FOX 47 - Health News
"We set everything up and I was ready to go," Waldhart said. "Two days before I was supposed to have it, I got a call from my nurse saying the insurance company had denied it, and wouldn't pay for it."
Waldhart's family had some money problems at the time, so he put the colonoscopy on hold. Four years later, he finally got the test, and learned he had stage IV colon cancer.
Waldhart had surgery to remove part of his colon, and 13 chemotherapy treatments.
"It wears you out, pretty bad toward the end," he said.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. -- 150,000 Americans are diagnosed every year.
Last year, colon cancer killed 900 people in Wisconsin.
"One of the things that makes colon cancer different from many forms of cancers is it takes a long time for colon cancer to form," said Dan Mulkerin, M.D., an oncologist at UW Carbone Cancer Center.
Dr. Mulkerin says routine screening save lives, "About 80 to 90 percent of colon cancers are completely preventable."
Colonoscopies reveal pre-cancerous polyps, which are subsequently removed, reducing the risk of cancer.
Still, many insurance companies don't cover the cost of routine tests, until a patient has symptoms, like blood in the stool. By then, it's often too late.
The Wisconsin Senate passed a bill in October of 2009 requiring insurance companies to cover colonoscopies, for everyone 50 or older, and younger people who are high risk (based on American Cancer Society guidelines).
However, when it got to the Assembly, lawmakers there stripped away that requirement. Instead, they want the state insurance commissioner to make the decision.
Waldhart, who testified before the legislature, says he hopes they reconsider. For now, his cancer is in check.
"It could come back at anytime. My doctor told me I will never be cancer-free. It's always going to be on my mind. I think about it everyday."
The American Cancer Society says it's still unclear whether the federal health care reform bill will cover colon screenings.
Sun. - Fri. on FOX 47 News at 9!
Top Health Headlines (foxnews.com)
|Dr. Manny: Why are there deadly viruses in the world?|
The field of medicine has made great strides over the last century, but it seems for every deadly virus we learn to control and prevent, there's another waiting in the wings
|Teen cancer survivor fundraising for new teeth after insurance refuses to pay|
Alex Hunter, 16, beat cancer twice— but now he needs dentures after having his teeth removed, reported USA Today.
|ER in North Carolina blocked off amid infectious disease fears|
State health officials confirmed a section of the Carolinas Medical Center emergency room in Charlotte was blocked off Wednesday while a patient was being tested for a possible infectious disease
|Weight-loss supplement linked to liver failure case|
A healthy 35-year-old woman who took a weight-loss supplement developed liver failure, and needed a liver transplant, according to a new report of her case
|10 worst states for health care|
For a nation that spends more than two times as much as other industrialized countries— totaling almost $3 trillion a year— on health care costs, it would stand to reason that Americans should be the picture of health. But in reality, we have shorter life spans, higher infant death rates and more cases of chronic illness than other wealthy countries, according to a new WalletHub report
Tonight on FOX 47
5:00pm Two and a Half Men
5:30pm Big Bang Theory
6:00pm Modern Family
6:30pm Big Bang Theory
7:00pm So You Think You Can Dance
9:00pm FOX 47 News at 9
9:35pm Modern Family
10:05pm Two and a Half Men
10:35pm Everybody Loves Raymond
11:05pm The Arsenio Hall Show