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Cancer screenings and preventive care

Go the distance with preventive care
Along with a healthy diet and exercise, preventive care puts you on the path to living your healthiest life. 

One goal of good preventive care is to catch potential issues to treat them as soon as possible. It also gives your doctor the chance to make recommendations for screenings and vaccinations. 

When you’re young, preventive care is usually as simple as getting a regular checkup with your doctor. But as you age, preventive care begins to include checkups and screenings beyond the typical tests, including cancer screenings.

Screening for Colon Cancer
In the U.S., colon cancer (colorectal cancer) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in adults and the third leading cause of death by cancer in adults.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends starting routine colon cancer screenings at age 45. Routine screenings help doctors detect it early and begin treatment when it’s usually most effective.

A colonoscopy is the most sensitive colon cancer test. Your doctor uses a long flexible tube with a camera to see the lining of the colon through the rectum to detect polyps. Sometimes cell samples are taken for analysis. Colonoscopies are typically performed every ten years if no abnormalities are found and you don't have an above average risk of colon cancer.

Screening for Cervical Cancer
All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women over age 30. Regular screenings, along with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, can help prevent cervical cancer. When found early, this cancer is highly treatable.

It’s common for women to receive a Pap smear (also called a pelvic exam) during a cervical cancer screening. Your doctor will collect a sample of cells from your cervix to test for any abnormal or precancerous cells. You usually need to get tested every three years starting at age 21. Women 30 to 65 should aim to get tested for a Pap smear with HPV every five years.

Screening for Breast Cancer
Women over the age of 40 should receive mammograms every 1 to 2 years, as recommended by your doctor. Mammograms use X-rays to examine the breast tissue and can detect changes before you can feel them. During your visit, your doctor checks the breast tissue for any lumps or abnormal areas. 

Preventive care services
Remember, all Service Benefit Plan members can access preventive care services at no cost when seeing a Preferred provider. Staying up on preventive care is one of the best things you can do for your health. Plus, if you are an FEP Blue Focus member, you can get rewarded for getting your routine annual physical. Click here to learn more.



Published on: April 04, 2024