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Perspective
Health Care Reform
August 2016

Ascertaining Costs and Benefits of Colonoscopy More Difficult Than the Procedure Itself

Author Affiliations
  • 1Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute, Washington, DC
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(8):1055-1056. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3292

My grandfather died of colorectal cancer when my mother was 13 years old, a catastrophic event that tore his family apart.1 When I was a child and even a young adult, his death seemed to me more an abstraction than a tragedy that unfolded slowly, devastating people I love.

Things change. In my 20s, I saw up close what this illness does to its middle-aged victims and their families. In my 30s, I watched my father-in-law suffer in much the same way before saying good-bye to his daughters and grandchildren. And after decades of watching young faces turn slowly into old ones, I started to see, in my mother, a girl who lost the most important man in her life just as she was about to enter high school, a girl who was then uprooted and sent to live 200 miles from home.

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