Posted 2/3/2020 11:06 AM (GMT -6)
From Digestive Care:
Cologuard vs. Colonoscopy
We at Digestive CARE are becoming increasingly concerned about the massive publicity campaign promoting the Dancing Box, Cologuard for colon cancer-screening. There are many misconceptions about its correct use.
Colon cancer kills more people in the United States than either Breast or Prostate cancer. As we know, colon cancer starts as benign polyps, and as they grow a certain percentage of these polyps will become cancerous. Cologuard “attempts to diagnose colon cancer however, colonoscopies can “prevent” colon cancer, by finding and removing of colon polyps and identifying those patients who are “polyp-makers” and then following these patients more closely.
The Multi Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer recommends Colonoscopy as “The Gold-Standard”. If the patient refuses colonoscopy then a FIT test for occult blood should be done yearly. Cologuard and CT colonoscopy are second tier tests only for patients who decline the first tier – convenience should not trump science.
Colonoscopies are covered by all insurance companies, for everyone above the age of 50, every 10 years, per the Affordable Care Act with no copay or deductible. Cologuard is also covered but when patients have a positive result and are sent for a colonoscopy, they often have not been fully informed that the procedure is considered diagnostic (it would have been classified as a screening test if they had opted not to use the non-invasive option), and they are billed at a higher rate depending on their insurance. This can leave patients frustrated and feeling they were not fully informed on the process of noninvasive CRC testing.
Cologuard should never be used as a screening test for patients with either a family history of colon cancer or personal history of colon polyps.
Many insurance companies are encouraging patients to do Cologuard testing in leu of Colonoscopy. We feel this is in the best interests of the insurance company, financially, but not for the patient. COLONOSCOPY REMAINS THE GOLD STANDARD