Getting screened for colon cancer can be life saving. Read this teacher's screening story. The American Cancer Society recommends all average-risk adults age 45 and older get screened, even if they have no symptoms and feel healthy. (New guidelines recently lowered the screening start age from 50 to 45.)
A variety of colon cancer screening options, including the noninvasive Cologuard® test, are available to you and are fully covered as a preventive screening by the Certificated Employee Health Plan.
Cologuard® noninvasive screening test
Taking two days out of the classroom to prep for and get a colonoscopy can be a challenge. That’s why MNPS is making an easy-to use, noninvasive colon cancer screening test available to you. It’s called Cologuard, a stool-based test that detects blood and DNA associated with colon cancer and pre-cancer. The Cologuard kit is free for employees and adult dependents enrolled in the Certificated Employee Health Plan who qualify. To order your kit, follow these steps:
1. Make sure you meet the following criteria:
I am age 45 or older.
I am due (or think I might be due) for colorectal cancer screening.
I have not experienced any symptoms of colon cancer, such as rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, significant change in stool habits or dark stools.
I do not have a personal or family history of colon cancer.
I have not had a positive colorectal screening test in the last 6 months.
I do not have any conditions associated with high risk for colon cancer. These include but are not limited to inflammatory bowel disease, chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and familial adenomatous polyposis.
2. Complete this brief online form.
A provider from the MNPS Health Care Centers will contact you to confirm your kit order and give you some important details.
If you think you might not be a candidate for Cologuard based on the above criteria, it might be more appropriate to schedule an appointment with the MNPS Health Care Centers at 615-259-8755 or your health care provider to discuss other screening options.
Colon cancer screening
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, but one of the most preventable and treatable cancers if found early.
Frequently asked questions
I have my own primary care provider (PCP). Can I get screened through him/her?
Yes. You may ask your PCP for an order for the Cologuard kit (the kit is available by prescription only). Your results will go to your PCP rather than the MNPS Health Care Centers. Or you can simply use this webpage to start a conversation with your PCP about your screening options.
Why would I use the Cologuard kit rather than get a regular colonoscopy?
Many people put off getting screened because of time constraints and/or the bowel prep and sedation required with a colonoscopy. This is valuable time lost when early detection is important. Cologuard is a convenient option for those at average risk of colon cancer. It’s noninvasive, requires no prep or sedation, and can be performed at home. This makes Cologuard an attractive option for some.
We strongly encourage getting screened for colon cancer. Choosing how to be screened is a personal decision and should be discussed with a trusted health care provider.
I may be experiencing symptoms similar to those you described as colon cancer warning signs. What should I do?
Make an appointment with your PCP right away to discuss the best course of action. If you don’t have a PCP, we invite you to visit the MNPS Health Care Centers to get established with one of our PCPs.