The West Virginia Medical Institute, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for West Virginia, encourages consumers to get yearly tests that look for signs of some of the most common types of cancer like breast and colon. These cancers can usually be treated successfully if caught early, so getting these tests performed regularly is very important. And, the good news is that Medicare will pay for most of the cost associated with preventive screening tests – and some are even free to you.
This year, an estimated half a million Americans will lose their lives to cancer, and three times that many will be diagnosed with this devastating illness. Cancer patients are parents and grandparents, children and cherished friends; the disease touches almost everyone and casts a shadow over families and communities across the U.S. During National Cancer Control Month, it is important to “remember those we have lost, support Americans fighting this disease, and recommit to progress toward effective cancer control,” said Obama.
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer occurs when cells in your body grow in an unnatural way. Those cells crowd out the normal ones. Cancer becomes more difficult to control once it metastasizes, or spreads, to other parts of the body. This is why preventive cancer screenings play a key role in controlling the disease by detecting the disease early when it is often most treatable.
The West Virginia Medical Institute is also helping doctors’ offices to meaningfully use their electronic health record (EHR) systems to ensure that their patients receive appropriate preventive screening. This technology allows providers to more easily track and document preventative measures, with digital reminders that pop up on the computer screen to alert providers when a preventive screening is due.
There are several basic steps that everyone can take to reduce their risk of cancer, which include maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, limiting sun exposure, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and living tobacco-free. Tobacco use causes a wide variety of cancers and chronic lung diseases. Those individuals struggling to quit smoking can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.SmokeFree.gov
for help and information.