KNOW YOUR OPTIONS –
GETTING SCREENED FOR COLORECTAL CANCER
Did you know that colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States?
More than 90 percent of colorectal cancer diagnoses occur in people age 50 years and older. The American Cancer Society
suggests that all men and women begin regular screenings for colorectal cancer at age 50. If you have a family history of
colorectal cancer, polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease (among other risk factors), talk to your doctor about undergoing
screenings earlier and more often.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services believes that if all men and women age 50 and older were screened
regularly, 6 out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. Often, there are no signs or symptoms of colorectal
cancer until it has reached a relatively advanced stage. Early detection greatly improves the chances for a full recovery. Don’t
avoid or delay getting screened. Contact your doctor today!
All Viva Health plans cover colorectal cancer screening and many plans offer the
following routine screening options for free for members ages 50-75.
See your plan documents for more information.
Colonoscopy every 10 years – a procedure that inspects the rectum and
entire length of the colon that typically requires a trip to a hospital or clinic
and involves sedation. Polyps found can be removed during the procedure,
preventing cancer in addition to detecting or removing it.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy once every 5 years – similar to a colonoscopy but
involves a shorter tube and inspects the rectum and the lower part of the colon,
generally without sedation. Polyps found can be removed during the procedure
during the procedure, but if they are pre-cancerous or cancerous, you will need a
colonoscopy to look at the rest of the colon.
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) once a year
at home. Ask your doctor if this is the right screening option for you. These tests
mainly find cancer and are not as good at detecting polyps. If the test is positive,
a colonoscopy is usually required. Cologuard is not a covered test, so please make
sure the test your physician orders is covered.