Elective but Essential: Colonoscopy and Preventive Screenings are Important
Many hospitals and healthcare facilities are delaying elective surgeries and procedures, but it’s important to remember that colonoscopy screenings are essential for good health.
COVID-19 Delays Elective Procedures
The Delta variant has caused millions of medical procedures to be canceled or delayed. Now, with the acute resurgence of COVID-19, many hospitals are reallocating resources and delaying elective procedures like colonoscopy.
The term “elective” does not refer to the importance of the procedure or whether or not you should elect to have it. Instead, it simply distinguishes between surgeries for emergencies and those that can be scheduled in advance.
For example, knee replacements and non-emergency hernia repairs are considered elective procedures because patients can schedule these surgeries for a future date. Colonoscopy screenings are also elective procedures. However, it’s important to note that although the medical community classifies these procedures as “elective,” it doesn’t mean you should elect not to have them when you can.
Colonoscopies Are Essential Preventive Care
Colonoscopies are essential because they allow for early detection and removal of potentially cancerous polyps. According to the new guidelines of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, adults who are at average risk for colon cancer should begin screening at age 45.
Young-onset colon cancer is on the rise in the United States, and younger people tend to have more aggressive tumors that are more difficult to treat. Regular colonoscopies at recommended intervals help ensure your physician can detect and treat any developing polyp before it becomes cancerous.
Consider an Ambulatory Surgery Center for Colonoscopy
Even though some hospitals have pushed back colonoscopy screenings and other elective procedures and surgeries, you may have another option. Scheduling your colonoscopy at an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) may be a good choice for several reasons:
- Outpatient surgery centers are dedicated to specific procedures, not emergency or trauma, so your procedure may be less likely to be affected.
- ASCs are smaller than hospitals and have more convenient parking.
- Procedures may be more cost-effective at ASCs.
- Many patients say that ASCs feel comfortable and more like home.
Schedule Your Colonoscopy Before Your Deductible Resets
Have you met your deductible already? Schedule your colonoscopy before the end of the calendar year to take full advantage of your health plan’s benefits. Your deductible will reset in January, so contact your insurance company to verify your status.
Call a board-certified gastroenterologist and get on the schedule for your preventive colonoscopy screening before the year runs out.