If you live in Kentucky and cost is the barrier that’s keeping you from having your screening colonoscopy, we are here to help.
Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital has partnered with Kentucky CancerLink to help uninsured people receive a free colonoscopy. Since many people have been putting off important health screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our health care providers are concerned they will find later stage cancers as a result.
“I want to assure people that there are options available for safe cancer screenings and the best tool in the fight against cancer is early detection,” John Montville, executive director of the oncology service line at Lourdes Hospital (pictured above), shares.
A colonoscopy is an exam that allows doctors to check the large intestine for anything unusual. It’s the best method to find and prevent colorectal cancer. And when cancer is detected, it is usually in its most treatable, curable stage.
Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S. and incidences of colorectal cancer are rising in young people. The American Cancer Society now recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer begin regular screening at age 45.
“Age is the biggest indicator for this screening,” John shares. “Based on the fact that we are seeing colon cancer in younger people, we have started screening at earlier ages.”
To qualify for the Kentucky CancerLink Program, you must be at least 45, or have a family history of cancer if you’re not yet 45. You must also be uninsured or have a limited income and live in Kentucky. Kentucky CancerLink has an application that participants in the program must complete.
A few days before your colonoscopy, your doctor will recommend that you eat low fiber foods such as eggs, white rice, bananas or fruit with no skin. The day before your screening, you won’t eat any solid foods and drink clear liquids only, as well as the laxatives the doctor will prescribe to clear your colon.
“Don’t let the cost or the prep keep you from having your screening. While colonoscopy prep is not pleasant, it only lasts a few hours and is much, much better than developing and having to undergo treatment for colon cancer, which includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation,” John advises. “After you are done with your screening, treat yourself to a nice meal. You deserve it.”
To determine if you qualify for the colonoscopy screening program and schedule your appointment, call Kentucky CancerLink at 877-597-4655.
Curious about what exactly to do the day before, day of and day after your colonoscopy? Download our step-by-step guide.