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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The 'Bottom Line' On Colonoscopy Kits -- Not For Everyone

Colon Cancer kits are advertised as an easy way to do colon cancer screening without all the prep. You've seen the commercial -- "Get-Go-Gone." But these simple screening kits are not for everyone. Here's why.

Why it's not for everyone

Colon cancer screening kits are an easy way to send in a stool sample where the DNA will be screened to detect any signs of cancer. It's one way to have the colon checked for cancer without a trip to the doctor and all the uncomfortable pre-colonoscopy colon cleansing. But not everyone who sees the commercials pay attention to the disclosure at the every end. They should.

The kits are better than doing nothing at all to check the colon, but they are not as effective on certain patients, such as those who have a history of polyps or a family history of colon cancer. According to Laurel Fisher, MD, professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, these types of patients are considered high risk and require a more thorough screening.

Choosing the right screening

Patients with high risk for colon cancer need a colonoscopy because it can examine the entire colon area, and remove polyps for testing during the procedure. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about one in three adults between the ages of 50 and 75 years old are not getting screened for colorectal cancer.

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (AGSE) reports that nearly 137,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year and over 50,000 die because of it annually. AGSE recommends screening beginning at age 50 for those with average risk and age 45 for African Americans.

Bottom line (no pun intended) is that colon cancer screening kits are a good alternative for low-risk patients and most medical insurance will cover most of the cost, but it is not recommended for people with high risk for polyps or colon cancer.

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