31
Aug

When A Screening Test For Colon Cancer Leads To A Pricey Follow-Up

When DNA colon cancer screening tests find abnormalities, are patients discouraged about getting more diagnostic testing because of costs they will incur? And why do hospitals sometimes send a second bill for treatments given in a doctor’s office? Here are the answers.

A stool-based DNA test to screen for colon cancer is available that is readily paid for by health plans, including Medicare. But if I have a positive Cologuard test result, I’d have to pay several hundred dollars for a regular diagnostic colonoscopy. Doesn’t this discourage people from getting screened for colon cancer, which is the goal, after all?

Patient advocates point to several reasons people may be discouraged from getting tested for colorectal cancer, including the “ick” factor and the time it takes to prepare for and get a colonoscopy, the most common screening test. “But the No. 1 factor is always cost,” said Caroline Powers, director of federal relations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

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