What is Colon Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in women and the second leading cause in men. Colorectal cancer, occurs in the colon or rectum.
How do you get Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer begins as small polyps (skin tag like growths) in the lining of the colon or rectum. These polyps are usually asymptomatic (no symptoms) until they progress to a later stage. The chance of changing into cancer depends on the type of polyp. The 2 main types of polyps are:
- Adenomatous polyps: Since these polyps sometimes change into cancer, they are classified as a pre-cancerous condition.
- Hyperplastic polyps: These polyps are generally not considered to be pre-cancerous.
When caught early and removed, colon polyps are successfully treated. If they are left undetected and not removed they can develop into colon cancer (which may not be curable).
Early detection and removal of polyps is our best defense against this cancer.
Colon Cancer Symptoms
Most patients with colon cancer do not experience symptoms in the early stages of the disease. However, when symptoms are present they vary depending on the size and location of the cancer in the colon. The more common symptoms of colon cancer are:
Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines
If you or someone you know in the Fort Worth, TX area is experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your gastroenterologist or our office for colon cancer evaluation. In addition, since colon cancer does not typically present with symptoms in its early stages recommendations are to follow the suggested screening guidelines for colon cancer. The American College of Gastroenterology has established these screening recommendations:
- Begin at age 50 and then repeat every 10 years if no polyps are found
- African Americans should begin at age 45
- Begin at age 40 if you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps
The subsequent colonoscopy frequency will be established by your doctor based on the results of the initial colonoscopy.
Is a Colonoscopy the Best Colon Cancer Screening Test?
Colonoscopy is considered the “gold standard” of all the colon cancer screening methods. This is because a colonoscopy is the only screening test that allows the doctor to both detect and remove polyps in the same procedure. For more information on this procedure, please visit the page I’ve created specifically about colonoscopy.
How much does a Colonoscopy cost in the Fort Worth, TX area?
Like many other medical procedures, the cost of a colonoscopy depends on your particular insurance plan. Due to so many differences in insurance plans and coverage, it is not possible to display a pricing table for colonoscopy. However, I am proud that our endoscopy center (where we perform colonoscopies) has the lowest facility fees in the Fort Worth, TX area, providing significant value and savings for our patients.
Dr. Yepuri recommends contacting your insurance provider directly to get a better understanding of the expenses related to a screening colonoscopy. If you or your insurance provider should need any clarification from our office please contact us at 817-267-8470.
Cologuard is a noninvasive colon cancer screening test that you can use in the privacy of your own home by providing a stool sample. This screening cancer test is administered every 3 years (assuming the tests are negative).
Medicare and most private insurers will cover the cost of this screening exam. For self-paying patients, the cost of each Cologuard test is $650. However, there are a few things to consider regarding total potential costs of Cologuard:
- If you test positive, you will then need a diagnostic Colonoscopy to verify the positive test and remove polyps should they exist.
- A diagnostic Colonoscopy is not fully covered by private insurance or Medicare, so the cost ends up being higher for those that have a positive Cologuard than if they would have used a Colonoscopy for their initial screening exam.
- For self-paying patients, the cost of a Colonoscopy at our endoscopy center is around $2000 and includes facility & physician fees, anesthesia and pathology. When comparing total fees in the Fort Worth area, you’ll find that we are very competitive.
If you’re considering Cologuard, I would encourage you to discuss the findings of a study published in PLOS | ONE (Sept. 2019) regarding the efficacy & costs of this home test with your doctor. Healthcare costs are a factor for most when making decisions about elective medical tests and procedures. That being said, I want to make sure patients fully understand the pros & cons of all choices and do not exclusively make a decision based on price.