Colon Cancer Alliance and American College of Radiology demand Medicare cover virtual colonoscopy

In response to a study published online Feb. 23 in Radiology which showed that virtual colonoscopies are comparably affective to standard colonoscopy at detecting colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps in adults ages 65 and older, the Colon Cancer Alliance and the American College of Radiology released a joint statement demanding Medicare cover seniors for screening virtual colonoscopies — also known as CT colonography.

"The minimal invasiveness and lower cost of CT colonography can attract more seniors to be screened if Medicare will cover them for the exam. Many seniors, who might not get tested otherwise, can't afford the added cost of paying for the exam themselves and may ultimately pay with their lives if Medicare does not provide coverage," said Andrew Spiegel, Colon Cancer Alliance Chief Executive officer.

The joint CCA/ACR statement noted that this latest study echoes results of a major study of patients ages 50 and older published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 and others since that demonstrated that CT colonography can serve as a frontline colorectal cancer screening tool.

"CT colonography is endorsed by the American Cancer Society as a recommended screening test. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center (TEC) named virtual an effective screening tool. CIGNA, UnitedHealthcare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and other insurers cover screening virtual colonoscopy. Yet, Medicare refuses to cover seniors for this life-saving exam. All the while, thousands die needlessly each year from a disease that is nearly always treatable when caught early. This must change," said Judy Yee, MD, chair of the American College of Committee.

Related Stories

CT colonography shown to be comparable to standard colonoscopy

date Feb 23, 2012

Computerized tomographic (CT) colonography (CTC), also known as virtual colonoscopy, is comparable to standard colonoscopy in its ability to accurately detect cancer and precancerous polyps in people ages 65 and older, according ...

Recommended for you

Study finds new potential melanoma drug target

date May 02, 2015

A new treatment for melanoma could be on the horizon, thanks to a finding by a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center-led team. In the study, which was published online today in the journal Clinical Ca ...

Surgery for terminal cancer patients still common

date May 02, 2015

The number of surgeries performed on terminally ill cancer patients has not dropped in recent years, despite more attention to the importance of less invasive care for these patients to relieve symptoms and ...

Study provides comprehensive look at brain cancer treatments

date May 01, 2015

Led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and UC San Francisco (UCSF), a comprehensive genetic review of treatment strategies for glioblastoma brain tumors was published today in the Oxford University Press ...

How artificial tanning can lead to melanoma

date May 01, 2015

Young women may be up on the latest fashions and trends as they prepare for prom season. But what many don't know is that the tan that looks oh-so-good with their dress may be the first step toward skin cancer.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.