Texoma Living Well Magazine May/June 2018 - Page 39

Don’t Let Embarrassment Hold You Back. A Colon Cancer Screening Could Save Your Life. D Courtesy of Healthcare Associates of Texas id you know that the most common symptom of colon and rectal cancer is no symptom at all? Colon and rectal cancers almost always develop from polyps in the colon or rectum that are precancerous and have no symptoms. Screening tests, such as a colonoscopy and virtual colonoscopy, find these polyps and colorectal cancers early when they can be easily treated. Here’s the deal with colon and rectal cancers: Caught early, they are very treatable and survival rates are very high. But, late stage colon and rectal cancers are difficult to treat and survival rates are low. There are more deaths annually from colon and rectal cancers than from breast cancer and AIDS combined. No one should die from colorectal cancer. Avoiding late stage colorectal cancer is easy. Simply follow the recommended screening schedule. According to the American Cancer Society, starting at age 50, men and women at average risk for developing colon or rectal cancer should use a screening test at a regular interval. African American men should start this at age 45 based on studies over the last several years. The screening options include virtual colonoscopy every five years. For people at an increased or high risk of colon or rectal cancer, doctors recommend starting screening before age 50 and/or more often. And, the type of test they recommend depends on the specific risks. colonoscopy is typically 100% covered by insurance, requires about 45 minutes, and you don’t need a driver. Traditional colonoscopy requires sedation so you will need a driver to and from the test and likely need to take off the remainder of the day from work. Y ou’ll usually be at the hospital/surgery center for at least 2 to 4 hours. If a polyp is found and removed, it is billed as a diagnostic colonoscopy and not as a screening colonoscopy. Typically, diagnostic colonoscopies go towards co-pay, co-insurance, and/or deductibles. Virtual colonoscopy requires no sedation, allowing you to drive to and from the procedure and have no- downtime recovering from sedation. Total procedure time is about 45 minutes and you can resume activities immediately. Because the virtual colonoscopy is screening by nature, it will always be billed as a screening colonoscopy and will likely be 100% covered by commercial insurance under a wellness benefit. For more information on virtual colonoscopy or to see if you are a candidate for this screening, call our office today at (972) 258-7477. So, if screening is the key, why doesn’t everyone get screened? Patients put off this very important screening for many reasons: embarrassment, expense, time off from work, and needing a driver. Let’s talk embarrassment. The professionals who perform the colonoscopies and virtual colonoscopies, are just that, professionals. Your privacy will be of the utmost importance and they will use draping to keep you covered up. Expense, time off from work, and needing a driver depends on the screening test you select. Virtual Healthcare Associates of Texas provides its patients with a total continuum of care by offering comprehensive family medicine and ancillaries under one roof. For more information, you can visit their website at www.healthcareassociates.com. (972) 258-7477