9th Annual Unmasking Colon Cancer Gala

 

Information for the 9th Annual Unmasking Colon Cancer Gala is now available. This year's theme is the Roaring 20's. Mark your calendar and prepare to Get a Wiggle On It!.

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Colorectal Cancer Can Start With No Symptoms

People who have polyps or colorectal cancer sometimes don't have symptoms, especially at first. This means that someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important.  

 

What are the Symptoms?

Some people with colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer do have symptoms. They may include: 

  • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).
  • Pain, aches, or cramps in your stomach that happen a lot and you don't know why.
  • A change in bowel habits, such as having stools that are narrower than usual.
  • Losing weight and you don't know why.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. These symptoms may also be caused by something other than cancer. However, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

  

What are my screening options? 

 

Frequency/ Cost Estimate :
Once a year starting at 50. $10-$25* (If blood is found, follow-up testing is needed.) 

Purpose:
Detects blood in stool from polyps, cancer, or causes unrelated to cancer.

Important Considerations:
You receive the test kit from your doctor or health care provider and do the test yourself at home.

Your doctor will probably recommend that you avoid some foods and medicines before and until stool samples are collected.

Covered by Insurance/ Medicate?

Insurance: Many plans cover. Medicare: Covers annually starting at age 50 for people with Medicare. You pay no co-insurance or Part B deductible.

Frequency/ Cost Estimate:
Once every 5 years starting at 50.$150-$300* (If polyps or lesions are found, follow-up testing is needed.) 

Purpose :
Doctor sees lining of rectum and lower part of colon. Tissue samples of polyps and cancers can be taken.

Important Considerations :
Provides direct view of rectum and lower colon where half of colorectal cancers occur, but cannot view entire colon. 

Before the test, your doctor will recommend that you restrict your diet and use laxatives and/or enemas to clean out your colon and rectum. 

You may feel discomfort during or after exam. 

Very slight risk of perforation, infection, bleeding.

Covered by Insurance/ Medicate?

Insurance: Many plans cover every 4-5 years, beginning at age 50.

Medicare: Covers once every 4 years. You pay 20% of Medicare-approved amount after Part B deductible.
Frequency/ Cost Estimate :
FOBT annually and Flex Sig every 5 years starting at 50.

Purpose:
See above.

Important Considerations:
Combination of tests may increase the chance of finding polyps and early cancers.

Covered by Insurance/ Medicate?
See above.
Frequency/ Cost Estimate :
Once every 10 years starting at 50 for people with no family or personal history of polyps and no symptoms.  $800-$1600*

(Colonoscopy is usually recommended as a follow-up test if any of the other screening tests are abnormal.) 

Purpose:
Doctor sees lining of entire rectum and colon. Tissue samples of polyps and cancers can be taken. Most polyps can be removed during the test.

Important Considerations:
Provides direct view of rectum and entire colon.

Before the test, your doctor will recommend that you restrict your diet and use laxatives and/or enemas to clean out your colon and rectum.

You may feel discomfort during or after exam. You're given medication to help make the exam more comfortable for you and are advised not to drive or work on the day of the exam. Slight risk of perforation, infection, bleeding.

Covered by Insurance/ Medicate?

Insurance: Coverage is variable when colonoscopy is used for screening. If it's needed for a follow-up test or diagnosing a problem, most plans cover. Check with your plan.

Medicare: Covers average-risk patients every 10 years. You pay 20% of approved amount after Part B deductible. Also covers high-risk patients every 2 years and those needing a follow-up test after FOBT or flex sig. Check with Medicare for details.

Frequency/ Cost Estimate :
Once every 5-10 years starting at 50. 
$250-$500* 
(If polyps or lesions are found, follow-up testing is needed.) 

Purpose:
Doctor sees x-ray image of entire colon. May be able to detect polyps and cancers.

Important Considerations:
Allows doctor to see outline of the colon on an x-ray.
Before the test, your doctor will recommend that you restrict your diet and use laxatives and/or enemas to clean out your colon and rectum.
You may feel discomfort during or after exam. 
Slight risk of perforation. 

Covered by Insurance/ Medicate?

Insurance: Many plans cover. Check with your plan. 

Medicare: Sometimes can be substituted for colonoscopy. Check with Medicare for details.

*Cost estimates are listed to show the typical range of rates for each test and may not include the costs of all related services.

Want to read more about Colorectal Cancer Screening?

See the screening facts brochure from the CDC.