Tag Archives: colon cancer

Get a colonoscopy, family of the late Tricia Moen urges

Tricia Moen, a South Kitsap High School graduate, was only 39 years old when she died May 6 of colorectal cancer. Moen, a producer at KOMO News was mourned by her colleagues, who celebrated her “quirky” humor and positive attitude, even during her difficult treatment and eventual progression of the disease.

Moen became an outspoken advocate for colon cancer screening, and as recently as March, appeared on KOMO’s HealthWatch to advise people not to delay having a colonoscopy. Guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend regular colon screenings beginning at age 50. But even people under 50 should be concerned about colorectal cancer, Moen said.

“I’m a perfect example anyone can get it,” she said in the HealthWatch interview.

The ACS recommends you discuss your health and family history to determine what colorectal cancer screening schedule is best for you.

In Moen’s obituary, her family wrote, “To honor Tricia’s memory, there are two things she would like you to do: first and most important, get your colonoscopy; second as you have been blessed by knowing her, please “Pay it Forward” by making a donation to komonews.com/tricia.”

In an article published Friday, the New York Times reported that insurance companies are recording record profits, “enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.”

Higher deductibles appear to be driving some patients’ decisions on when to seek care. One doctor interviewed for the article said he’s noticed a distinct change in patterns of his patients’ health care consumption.

“I am noticing my patients with insurance are more interested in costs,” said Dr. Jim King, a family practice physician in rural Tennessee. “Gas prices are going up, food prices are going up. They are deciding to put some of their health care off.”

King added patients are becoming more thoughtful about their medical needs. For example, fewer are “asking for an MRI as soon as they have a bad headache,” the article says.

Reining in medical costs by reducing unnecessary procedures will benefit consumers in the long run, so the theory goes. “People are realizing that this is my money, even if I’m not writing a check,” King said.

Looking at it strictly from a perspective of cost, however, too much delay could result in higher treatment costs later.

Looking at it from a patient’s point of view, I must admit I was reluctant to get a colonoscopy, but, at 55, was pretty much ordered by my doctor to do so. As many will testify, it was no big deal. Bowel preparation keeps you close to the bathroom the night before. On the day of the procedure, they give you some good drugs. You make a few tasteless jokes with the doctor if you’re so inclined. You go to sleep. You wake up, and it’s over.

If the doctor does find precancerous polyps in your colon, in many cases, they can be cauterized and treated on the spot. As mentioned, the schedule for re-screening depends on the results of the test and your health history.

My condolences to Tricia’s family, friends and colleagues. And thanks to Tricia for sharing this information.

I would be interested to know how many of you have postponed seeking medical or dental care due to cost within the last two years. Take the poll on the homepage of this blog. Comment below, if you care to, with your thoughts on health care consumption.