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where to turn for screening

Posts: 60
Joined: Aug 2003

hello! i have been reading all of you all amazing stories for a couple of years now........and had many laughs thanks to spongebob......hey sponge! dont know if ya remember me! well anyway..... my story goes....my mom died of colon cancer almost 4 years ago at the age of 46. I am 32. we do not have health insurance. I have exhausted myself trying to find somewhere where i can get a lowcost colonoscopy. Someplace where they charge according to income type of thing. I do not have any symtoms and i seem healthy but my mom did too when the whole time she had been walking around with it in her colon, liver, lungs and brain! not only her but her mother and grandmother had it. i had looked at every website, looked at clinical studies, called all the local teaching hospitals and non are willing to offer any help. All i keep getting is numbers to call and then i call and hit a dead end.......it is so frustrating! we do not have health insurance it will have to be paid out of my pocket and everywhere i have called around here quotes me between $2000 to $3000 for one......i always see the ads for getting screened becasue it is so preventable but when your living off $26000 a year for a 5 person household that is kinds hard to choke up that kind of money. any resources or websites or numbers i can call would be greatly appreciated! bless you! Danielle

kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003


Check with your local American Cancer Society chapter, they may have some suggestions. I would begin calling gastroenterologists and ask them about non-insurance payments. I know some doctors discount up to 40% for uninsured individuals.

I know it is so frustrating when you hear all the reminders and recommendations for early detection and you just CAN'T AFFORD IT. Keep checking, don't quit, something will turn up and with your history you need a colonoscopy soon. Please don't settle for a sigmoidoscopy - I had one at the recommendation of my internist and less than a year later was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. He never saw the lower part of my colon.

Best of luck to you.

Remember this is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month....tell that to some of the docs and see what they say.

Best of luck.


Posts: 60
Joined: Aug 2003

thanks kerry! i did call my local chapter and they were really nice and gave me a # to call but like all the others it was a dead end. Its like they want nothing to do with me since i am under 50. Sadly enough i have called all of our local gastros and the first thing they ask is if i have insurance and when i tell them no that is when they wham me with those prices. I watched a show on tv the other day about price gouging on people that do not have insurance, sometimes they charge 5 times more than what they are willing to accept from an insurance company. its sad that hospitals are willing to absorb all the cost of surguries and treatments rather than give someone a test that will save their life and save the system milions of dollars. if that was the case my mom might still be here. thanks again!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I was 49 when I was dx with cc. Many people fall under the radar on this, but you need to keep pushing. My grandfather died from cc. I used that to push thru. I don't know where you are, but have you checked into MediGap insurance? In California its called MediCal. NOT just for people on welfare, anyone can apply when the financial situation is right. This would open the way for you to get medical for not only you, but your family, too. These are state-administered programs, but I believe they are federal. Look into it, might work.
All luck,

Posts: 60
Joined: Aug 2003

thankyou kathi.we do have medicaid here if it is the same thing......they only cover you if you are pregnant or disabled but i will check into what you mentioned.thanks again!

Posts: 42
Joined: Dec 2005

danielle, my daughter was dx last year at age 22 with stage 3 rectal cancer. she has a twin sister who has no health insurance. my daughter's gastroenterologist is doing the colonoscopy for free next week. he told us he likes to think he's in the business of helping people. have you contacted the gastro who treated your mom? if he has any conscience at all, he should be willing to do this for you, especially when he checks the records and sees your family history. lots of good luck to you and don't give up. susan

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Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

Hi. Another possibility may be in county care. Where do you live? In Chicago and Houston (the cities I know of) there is county health care -- that I believe you would qualify for with your income and number of people in the house. Have you checked into that possibility? What about talking to a social worker or the united way? Try calling united way - they may be able to provide some help. Good luck. jana

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Danielle -

Sure I remember you - didn't you just get married about a year ago? I hope everything is going well for you.

There is some really great advice here. I think Susan and Jana may have hit on a couple of options. Another option that Babs alluded to is making payments.

there are a couple of preliminary tests you may want to do before you go for gold with a scope - have the doctor draw a CEA on you and/or do a fecal occult test that screens you for blood in your stool. These are two of the main symptoms and would tend to make the doctors want to look further (and perform a scope). No doubt they're cheaper than just jumping into getting a colonoscopy.

Best regards

- SpongeBob

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004


if you live near a comprehensive cancer center or a fairly big cancer clinic, call them. I know 2 people around my area that raise money for charities that help people pay their cancer bills.

Lisa P.

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