COOKEVILLE – Gastroenterologists at Cookeville Regional Medical Group are offering a new program for colonoscopy screening.
Doctors are now offering an “open access colonoscopy” for convenience of patients. Open access colonoscopy allows healthy, age-appropriate patients to receive a screening colonoscopy without an initial office visit.
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for both men and women combined. To help prevent or detect cancer early, it’s important to get a screening colonoscopy starting at age 50. For adults at increased or high risk of developing colorectal cancer, the screening should take place before.
“It is so important that people begin getting colonoscopy screenings at 50,” gastroenterologist Michael Zelig, M.D., said. “Colorectal cancer can be prevented by removing suspicious polyps before they become cancerous, and if found early, the chances of cure are much higher. If someone has a personal history of bowel disease or a strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, he or she should discuss screening recommendations with a primary care provider and the possibility of earlier screening.”
Open access colonoscopy allows a patient that has met certain health criteria to skip the initial office visit and be scheduled directly for a colonoscopy.
“With open access colonoscopy we are simply making it more convenient for healthy patients to have the screening done without an initial office visit,” Zelig said. “This type of screening is routine, and if a patient is healthy and meets the screening criteria, we want to make it easier for them to have the screening.”
Patients may be referred to the program by their primary care provider, or if their insurance does not require a referral, the patient may call the office directly to schedule a colonoscopy exam. The patient will then fill out a brief medical history questionnaire to determine if the patient is a candidate for the open access program. The questionnaire is available online at http://www.crmchealth.org/age50.
Once the questionnaire is reviewed by a clinician, qualified patients will then be scheduled directly for a colonoscopy. If not qualified for the open access program, the patient will be scheduled to see a gastroenterologist in the office prior to scheduling the test.