April is National Cancer Control Month. It is dedicated to the men, women and children who have lost their lives to cancer, recognize. It is to support those Americans who are engaged in daily clinical and long-term research medicine for new and novel ways to battle cancer, and recommit the nation to progress further in the effective control of cancer.
The best method of defense against cancer is early prevention through regular screenings. As an American, you have many ways to cut your cancer risk. Eat a healthy diet, make sure you exercise on a scheduled basis, avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen, drink alcohol in moderation, choose not to use any tobacco products, and be sure to make use of appropriate and regularly scheduled cancer screenings. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, if you are covered by Medicare, you are now entitled to receive preventive cancer screenings free. Most insurance policies also now cover appropriate cancer screenings, such as mammography or a pap smear without any cost too because of the Affordable Care Act.
What Tests Medicare and Private Insurance Covers
The following cancer screenings are covered by Medicare, and private insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
- Breast Cancer (mammography and clinical breast exam)
- Cervical and Vaginal Cancer (pap test and pelvic exam (includes the clinical breast exam))
- Prostate cancer (PSA blood test and Digital Rectal Exam)
- Colorectal Cancer
- Fecal Occult Blood Test
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Barium Enema
Did you know that studies repeatedly demonstrate that the most influential factor processed by a patient when it comes to thinking about and acting upon the thought of cancer screenings is a physician’s recommendation?
Caring physician’s make a point of talking with their Medicare-covered and privately insured patients about cancer screenings and other accessible options. They know that by guiding patients through discussion, their patients make better use of available screening resources for early detection and protection against cancer.
President Obama when he proclaimed April as National Cancer Control Month wrote the following.
“Together, our Nation is moving forward in the fight against cancer. As we recommit to improving prevention, detection and treatment, let us honor the memory of the courageous men and women we have lost to the disease, and let us stand with all those facing it today … I encourage citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations and other interested groups to join in activities that will increase awareness of what Americans can do to prevent cancer.”
The proclamation itself included this inspiring message,
“Detecting cancer early gives patients the best chance for successful treatment. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurers are required to cover recommended cancer screenings and other preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient — a provision that has already helped nearly 71 million people. To build on those gains and stop cancer before it takes hold, I encourage all Americans to see their health care providers for regular screenings and check-ups.
Expanding on today’s progress also means investing in tomorrow’s breakthroughs. My Administration is committed to supporting the kind of medical research that has unlocked decades of new therapies and promising interventions. Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will also give cancer patients better access to those treatments by preventing insurance companies from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition or putting annual dollar limits on most benefits.” (Presidential Proclamation, March 29th, 2013)
Dr. Do is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine and trained in Radiation Oncology at University of California Irvine City of Hope and Long Beach Memorial. Prior to joining the Cancer Care Institute, Dr. Do was an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis in Radiation Oncology. Dr. Do has presented and lectured in numerous national and international conferences on brachytherapy, radiosurgery and comparative clinical outcome.