Are you the type of guy who puts off doing a task or getting a test and later wished you’d just gotten it over with? If you’re a man with Medicare, now’s the time to talk with your doctor about whether you should get screened for prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, or both. Screening tests can find cancer early, when treatment works best.
Don’t let the cost become your excuse to put off screenings—Medicare covers a digital rectal exam and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test once every 12 months for men 50 or over. Also, Medicare covers a variety of colorectal cancer screenings—like the fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy—and you pay nothing for most tests.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer deaths. About 1 out of 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Not sure if you should get screened? You’re at a higher risk for getting prostate cancer if you’re a man 50 or older, are African-American, or have a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer.
Colorectal cancer is also common among men—in fact, it’s the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among cancers that affect both men and women. If everyone 50 to 75 got screened regularly, we could avoid as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer.
In most cases, colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Fortunately, screening tests can find these polyps, so you can get them removed before they turn into cancer. If you’re 50 or older, or have a personal or family history of colorectal issues, make sure you get screened regularly for colorectal cancer.
June is Men’s Health Month, the perfect time for you to take steps to live a safer, healthier life. Visit the Men’s Health Month website for more information.