FDA Approves At-Home DNA Test for Colon Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new DNA-based screening test for colon cancer that has 90 percent accuracy and can be taken at home. Called Cologuard and manufactured by Exact Sciences Inc., the test is the first of its kind to get an OK from federal regulators. The test uses a stool sample to detect the presence of blood and DNA mutations that may indicate cancerous and precancerous growths in the colon. A doctor’s prescription is needed, …

Cost Barriers Persist for Colonoscopy Screening In Medicare

Thousands of people in the United States die every year from colorectal cancer-cancer of the colon or rectum. That’s astonishing because colorectal cancer is almost entirely preventable by use of recommended screening tests. Yet, in 2008, less than two-thirds of all people ages 65 and older had the screening. Medicare pays for several types of screening tests, including colonoscopy which is considered the best test for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy allows for removal of polyps and …

You Won’t Believe What They Found on Colonoscopy Instruments

It’s hard enough convincing people to have a

Colonoscopies and Seniors: What to Do?

Following up my last post – Learning to Say No to Doctors – I was interested to read results of a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association that reported up to 38 percent of colonoscopies performed on those between 76 to 85 years old (and almost 25 percent of those over 86) were potentially inappropriate under existing guidelines. I take a personal interest in this procedure because colon cancer played a significant role in my …

Can A ‘Death Test’ Predict When You’ll Die?

It’s not exactly a crystal ball, but researchers have developed a simple “mortality index” – you might call it a death test – to figure out an older person’s risk of dying in the next 10 years. The 12-question test was developed for doctors to use on their patients age 50 and older. Some of the questions might strike you as the “well, duh” variety – do you have a malignant tumor? chronic lung disease? congestive heart failure? – while …

Free Colonoscopy Coverage Means Polyps, Too

A routine colonoscopy was supposed to be free under the new health care law, but then insurers began charging if doctors found and removed a polyp during the procedure. That’s a no-no, announced the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week, in an effort to clear up confusion about this and other medical tests that should be considered free preventive care, the Associated Press reported. In the notice posted on the HHS website, the agency explained that “polyp …