Every March I like to participate in Colon Cancer Awareness month by writing an article on the importance of following the American College of Gastroenterology screening guidelines. This year I thought I would do something different by sharing a few colonoscopy FAQs to help dispel some of the misconceptions and educate on why it is best way to screen for colon cancer.
Early detection is the key to beating this cancer! If you know someone 50 years or older, make sure they know about the importance of colon cancer screening. Thank you in advance for helping to promote this awareness message and let me know if you have any questions related to colon cancer.
Matthew Eidem, MD
Q: What is a colonoscopy?
A: Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to directly image and examine the entire colon. It is used to evaluate various gastrointestinal conditions like colon cancer and GI symptoms like bleeding. The physician will use a flexible tube called a colonoscope to examine the colon while taking biopsies or removing polyps if needed during the procedure.
Q: Why is colonoscopy regarded as the gold standard for colon cancer screening exams?
A: Colonoscopy is the only colon cancer screening exam that allows the physician to view the entire colon and then both detect and remove polyps. This distinction makes colonoscopy the best colon cancer screening exam.
Q: Is colonoscopy painful?
A: Colonoscopies are not painful. Patients are sedated during colonoscopy to keep them comfortable while still breathing on their own. If you have any concerns regarding pain or the sedation used during the exam, I encourage you to discuss that with your doctor prior to the procedure.
Q: Do I need to have an office visit prior to scheduling a colonoscopy?
A: Many gastroenterologists offer Open Access Colonoscopy to qualifying patients. I offer this option at my practice to help reduce patient costs and encourage higher colon cancer screening participation in Plano, TX. You can visit this page to learn more about open access colonoscopy or call us at 972-867-0019 and my staff would be happy to answer any questions.
Q: How much does a colonoscopy cost in Plano, TX?
A: Like many other medical procedures, the cost of a colonoscopy in Plano, TX is determined based on the patient’s insurance and the type of colonoscopy (screening or diagnostic). I encourage all patients to discuss the procedure with their insurance provider prior to the procedure, so that they understand their financial responsibilities. Also, my staff is happy to assist with any insurance related questions.
Q: What is the difference between a screening and diagnostic colonoscopy?
A: Colonoscopies are coded as either Screening or Diagnostic. Here is a brief explanation of each type and why they are important relative to patient costs.
- A screening colonoscopy is for those over the age of 50 with no symptoms (either past or present) and without a personal or family history of gastrointestinal disease, colon polyps, or cancer. Insurance will typically cover 100% of the cost of a screening exam once every 10 years beginning at age 50.
- A colonoscopy is classified as diagnostic if the patient has past or present history of gastrointestinal symptoms or disease, polyps, or cancer. Diagnostic cancer screenings are typically covered by insurance but the cost is generally applied to your deductible. This means that you may be responsible for the cost of the procedure.
Q: Does the type of doctor make a difference when screening for colon cancer?
A: A gastroenterologist has the most extensive endoscopic training and is the most capable specialist for this cancer screening.