Did you know colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among cancers that affect both men and women? If everyone 50 or older got screened regularly, as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.
In most cases, colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Fortunately, screening tests can find these polyps, so you can get them removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.
It’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month – do what you can to reduce your risk for colorectal cancer. If you’re 50 or older, or have a personal or family history of colorectal issues, make sure you get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. Don’t worry about the cost—Medicare covers a variety of colorectal cancer screenings, and you pay nothing for most tests.
Although popular love songs might tell you otherwise, a broken heart can’t kill you – but heart disease can. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
You might not be able to avoid Cupid’s arrow, but you can take steps to lower your risks and prevent heart disease. Start by scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss whether you’re at risk for heart disease.
Medicare will cover a cardiovascular screening at no cost to you every 5 years. The screening includes tests to help detect heart disease early and measures cholesterol, blood fat (lipids), and triglyceride levels.
If you and your doctor discover that you’re at risk for a heart attack or stroke, there are steps you can take to help prevent these conditions. You might be able to make lifestyle changes (like changing your diet and increasing your activity level or exercising more often) to lower your cholesterol and stay healthy.
Luckily, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. The national Million Hearts campaign has pledged to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next 5 years. You can join them, and get information and resources you need to learn how to take care of your heart and live a healthy life.
February is American Heart Month, and a healthy heart is the best Valentine’s Day gift you could ever give yourself, or the people who love you.
Have you had your mammogram this year?
Mammograms are breast cancer screening tests that can often detect a lump before you or your doctor can feel it. This can help detect breast cancer early, when it’s the most treatable. All women over 40 should have a screening mammogram every 12 months – and Medicare covers it at no cost if your doctor accepts assignment.
Talk to your doctor about risk factors, and to schedule your next screening. Take control of your health – better health is in your hands.
It’s that time of year again. With the beginning of fall comes the beginning of flu season.
Get your flu shot early and stay healthy! It’s free for people with Medicare, once per flu season in the fall or winter, when given by doctors or other health care providers (such as senior centers and pharmacies) that take Medicare.
Schedule your flu shot today!
Keeping your immune system strong is a lifelong, life-protecting job, but we’ve got you covered. Your Medicare preventive benefits include three shots:
- Flu Shots—Covered once a flu season in the fall or winter.
- Hepatitis B Shots—Covered for people at high or medium risk for Hepatitis B (usually a series of three shots).
- Pneumococcal Shot—Covered to help prevent pneumococcal infections (like certain types of pneumonia). Most people only need this shot once in their lifetime.
Getting your shots has never been easier. As we approach the fall season, you will see these shots offered in many places, such as your local pharmacy, so make sure you take advantage of them. As long as the supplier or doctor accepts assignment for giving the shot, you pay nothing.
You can take control of your health with Medicare’s preventive benefits. Get free screenings to detect cancer early, when treatment works best. Preventing and stopping the progress of chronic diseases improves your health and quality of life. It also helps Medicare spend less on long-term illnesses that could have been prevented.
If you have Medicare, you can get the following screenings:
- Colorectal cancer screenings – four different screenings to detect colon and rectal cancers, each is covered as needed for all people age 50 and older
- Prostate cancer screenings – covered for all men age 50 or older
- Mammograms – screenings to detect breast cancer, covered for all women age 40 or older
- Pap test and pelvic exams – screenings to detect cervical and vaginal cancers, covered for all women
- Smoking cessation counseling – help quitting smoking, to help prevent lung, throat, and other cancers; covered for all people who use tobacco
Call your doctor’s office to set up your yearly preventive visit, where you can ask about any risk factors that may affect you, and schedule your preventive screenings. Your doctor can also help you keep track of when you should get screenings and which kinds are right for you.