5 ways you can prevent colorectal cancer

Did you know that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States? Make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent it, including getting help from Medicare.

Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 50 and older. It’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so this is a great time to do 5 things to stop this cancer in its tracks.

  1. Get screened
  2. Exercise
  3. Maintain a healthy weight
  4. Don’t drink too much alcohol
  5. Don’t smoke

You don’t have to do it alone—Medicare covers colorectal cancer screenings to help you detect and prevent colorectal cancer, and you’ll pay nothing for most of them.

Do what you can so you’re not one of the 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, and let Medicare help.

Get smart about kidney disease

Did you know that 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease? Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney failure and being 60 or older.

The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But, if you’ve already been diagnosed, ask your doctor if you’re eligible for Medicare’s kidney education sessions. Medicare’s kidney education can teach you how to take the best possible care of your kidneys and give you information you need to make informed decisions about your care. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers up to 6 kidney disease education sessions, if you have Stage IV chronic kidney disease. Session topics include:

  1. How to manage other diseases related to your kidney disease, like diabetes and high blood pressure
  2. How to prevent complications of kidney disease
  3. How your kidneys work
  4. What to eat and drink
  5. How your prescription drugs work
  6. What options you have if your kidneys get worse, like dialysis and kidney transplants

March is National Kidney Month. Learn more about kidney disease, and Medicare-covered kidney services to be sure you’re making educated choices about your kidney health.

Want a healthier lifestyle? Medicare can help.

“Health is wealth,” the old saying goes. However, the wealth of food choices in the U.S. doesn’t always contribute to the health of Americans. In fact, 69% of adults are considered overweight or obese. Finding little time to exercise or prepare balanced meals, and using cars instead of walking has contributed to this epidemic.

An unhealthy body weight can increase your risk of having serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

With all the information available on eating healthy and exercising, it’s sometimes hard to come up with a plan that will work for you. Not sure how to get started? Medicare can help.

Medicare covers obesity screening and counseling. These behavioral counseling sessions can help you lose weight if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.

Making small changes and celebrating along the way can help you achieve goals and maintain your success. MyPlate MyWins offers tools and tips for finding a healthy eating style. And, the resources at Eat right® can help you increase your nutrition know-how, shop wiser at the grocery store, and prepare healthy meals for your family.

Celebrate National Nutrition Month by adding healthy eating and regular exercise to your lifestyle.

Save lives—become a donor

Right now, there are over 118,000 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants, and many more who need cornea, tissue, bone marrow, blood, and platelet donations. Registering as a donor means you can help save up to 8 lives through organ donations and help countless others.

There are 2 ways to become a donor:

  1. Deceased organ donors—can donate both kidneys, liver, both lungs, heart, pancreas, and intestines.
  2. Living organ donors—can donate one kidney, one lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestine.

Over 80% of people on the transplant list need a kidney transplant, usually due to permanent kidney failure or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Medicare covers kidney transplants for both the person getting the transplant and the donor. If you’re getting the transplant, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for doctor services. You pay nothing if you’re the living donor.

Celebrate National Donor Day on February 14th by giving the gift of life—sign up to become an organ donor today.

This Valentine’s Day, give your heart the gift of love

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 for both men and women, taking about 610,000 lives each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

You might not be able to avoid Cupid’s arrow, but you can take steps to lower your risks and help prevent heart disease. Start by scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss whether you’re at risk for heart disease.

Medicare covers a cardiovascular disease 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.

February is American Heart month, so start showing your heart love by visiting the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center. Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by the end of this year. The resource center was developed in partnership with EatingWell magazine, and features lower sodium, heart-healthy recipes and family-friendly meal plans to help manage sodium intake, a major contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease. All the recipes include nutritional facts and average cost per serving information. Use the search and filter options to quickly find the right meal for yourself and your family.

While you’re celebrating family and friends this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to show your heart some love, too.

Keep an eye out for glaucoma

Are you at a high risk of getting glaucoma? Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes loss of vision—usually side vision—by damaging the optic nerve, which sends information from your eyes to your brain.

Fortunately, you can help prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early—and Medicare can help. We cover a glaucoma screening once every 12 months for people at high risk for glaucoma. You’re considered at high risk if you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions:

  • Do you have diabetes or a family history of glaucoma?
  • Are you African American and 50 or older?
  • Are you Hispanic American and 65 or older?

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month—the perfect time to check on your eye health.

Watch our glaucoma awareness video to learn more.

Find cervical cancer early—get screened

About 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. All women are at risk, but it occurs most often in women over 30. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest female cancers to prevent. There are 2 screening tests to find cervical cancer early.

Medicare covers the HPV test and Pap tests every 24 months for all women and every 12 months if you’re at high risk. The CDC recommends getting regular pap tests starting at 21.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Watch our Cervical Health Awareness Month video and visit our cervical & vaginal cancer screenings page to learn more about these tests.