In recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is encouraging Texans to talk to their health care provider about getting screened for colorectal cancer. To make testing more accessible, the Texas Medicaid program recently added at-home colorectal cancer screening tests as a covered benefit for eligible clients.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 11,300 Texans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year and approximately 4,070 Texans will die from the disease during the same time frame. In cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
“Regular screening is the first line of defense to prevent the spread of colorectal cancer in its early stages when it’s easier to treat,” said Dr. Ryan Van Ramshorst, chief medical director for Medicaid and CHIP Services. “Early detection of cancer saves lives, and it all starts with talking to your doctor and asking what options are available to you.”
FIT-DNA is an at-home, contactless stool test. After visiting a health care provider, a Medicaid client can receive a FIT-DNA test kit by mail. Once the client completes the test at home, a delivery driver picks up the kit and sends it to a lab. This at-home testing is non-invasive and more convenient for clients with limited access to colonoscopy services.
The Texas Medicaid program also covers other colorectal screenings, and some genetic testing and treatments for eligible clients. Information about Medicaid benefits and eligibility is posted here.
Starting this year, Texas Medicaid recipients who are at least 45 years old are eligible for colorectal screenings. Previously, the minimum age was 50. The change reflects new recommendations from the American Cancer Society which has noted a trend of earlier onset of colorectal cancer.