Direct Access Colonoscopy: A More Convenient Colon Cancer Screening
While colonoscopies are the most effective method of colon cancer detection, it’s not uncommon to push them off past the baseline screening age of 50. Some people are leery about the preparation and the procedure. For others, like Regina Fleming, not scheduling a colonoscopy is simply a matter of convenience.
Regina, 52, couldn’t find the time to take off work for a pre-procedural consult as well as the procedure itself. However, that all changed when her primary care specialist, Joanne Ownbey, MSN, FNP-C, informed her of a new service available at Jefferson Health in New Jersey: a direct access colonoscopy.
A direct access colonoscopy was the perfect solution for Regina, who was not only undergoing her first colonoscopy, but was the first patient of Joanne’s to try this new route. Because she was not at high-risk for colon cancer, nor did she have other pertinent health complications, she was able to skip the pre-procedural consult with a gastroenterologist that is typically required.
“Joanne told me all about this new process that would save me time,” Regina said. “And it really did. I hardly had to do anything. I left my visit with Joanne, and before I knew it, I was getting a call to schedule the procedure.”
“If you’re eligible and choose to go through with it, your primary care specialist will complete the necessary checklist and questionnaire at the time of your visit,” explained Joanne, of Sicklerville Primary & Specialty Care. “Then, they will send a referral to the GI department, who will double check all of the qualifications, ensuring your safety during the procedure.”
According to Joanne, a few of these qualifications include:
- No family history of colon cancer
- No prior problems with colonoscopies, such as pre-cancerous polyps
- A BMI below 45
- No serious respiratory complications, such as COPD, with CPAP use
After both the primary care specialist and GI department approve of the patient’s health status, the patient will be contacted to schedule their procedure. The day of the procedure, a patient history will always be reviewed beforehand.
“This was the easiest thing I’ve done in regard to doctor’s visits,” said Regina. “If you’re crunched for time, a direct access colonoscopy is super beneficial. It cut out so much effort on my part.”
Joanne believes that direct access colonoscopies will allow more and more patients to get screened when they’re supposed to. “For the patient, it is a simpler scheduling process. For the physician, there is great peace of mind in knowing that their patient is healthy.”