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)
|Scores of teenage girls in Colombian town struck by mystery illness|
Authorities say they still don't know what caused more than 200 girls in El Carmen de Bolivar to come down with symptoms ranging from fainting to numbness in the hands and headaches.
|4 first-aid remedies in your kitchen|
Some of the best first-aid tools can be found in your kitchen. While you should always have some Band-Aids and first-aid ointment in your bathroom cabinet, there are some things in your house you may not have thought about that could help out in a health crisis
|CDC flies home US staffer who had 'low-risk' Ebola contact|
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday it flew an employee back to the United States from West Africa after the staff member came in contact with an international healthcare worker who later tested positive for Ebola.
|Tomatoes may reduce prostate cancer risk, study says|
Eating tomatoes may lower your risk for prostate cancer by nearly 20 percent, according to a U.K. study
|Xenon gas exposure shows potential as PTSD treatment, study says|
Xenon gas, normally used for anesthesia or diagnostic imaging, may treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to new research from McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.
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 Sleepy Hollow
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