BATON ROUGE, La. – If you recently turned 45 or are turning 45 in 2022, it’s time to ask your health care provider about colorectal cancer screening.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is raising awareness of the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation to begin screening for this form of cancer at 45 years old.
“Until 2021, the recommendation was to start colonoscopy and other colorectal cancer screening at age 50. Health officials have seen more diagnoses of this form of cancer in younger adults in recent years, and they’ve lowered the screening age recommendation to 45,” said Blue Cross Medical Director Dr. Jeremy Wigginton. “Keep in mind this age recommendation is for individuals with average risks. If you have a personal or family history of cancer or you’ve been diagnosed with health conditions like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you may need to be screened earlier.”
It’s important for everyone to schedule an annual wellness visit (VIDEO:47) with their health care providers while it’s still early in the year to ask about colorectal cancer, their risks and when you should begin screening, Dr. Wigginton said.
“That’s especially important if you are 45 or older, or if you were supposed to have a colonoscopy during the past two years but had to put it off because of COVID-19 shutdowns,” he said. “Get in touch with your health care provider now and start making plans to schedule a colonoscopy or any other screenings you’ll need this year. Screening saves lives – but, you need to get tested.”
Colonoscopy is one of the most effective types of cancer screening because it can catch the disease in its earliest stages, when treatment is most likely to succeed, he added. “A colonoscopy is the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening, but there are other types of tests. Ask your health care provider which one is best for you and your personal situation,” Dr. Wigginton said.
Learn more about colorectal cancer screening in this animated video (:44).
Blue Cross and other health insurers cover colorectal cancer screening for eligible members at very low or no out-of-pocket cost. Contact Customer Service for your health plan (the number is on your member ID card) to find out how cancer screening is covered and how much you would pay.
Blue Cross Health Care Economist Mike Bertaut recently wrote a post for the insurer’s multimedia Straight Talk blog about colorectal cancer screening, how it saves lives and ways you can shop around to decide where to get tested.
Blue Cross members who have been diagnosed with cancer can get health coaching, information and support from the insurer’s clinical team. Health coaches include nurses, dietitians, social workers and pharmacists. Members do not pay anything to work with a health coach. Visit www.bcbsla.com/Stronger for more information about Care Management services and programs.
Follow Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA throughout March to see original graphic designs, videos and other messages to help Louisianians learn how they can be STRONGER THAN Cancer. Download, share or post these messages on your personal social media with the hashtags #StrongerThanCancer | #45IsTheNew50 and inspire your loved ones to get screened. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok.
Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos with the clinical team and others discussing colorectal cancer and other health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past three years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.