BLOOMFIELD, Conn., March 28, 2014 - Better prevention, early detection, and treatment improvements have led to more than one million people in the United States surviving colorectal cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Despite these advancements, however, colorectal cancer remains the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., and is expected to kill 50,310 Americans in 2014.1
For the past nine years, Cigna (NYSE: CI) has been fighting colorectal cancer with its award-winning Colorectal Cancer Screening Program. This year, the company intends to reach two million people who are due for screening through a combination of targeted online messages and direct mail. Cigna has also produced a podcast on the importance of colorectal cancer screening.
In 2013, the national Colorectal Cancer Screening Program reached about 1.8 million customers through the company’s myCigna.com customer web portal. An additional 317,000 people received a special mailing to introduce the program to newly eligible customers and to help individuals remain current with recommended screening.
Overall, Cigna saw a 23.7 percent increase in colorectal cancer screening last year compared with 2012 statistics. Cigna data showed an 11.2 percent increase in colonoscopies in 2013, and a 188 percent increase in the rate of InSure® FIT™ and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) screenings. The large increase was due in part to Cigna sending kits directly to customers who previously used the InSure® FIT™ or who had previously demonstrated a preference for this type of screening.
The InSure® FIT™ at-home collection kit is easy and convenient. It is sensitive at detecting abnormalities in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Cigna has made an arrangement with Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) to arrange for the provision of the kit at no charge to the patient, and the laboratory processing fees are covered as a preventive benefit under most Cigna plans. Visit www.insuretest.com for more information about the test.
This year, approximately 280,000 newly eligible individuals covered by a Cigna medical plan who are between the ages of 50 and 64, and whose claims data indicate they have not had a colorectal cancer screening, will receive information in the mail about appropriate colon cancer screening tests, including colonoscopy. In addition, they will be offered the opportunity to request the InSure® FIT™ collection kit.
Approximately 19,000 Cigna customers who, based on Cigna claims data, completed either the at-home kit or a fecal occult blood test in the last three years and did not have a follow-up colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, have been selected to receive an InSure® FIT™ kit this year.
In addition, all Cigna customers between the ages of 50 and 64 will see a targeted message about colon cancer screening and the InSure® FIT™ kit whenever they log on to myCigna.com between the last week of March and July 12. Customers using the web portal for common online activities, such as finding a doctor, refilling a prescription, taking a health assessment, checking on coverage or reviewing a claim, will be exposed to this potentially life-saving message.
“Colorectal cancer is treatable and preventable, especially if detected early, which is why educating customers about screening is so important,” said Scott Josephs, M.D., Cigna national medical officer. “We saw a significant increase in the rate of screenings as a result of last year’s campaign, and we want that trend to continue in 2014 and beyond.”
A snapshot of Cigna's claims data in 2013 showed that colonoscopy is the most frequently used test. For new screenings, colonoscopies accounted for 43 percent. The InSure® FIT™ and the FOBT accounted for 56 percent of all new screenings. Because a colonoscopy with normal findings is generally only completed every ten years for a person of average risk, and the InSure® FIT™ or FOBT needs to be completed annually, colonoscopies still account for the majority of tests for Cigna customers who are current with recommended screening.
“While colonoscopy is the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening, many people may prefer the InSure® FIT™ collection kit. It’s easy to complete, and it’s convenient because it can be taken at home,” said Josephs. “We urge all of our customers to discuss colorectal cancer screening with their physicians to identify the most appropriate option for them. More people getting screened means more lives that potentially can be saved.”
Cigna customers who receive program information by mail 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 InSure® FIT™ results are mailed to individuals, who are encouraged to share positive or negative results with their primary care physician so that an appropriate follow-up screening plan may be arranged.
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, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York and their affiliates. 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 capabilities in over 30 countries and jurisdictions, with over 80 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
1 American Cancer Society website, Key Statistics About Colorectal Cancer.