BATON ROUGE, La. – March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds Louisianians they can be STRONGER THAN cancer with early detection and support from a team of health coaches.
Colorectal 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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It occurs at even higher rates in Louisiana.
The first step to being STRONGER THAN cancer is to get screened. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends screenings to start at 45 years old for most patients. People with a personal or family history of cancer or those who have other health conditions may need to be screened earlier. Blue Cross reminds you to talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors and when you should begin screening.
“I know talking about colon health can feel uncomfortable, but it’s important to talk to your doctor about when you should be screened,” said Dr. Jeremy Wigginton, Blue Cross medical director. “Staying up to date on your screenings can help your doctor find and detect pre-cancerous polyps or colorectal cancer early, when it is easier to treat.”
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.
If you’re not eligible for colon cancer screening, there are other healthy habits you can adopt to lower your cancer risks and keep your colon healthy:
“Following these steps can not only help you lower your risks for colon cancer, they also can lower your risk for many other long-term health conditions and keep you living well,” Wigginton said.
Support on Your Health Journey
Blue Cross members who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or another type of cancer can get help through every step of their health journey from Blue Cross’ care team. Blue Cross has an in-house clinical team of nurses, dietitians, pharmacists and social workers ready to educate, guide and stand with you.
Once you are enrolled in the Blue Cross Care Management program, a health coach can support you with personalized information, guidance and encouragement. It does not cost anything to work with a Blue Cross health coach. Visit bcbsla.com/Stronger to learn more or sign up for health coaching.
Learn more about colorectal cancer screening in this animated video (:44).
Cancer Screenings and Doctor Visits Live Educational Event
To help Louisianians be STRONGER THAN colon cancer, Blue Cross is hosting Medicare Made Easy: Cancer Screenings and Doctor Visits, a live educational event, today at noon.
Host and Blue Cross Health Care Economist Mike Bertaut and Medical Director Dr. Deirdre Barfield will discuss why it's so important for adults 65 and older to know when and why to have regular health screenings, including colorectal cancer tests. The insurer’s experts will share tips for how you can prepare for your annual visit with your health care provider and which resources are available to you.
Viewers can send in their questions to Blue Cross’ Facebook page before and during the live broadcast. Bertaut and Barfield will answer questions as time permits.
WHAT: Medicare Made Easy: Cancer Screenings and Doctor Visits (a live educational event)
WHO: Hosted by Health Care Economist Mike Bertaut and Medical Director Dr. Deirdre Barfield
WHEN: Today - Wednesday, March 23 at noon
All Medicare Made Easy educational events take place on Blue Cross’ Facebook page. Follow https://www.facebook.com/bcbsla to see future broadcast dates and share these events through your personal social media. You can also see past Medicare Made Easy broadcast on Blue Cross’ Facebook page and YouTube channel.
To learn more about Medicare and connect with an agent, call 1-800-568-1417 (TTY 711) or go to bcbslaplan.com/medicare. It does not cost you anything to work with an agent, and there is no obligation to buy.
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 health videos on 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.