BLOOMFIELD, Conn., March 13, 2012 - While the American Cancer Society says that colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable, it remains the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in the United States and accounts for almost 10 percent of all cancer deaths. This month, nearly 600,000 Cigna (NYSE: CI) customers across the country will receive an important message in the mail as the company rolls out its award-winning Colorectal Cancer Screening Program for the seventh year. The program aims to increase the number of individuals who are screened for colorectal cancer, and also to identify the most effective outreach methods that result in more people getting tested.
Individuals covered by a Cigna medical plan who are 50 years of age or older, and whose claims data indicate they are overdue for a colorectal cancer screening, will receive information on appropriate colon cancer screening tests, including colonoscopy. In addition, they will have an opportunity to request the InSure® FITtm screening kit, an easy and convenient at-home test that is sensitive at detecting abnormalities in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX) provides the test at no charge, and the laboratory processing fees are covered as a preventive benefit under most Cigna plans. Visit www.insuretest.com for additional information about the test.
"Because the InSure FIT screening test can be completed at home, it's easy and convenient, and therefore more likely to be taken," said Scott Josephs, M.D., Cigna's national medical officer for health and wellness. "Colon cancer can be prevented through the removal of pre-cancerous polyps or detected early when effective treatments are available, which is why we encourage our customers to undergo screenings for colon cancer."
To learn more about colorectal cancer and the importance of screening, listen to this Cigna podcast.
Since launching the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in 2005, Cigna has partnered with both physician groups and clients to encourage individuals to get screened for colon cancer. In October 2010, Cigna teamed up with Phoenix-based Cigna Medical Group, the multi-specialty group practice of Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, as well as Fairfax Family Practice Centers, a primary care family medical practice based in Northern Virginia. Both groups experienced similar results in improving colorectal cancer screening rates.
"Collaborating with Cigna was a valuable reminder to our patients about the importance of screening," said Dr. Jim Jenkins, president of Fairfax Family Practice Centers.
"Our experience shows that when Cigna and medical practices jointly communicate with individuals, the response is more than 60 percent greater compared to when the communication comes solely from the health plan," said Kathryn Pierce, director of clinical initiatives for Cigna.
Cigna customers who receive program information also receive guidance about what to do if they have specific colorectal cancer symptoms, such as a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding or abdominal pain, which could require a complete evaluation by a physician. Confidential test results are mailed to customers, who are encouraged to share the results, whether positive or negative, with their primary care physicians so that an appropriate follow-up screening plan may be developed.
As part of Cigna's commitment to preventing colon cancer, funding provided by the Cigna Giving philanthropic program will enable Cigna medical professionals to participate in the Prevent Cancer Foundation's Dialogue for Action on Colorectal Cancer Screening in Baltimore, March 22 - 23. For more information on the conference, visit: www.preventcancer.org.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, and other related products including group disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 70 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.