Baby boomers embracing colonoscopies

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  • Updated: April 23, 2013 - 12:42 PM

From highway billboards to celebrities, everyone is talking about colonoscopies.

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mchristiApr. 20, 1312:16 AM

Colonoscopies versus other methods of cancer detection haven't been well studied, it turns out. The obsession of gastroenterologists with this expensive and invasive procedure is based on a (not altogether unreasonable) theory rather than actual evidence. But one recent and large study from Spain (published in 2012) suggests that non-invasive testing every other year does as well at detecting cancers _and_ has a higher rate of participation and follow-through, which is a good thing. It's also much less expensive. A colonoscopy would be a reasonable and necessary follow-up for a positive FIT test. All things being equal in the realm of cancer detection, it would be best to choose the least expensive and least invasive means, at least as a primary screening test. One wonders if gastroenterologist self-interest has a major role to play in public pushes such as in this article.

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nomedsApr. 20, 13 7:51 AM

"One wonders if gastroenterologist self-interest has a major role to play in public pushes such as in this article." Exactly. Family history is a better indicator of cancer. Doctors first questions include asking about one's family history.

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cbehlingApr. 20, 13 9:15 AM

One of the easiest procedures I ever had. In fact the doctor chuckled that I snored until I came out of the mild anesthetic.

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furguson11Apr. 20, 13 9:26 AM

Oh, fun.

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elind56Apr. 20, 1310:35 AM

It's become very trendy, bordering on politically correct, to have a colonoscopy. As a 50+ myself, I occasionally have to endure indepth discussions of the prep and procedure at gatherings of my peers. And by the looks and comments I get when I mention that I haven't participated in this rite of passage, you'd think I recently decided to take up smoking.

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annsypApr. 20, 1311:27 AM

Regardless of the merits of colonoscopies, one of their attributes is beyond dispute: they are a money machine for gastroenterologists. The articles states that Minnesota Gastroenterology performs 60,000 of these tests annually. According to their website, the basic charge is $1487 per procedure. Do the math: that's $89,220,000 a year in revenue for this provider alone. Would less-invasive, less-costly tests be equally effective at finding early cancer? Don't hold your breath waiting for one to be developed as long as the colonoscopy gravy train is up and running.

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suefranpatApr. 20, 1311:37 AM

It's not easy for everyone - mine was incredibly painful and I needed a lot more anesthesia than the average patient - but I still think it's a worthwhile procedure. I'm just hoping they've found something less barbaric and at least as accurate by the time I have to do that again!

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quizzyApr. 20, 13 3:47 PM

My biggest objection is that the patient must have someone take them home afterwards. It was suggested I have a family member, but I have no family. It was suggested I use a friend, but all my friends work and cannot take time off. Then they suggested a coworker. They refused to allow me to use a taxi because it would be a stranger taking me home. That would be less scary than having one of my scuzzy coworkers taking me home. I don't want those people to know where I live. I ended up hiring a medical transport service (not reimbursed by insurance and at a cost of $80), and when they got there to pick me up I was told that I had to have someone who would spend the next 24 hours at my home to be sure I was okay. I almost called the police to report I was being held against my will. And this is why I will not have another colonoscopy.

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supervon2Apr. 20, 1311:03 PM

Hey. You don't have to have someone take you home. Go in and tell them you don't want anthesia and it will go very fast. You put your pants on and walk out while all the others lie and suffer. Really. Check it out. Plus, you save about $400.

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aweshucksApr. 21, 13 1:41 AM

My friend couldn't afford a test and he avoided it. It cost him his life. The legislature passed a law that provides free tests. It's a no brainer.

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