Colon cancer: Check early, live longer
And iffriends orloved ones resist the idea, Couric said to tell them to do it for the people who love and depend on them. Also, if your partner doesnt want to get screened, join them and suggest his and hers colonoscopies! she tweeted. Katie Couric Tweeted, “Get Your Butt to the Doctor!” Credit: Katie Couric. 3. Dont Die of Embarrassment There may be blood in stool, a change in bowel habits, diarrhea or a change in weight, experts from the NIH noted. Experts from Dana Farber added, A month or more narrowing of the stools, straining, change in stool shape are all symptoms of bowel problems. As many of our tweeters noted, people often ignore these symptoms or are too embarrassed to talk to the doctor about them. Here again, our chatters said to get over it. Get your butt to the doctor, Couric tweeted this comment was retweeted more than a dozen times. As Besser pointed out, however, other than polyps there may be no other symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Thats why its so important to have regular check-ups and get screened on a schedule set by you and your doctor. 4. Know the Risks Age is an important risk factor. Colon and rectal cancers most often strike people over the age of 50, but the disease can strike at any age. Although anyone can get colorectal cancer, its deadliest for minorities, because theyre less likely to get tested or seek treatment, the experts from the Colon Cancer Alliance said. If someone in your family has had colon cancer, this increases your risk too. As several tweeters noted, Lynch syndrome an inherited condition puts someone at increased risk of colon cancer and other cancers.
Most health plans will cover the fecal blood test; its cost is much lower than a colonoscopy by a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The fecal occult blood test can be done at your home and the sample is usually mailed to a facility that will test it for occult blood. Colonoscopies require a specialist and cannot be performed at home, thereby incurring costs for a clinic or hospital visit, medical attendants and test results read and interpreted by medical specialists. If polyps are found during the colonoscopy they are removed and tested for cancer. Full colon testing, as opposed to a simple fecal occult blood test, is like any other medical test and must be approved by a physician. The costs of either are currently covered by Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. Not all Advantage plans cover the same test at the same rate, though; some cover 80 percent and some as much as 100 percent of the cost, and you need to check your personal coverage to avoid owing a great deal of money for the full colonoscopy. For those with Medicare, the following applies: You pay nothing for the fecal occult blood test, but you generally have to pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctors visit. The Part Bdeductibledoesnt apply for the test. You pay nothing for the flexible sigmoidoscopy or screening colonoscopy, if your doctor accepts assignment . For barium enemas, you pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctors services. In a hospital outpatient setting , you also pay a copayment . The Part B deductible doesnt apply.
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