No one looks forward to having a colonoscopy, but it has proven to be a lifesaving tool that doctors use to help detect colon cancer, which is highly treatable if caught early. Unfortunately, many 1199ers who should get screened don’t: Our colon cancer screening rate is 44 percent, compared with the national rate of 58 percent. A screening can catch colon cancer early, before it becomes difficult to treat. Treatment for late-stage colon cancer often includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation—and does not have a high survival rate. It doesn’t have to be that way. If caught early, treatment typically involves removal of polyps or the affected area, followed by regular monitoring. And now, there is a new procedure available—covered by your Benefit Fund—that is convenient, non-invasive and effective in identifying cancer and precancerous cells. The Cologuard Collection Kit is an easy-to-use, at-home colon cancer screening test that requires no special preparation, diet or medication changes. You won’t even have to take time off from work.
So if you’re over age 50 and you’ve been hesitating about getting screened, talk to your doctor today. If you are a good candidate for the test, your doctor will write you a prescription for the test and a Cologuard Collection Kit will be shipped to your home. You collect a stool sample and mail it to a lab in the prepaid, pre-addressed box. The lab will then send results to your doctor within two weeks.
Of course, the Cologuard test is not right for everyone, and is not meant to be a replacement for a traditional colonoscopy if you are at high risk for colon cancer, or have a family history or a personal history of colon cancer, polyps or other diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease that place you at risk for colon cancer.
Please note, if you are considering using the Cologuard test, the Benefit Fund requires that your doctor receive prior authorization before giving you a prescription for the test. To learn more about the Cologuard Collection Kit, visit www.CologuardTest.com.