Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer killer and third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Early detection dramatically improves the chance of survival. Everyone over the age of 50 (93% of cases develop at and above 50) should have a colonoscopy (screening) every 3 to 5 years. However in the past, cost (co-payment/deductible) prevented people from going for much needed colonoscopies.
Today, under the new Affordable Care Act, you and your family members may be eligible for some important preventive services like colonoscopies, mammograms and other cancer screenings at no additional cost to you. If your plan is subject to these new requirements, you would not have to pay a co-payment/co-insurance or deductible for recommended screenings.
What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal (large bowel or large intestine) cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the inner lining of the colon or rectum (whose main function is to reabsorb water from the contents of the intestine so that solid waste can be expelled into the toilet). Most colon and rectal cancers originate from benign wart-like growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum called polyps.
What is a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy (screening) is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon. It involves using a four foot long, flexible tube (about the thickness of a finger) called a colonoscope with a camera and a source of light at its tip. The tip of the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and then advanced slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon.
Before the screening, intravenous fluids are given and the patient’s heart rhythm, blood pressure and oxygen in the blood are continuously monitored. He/she is usually sedated to reduce pain and induce relaxation. A colonoscopy often produces a feeling of pressure, cramping, and bloating in the abdomen which is normally relieved by medication. Identifying and removing polyps (through colonoscopies) before they become cancerous prevents the development or further spread of colorectal cancer.
Who needs a colonoscopy?
• Everyone age 50 and older – the average age to develop colorectal cancer is 70 years with 93% of cases occurring in persons 50 years of age or older
• Anyone with a family history of colorectal cancer
• Anyone with a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomas at any age, or cancer of the endometrium (uterus) or ovary diagnosed before age 50. These groups should be checked by colonoscopy at regular intervals, usually every 3 to 5 years.
Why should you have a colonoscopy if you have no symptoms?
Adenomas can grow for years and transform into cancer without producing any symptoms. When symptoms develop it is often too late to cure the cancer as it may have already spread. Regular colonoscopies mean early detection and more successful treatments.
Sedation or Monitored Anesthesia Care, which to choose?
Sedation is an integral part of your colonoscopy. While there are various sedatives to choose from, propofol usage (used in Monitored Anesthesia Care MAC) has the most satisfying results. It is fast acting and takes effect right away. In addition, it has no long term effects (like nausea) and promotes quicker recovery times. It also works well for people who are on pain medication.
An established anesthesia management company like Steel City Anesthesia has extensive experience with colonoscopy procedures. Our licensed anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetists are committed to patient safety and delivering quality care. We assign local CRNAs on a routine basis which helps improve your productivity, patient flow and revenue.
Share your thoughts on how Monitored Anesthesia Care makes colonoscopy procedures more comfortable and efficient.