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If you put off a colonoscopy in 2020, reschedule as soon as possible

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. This type of cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and it’s the third most-common type of cancer diagnosed in men and women, according to the CDC.

While colorectal cancer is common nationally, it occurs at even higher rates in Louisiana. According to Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs, the state has the country’s fourth-highest death rate from colorectal cancer. Louisiana unfortunately also has a below-average rate of eligible patients being screened for colorectal cancer. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds you to talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors and when you should begin screening.

The U.S. Preventive Health Services Task Force recommends everyone start colorectal cancer screening at age 50. People who have a family history of colorectal cancer, certain inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease or colitis, and people with genetic risk factors might need to begin screening at younger ages.

“The best thing to do is have a conversation with your healthcare provider to find out when you should start screening and what type of test is best for you, based on your family history and any risk factors you have,” said Dr. Jeremy Wigginton, Blue Cross medical director. “Colonoscopy is the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening, but there are other tests, including some you can do at home.”

In addition to detecting colorectal cancer, screening can also pick up pre-cancerous polyps, which healthcare providers can remove before they turn into cancer. Most health plans and Medicare plans cover colorectal cancer screening at very low or $0 out-of-pocket costs.

Many health plans have shopping tools that let you see what colorectal cancer screening and other common screenings or tests cost at different providers near you. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana members can use Smart Shopper, at bcbsla.com/SmartShopper, to see what they can expect to pay for colonoscopies or other screenings at different facilities in their networks.

 

Visit bcbsla.com/Stronger to learn more or sign up for free health coaching.