Colon Cancer News
Would You Get Screened for a $5K Diamond?
As you may have seen in the news, a woman’s colonoscopy yielded quite a treasure: a 1.03-carat round brilliant cut diamond, worth $5,000. We sat down for a quick Q&A with Dr. Jose Mendoza to see how this recent finding might affect screening rates.
Q: Dr. Mendoza, what’s the likelihood that a gastroenterologist would find a diamond during a colonoscopy?
Unfortunately, the likelihood of finding a real diamond, at random, is very unlikely. In this story, the woman swallowed the diamond first. Unless you accidentally did the same, there is no chance they’d be finding a diamond during your test.
Although there is, at times, enormous pressure on the bowel system, the human body hasn’t yet been able to convert food matter into precious gems, yet. At least not to my knowledge.
Q: But, hypothetically speaking, do you think the public would be more open to getting a colonoscopy if they knew the result would be diamonds?
Hypothetically speaking, it probably would.
Q: And how much are these polyps worth?
On their own, polyps aren’t worth anything. But what is amazing is that when doctors remove these precancerous cells during a colonoscopy, they are actually stopping you from having colon cancer, right then and there. And that’s why screening tests are so valuable – because they can prevent cancer before it starts.
Q: And you can’t put a price on your health, can you?
Not per se, but we do know that the estimated annual national expenditure for colorectal cancer treatment is about $14 billion. Think of it this way - for an individual, the amount you’ll save by getting a colonoscopy when you’re supposed to is worth much more than a $5,000 diamond.
Q: Just to go back to our original story, do you think that the “diamond plus colonoscopy combination” is a screening method worth further study?
I think that the best way to get people screened is to effectively communicate how valuable this test is and why screening is so important. And to let them know that there are screening options besides a colonoscopy, plus other steps people can take to reduce their risk.
This means educating your friends, family and loved ones – and then doing whatever it takes to get them to talk to their doctor and schedule that test. It’s that important.