According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 22 million men and women in the United States have not had a potentially life-saving screening test for colorectal cancer, and about 7 million women ages 50 to 74 have not had a recent mammogram. In fact, CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden says that, “More than a third of Americans who need to be screened haven’t been screened.” Cancer screening saves lives.
You are probably already aware that colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States as well as the leading cause of cancer deaths among nonsmokers. Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the US. Cancer screening with treatment has lowered colorectal and breast cancer mortality. Moreover, statistical modeling indicates that if current trends in health behaviors, screening, and treatment continue, Americans can expect to see a significant decrease in the CRC mortality rate by 2020. The CDC also points out that cancer screenings could save 10,000 Americans each year.
Why people don’t get cancer screenings?
- Insufficient information about preventive screenings and treatment
- Lack of medical and screening facilities
- No proper follow-up procedures
- No health insurance
Cancer deaths are lower today than in the past. Although we cannot pinpoint whether this is because of an increase in screenings, improved treatments or both, we can be certain that early detection makes for more effective treatments and consequently lowers mortality rates. In colorectal cancer for instance, symptoms may not manifest for years and by then it might be too late because the cancer has spread. Regular screening after 50 is the only way to find out sooner and increases a patient’s chances of getting better.
Lack of health coverage or medical insurance or low income is one of the main reasons why people don’t get cancer screenings. The new Affordable Care Act makes many of these important preventive screenings more accessible. Recommended mammograms, colonoscopies and other cancer screenings will now be fully covered by medical insurance. Which means there is no deductible or co-payment involved (check your coverage with your insurance provider). This is a huge move by the government for Americans to take better care of their health and avoid illness or get timely intervention.
Many patients are also afraid of the pain and discomfort associated with cancer screenings. This either prevents them from being screened or coming for follow ups. People will be less skeptical if they are informed about using anesthesia to reduce/eliminate pain. Patients are usually sedated to make colonoscopies more tolerable, and it is not uncommon to administer sedation for a breast MRI especially if the patient has claustrophobia. Having a breast biopsy (removal of breast tissue for cancer screening) also involves the use of anesthetics.
Examiners have a variety of sedative options to ease patient discomfort during cancer screenings but propofol usage or Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) delivers the best results. It takes effect right away and has little or no side effects, promoting faster recovery. This is extremely important as more positive patient outcomes encourage people to come back for follow-ups. Besides, the presence of a certified anesthesiologist or CRNA monitoring patient’s well-being throughout the procedure is comforting for the person undergoing the procedure and ensures quality care from the medical service provider.
Steel City Anesthesia offers licensed CRNAs for cancer screenings. We have extensive experience with colonoscopies. Since we assign local anesthesia providers on a regular basis, our staff becomes familiar with your working style, increasing patient flow significantly. Steel City Anesthesia is very particular about hiring dedicated anesthetists who are committed to high healthcare standards.
Do you use anesthesia for cancer screenings? Share your experiences on how Monitored Anesthesia Care increases patient comfort and follow ups.