Patients willing to undergo CT colonography discouraged by costs

Costs of computed tomography colonography (CTC) discourage patients who have previously refused colorectal cancer screening, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology (2010 Aug;195(2):393-7).

The study, led by Chin Hur, MD, included 68 patients who had been offered colorectal cancer screening. Patients participated in a questionnaire and were asked about their willingness to undergo CTC and about other relevant factors, including the costs of procedures.

According to background information provided in the press release announcing the findings, the currently charged rate for CTC is between $500 and $1500.

Researchers found that a significant number of patients, who had previously refused colorectal cancer screening, are willing to undergo CTC, but are not willing to pay for the exam themselves when not covered by insurance. Specifically, while 83% of patients stated they would be willing to undergo a CTC study, 70% stated that they would not be willing to pay out-of-pocket fees if insurance did not cover the costs.

“After being informed about CTC as a screening technique for colorectal cancer, the majority of currently nonadherent patients stated that they would be willing to have a CTC screening study, suggesting that CTC availability could improve screening rates,” said Dr. Hur. “However, the majority of participants were not willing to pay out-of-pocket expenses, and even among those who were willing, most were not willing to pay currently charged fees.”

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