There are a total of four government recommended screenings in the prevention of Colon Cancer. While most insurance companies cover all of these, there are a few holdouts. Now, the cancer advocacy groups are pushing them to join the fight against cancer, as well.
Fifteen states are considering legislative mandates, by the American Cancer Society’s count, and 19 other states have had such laws for a long time now.
Insurance companies and the Issues
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There is more to the issue than just the insurance companies; people are reluctant to get the preventive screenings done. This is a scary thought with Colon Cancer being the number two cancer killer in our country.
Nearly 42 million Americans over 50 aren’t getting screened. This is in spite of Medicare long covering such screenings for those over 65. Some 153,760 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and more than 52,000 will die.
What the Government has to say
The government says that over 60 percent of those deaths could be prevented if everyone over the age of 50 had the routine screenings. It’s not just about catching the cancer when it’s small and treatable anymore. The disease starts with small polyps that can take up to 10 years to develop into cancer. If they are removed in time, the cancer never develops.
As mentioned, there are four screening options that the government recommends. The most used screenings are the yearly at-home fecal tests that detect hidden blood in the stool and the once-a-decade colonoscopies, preformed by the best Gastroenterologist in Port St. Lucie.
The other two screenings are sigmoidoscopy, an exam of the lower colon only, and the even less used barium enema, which is repeated every five years. No one knows how crucial these screenings are than Sam Monismith.
Monismith was prepped and ready for his colonoscopy when health workers broke the news that his insurance company wouldn’t cover the screening, they wanted a signed commitment to pay or the test was off.
He hesitated only briefly-the test revealed nine polyps in his colon. Then since the doctors removed them on the spot, his routine screening that was not covered by his insurance, turned into a surgical procedure that was covered.
One insurance company’s response to this case was that his case was a rarity and that most companies pay for the screenings. But to truly begin to make a real dent into the prevention of colon cancer, all companies need to start footing the bill for the crucial screenings.
As the American Cancer Society, and other cancer advocacy groups, joins the fight to get insurance companies to take more responsibility for this much needed service, there is a little hope to those who can’t afford to pay for the screening.
Now, the issue still stands on how to get people to have these not so comfortable or talked about screenings. Encourage your spouse, your friends, you neighbors and set an example of proactive prevention against cancer, by having the screenings yourself.