Colonoscopy is a Tough Sell

A recent NEJM study showed the benefit of getting screening colonoscopies.   This is a good thing because colon cancer may really be a preventable death.  I still think the cost of the procedure is way too high and so do patients, evidently.   A study in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology  found that during recession of December 2007 to June 2009, about 500,000 fewer Americans who had health insurance underwent a screening colonoscopy, compared to the two years before the recession began.   I find getting patients to get a colonoscopy in the first place is a tough sell.   If there is a big monetary cost to them then it is almost impossible.    I do NOT believe that getting a colonoscopy is a right (life, liberty, colonoscopy and the pursuit of happiness) but others may.    Is it okay for people to choose not to have this test?   Should some law be made to make sure these tests get done (a new tax)?  If this is out of the doctors’ hands, should the colonoscopy be used as a quality indicator?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  7 comments for “Colonoscopy is a Tough Sell

  1. big picture doc
    March 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    And I wonder if it is the GI doc good ol boys club that has delayed the release of the genetic stool test for colon CA?

  2. Frank J. Rubino MD
    February 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I always thought a screening test should be inexpensive and easily available, not $2,000.00 and done by a specialist and requires 2 days off from work to perform. (1 day for the laxatives and the next day for the test and a designated driver to take you home.)

  3. Andrea Trescot, MD
    February 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I am very concerned that the GI docs, who benefit financially from the procedure, are the group that decided that patients should have regular colonoscopirs. I am a pain doctor; supp

  4. Pat
    February 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I’m just approaching my first such experience. If I ever enter politics, it should make valuable preparation.

  5. February 29, 2012 at 11:19 am

    For me, the exam is a “pleasure,” in the sense that I do not have to work and get the entire day off! As a bonus, I am doing something to protect me, my wife, and children.

    • Denn
      February 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      A ‘pleasure’? Man you need to look elsewhere for that. What do you call it after they have perforated your colon, caused a GI bleed or died from the procedure? (Yes, this does happen).

  6. Ann Deluty
    February 29, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I am now faced with my decadeal colonoscopy. I consider it an exercise in humiliation an degradation that I give up to god.
    Sort of the way guys drag crosses on Easter or flagellate themselves.
    Or like real Lent, wher you actually give up something.

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