| The recent death from colon cancer of Cornell University president Elizabeth Garrett, just eight months after she became the first woman to hold the post, is a tragic reminder of the country’s second most deadly 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.
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.
It's hard enough convincing people to have a colonoscopy because of the laxative and liquids-only prep regimen you need to undergo the day before.
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 father's decline and his death in October 2012.
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.
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.
Think of it: A virtual colonoscopy that doesn't require a day spent taking laxatives and being sequestered in the bathroom, and doesn't use that lovely little camera-probe inserted where the sun don't shine.
Search AARP Blogs