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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month


Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of death in men and women in the U.S. This year, an estimated 151,030 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Early detection is key. The PEBTF’s and REHP’s non-Medicare Retiree preventive benefits provide coverage for the following colorectal cancer screenings for adults 45 years and older:

  • Fecal occult blood testing or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) – annually
  • Cologuard – every 3 years
  • CT colonography – every 5 years
  • Sigmoidoscopy – every 5 years
  • Screening colonoscopy – every 10 years

Medicare Eligible Members

Preventative care covered at age 50 and older:

  • Fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) – every 12 months
  • Sigmoidoscopy (or screening barium enema as an alternative) – every 48 months
  • Screening colonoscopy – every 10 years (not within 48 months of a screening sigmoidoscopy)
  • For people at high risk of colorectal cancer: Screening colonoscopy (or screening barium enema as an alternative) – every 24 months

Talk to your doctor about the testing that is recommended for you.

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to increased risk of colorectal cancer include:

  • Lack of regular physical activity
  • A diet low in fruit and vegetables and whole grains
  • A diet high in red meat(such as beef, pork, or lamb) or processed meat(such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, or cold cuts)
  • Overweight or obese, especially for those who carry fat around their waists
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking

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