Colonoscopy – Is it the best Colon Cancer Screening Exam?
Colonoscopy is the gold standard for colon cancer screening because it is the only method that allows for identification and removal of precancerous polyps in the same setting.
While other forms of testing, such as fecal occult blood testing, Cologuard (fecal DNA testing) and virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography) can evaluate for the presence of polyps, none of these modalities allows for the removal of polyps – if the results of one of these tests is positive, a patient will need to have a colonoscopy as the next step in their care.
It is also important to remember that because patients are sedated, they experience no pain or discomfort during their colonoscopy.
When Should I Get a Colonoscopy in Fort Worth, TX area?
Colonoscopies are performed both for the evaluation of symptoms and for the prevention of colon cancer. Current guidelines recommend that average risk individuals (those without a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps) have their first screening colonoscopy (for preventative purposes) at age 50. However, the age and reasons why a patient should have their first screening colonoscopy can vary based on a variety of factors including their family history, personal medical history and ethnic background. In addition, the interval between colonoscopies will vary from patient to patient for these same reasons.
Colonoscopies are also performed for the evaluation of a variety of symptoms including (but not limited to) abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, diarrhea, constipation, unexplained weight loss and a change in bowel habits. A thorough discussion and evaluation of your symptoms with you Gastroenterologist will help determine if a colonoscopy should be the next step in your care.
This study published in early 2017 by the American Cancer Society found that “new cases of colon cancer and rectal cancer are occurring at an increasing rate among young and middle-aged adults in the US” and emphasizes the importance of seeking evaluation for any concerning signs or symptoms.
What is an Open Access Colonoscopy?
Open Access (or Direct Access) Colonoscopy allows medically eligible patients to proceed directly with a screening (preventative) colonoscopy without an office visit first.
The best way to decrease the incidence of colon cancer is to make sure people follow established guidelines for colon cancer screening. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three adults aged 50 to 75 years has not been tested for colorectal cancer as recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
By offering this option, we hope to save eligible patients the time and cost of an office visit prior to their procedure. In doing so, our goal is to increase participation rates for colon cancer screening.
Colonoscopy – Are Quality Indicators Important?
Absolutely. You should ask you gastroenterologist to discuss their adenoma detection rates (ADRs) and withdrawal times with you prior to your colonoscopy as these are the key metrics used to determine the quality of the colonoscopies they perform.
ADRs look at how often an individual Gastroenterologist finds and removes precancerous polyps.
An individual Gastroenterologist’s withdrawal time refers to the length of time it takes for that physician to withdraw the colonoscope (examining the colon on the way out) once the beginning of the colon is reached during a colonoscopy.
According to the NIH, you should be looking for a Gastroenterologist with an ADR of at least 15 percent in women and 25 percent in men and a withdrawal time of at least six minutes.
In 2016, my average withdrawal time was 13.4 minutes and my overall ADR for men was 48.3% and for women was 43%.
How Much Does a Colonoscopy Cost in Fort Worth, TX area?
The cost of a colonoscopy varies based on insurance plans and individual insurance policies.
One important distinction to keep in mind from an insurance standpoint is the difference between a screening colonoscopy (done in a patient who has no symptoms) and one done for the evaluation of symptoms.
Depending on the insurance provider and policy specifics, a screening colonoscopy may be up to 100% covered as a preventative procedure. On the other hand, when a colonoscopy is done for the evaluation of symptoms, a patient’s usual co-pays and deductibles might apply. Our experienced office staff will provide you with a clear and concise picture of all costs prior to your colonoscopy.
Furthermore, the vast majority of our screening colonoscopies are performed at Central Park Endoscopy Center in Bedford. We maximize value for our patients by performing their colonoscopy in this high quality, low cost endoscopy center.
Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical condition