding pain or the sedation used during the exam, I encourage you to discuss that with your doctor prior to the procedure.
Do I need to have an office visit prior to scheduling a colonoscopy?
Many gastroenterologists offer Open Access or Direct Access Colonoscopy to qualifying patients. Dr. Yepuri offers this option at his practice to help reduce patient costs and encourage higher colon cancer screening participation in the Fort Worth, TX area. If you have any questions about open access colonoscopy, please call us at 817-267-8470 and our staff would be happy to answer any questions.
How much does a colonoscopy cost in Fort Worth, TX?
Like many other medical procedures, the cost of a colonoscopy in Fort Worth, TX is determined by the patient’s insurance and the type of colonoscopy (screening or diagnostic) performed. I encourage all patients to discuss the procedure with their insurance provider prior to the procedure so that they understand their financial responsibilities. Also, my staff is happy to assist with any insurance related questions.
What is the difference between a screening and a diagnostic colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies are coded as either Screening or Diagnostic. Here is a brief explanation of each type and why they are important relative to patient costs.
- A screening colonoscopy is for those age 50 or older with no current GI symptoms and without a personal history of chronic (ongoing) lower gastrointestinal disease requiring evaluation, precancerous colon polyps or colon cancer. Insurance will typically cover 100% of the cost of a screening exam once every 10 years beginning at age 50.
- A colonoscopy is classified as diagnostic if a patient has current gastrointestinal symptoms or disease requiring evaluation or a personal history of precancerous colon polyps or colon cancer. Diagnostic colonoscopies are typically covered by insurance but the cost is generally applied to your deductible. This means that you may have financial responsibility for part or all of the procedure.
- TIP: Make sure to clarify all financial responsibilities before any medical procedure with your insurance provider.
Does the type of doctor make a difference when screening for colon cancer?
A gastroenterologist has the most extensive training in endoscopy and colonoscopy and is therefore the most capable specialist for colon cancer screening. Here are statistics for 3 types of physicians that perform colonoscopies:
- Colonoscopies performed by a gastroenterologist reduce the chances of a colon cancer death by 65%.
- Colonoscopies provided by general doctors reduce the chances of a colon cancer death by 57%.
- Colonoscopies performed by a general surgeon reduce the probability of a colon cancer death by 52%.