patient and radiologist discuss preventative scans

You’re Covered! The 4 Preventative Scans Worth Scheduling

Does your health insurance provider offer benefits that you don’t know about? When it comes to staying healthy, more and more insurance companies are recognizing the value of preventative screening.

According to Eric Hargis, public policy adviser for the Colon Cancer Alliance, “Too many Americans are dying from a largely preventable disease that can almost always be treated if found early….this will save lives.”

With the ability to be more proactive, our patients are achieving more successful outcomes than ever before.

1. Lung Scans to prevent lung cancer

Scheduling a lung scan can save your life. According to the National Cancer Institute, “People aged 55 to 74 years with a history of heavy smoking are 20 percent less likely to die from lung cancer if they are screened with a low dose lung scan.” Studies have shown that CT lung screening reduces cancer mortality in men by 26%, as presented at the 2018 World Conference on Lung Cancer.

Who should schedule a Lung Scan?

The U.S. Preventive Task Force makes recommendations for smokers to get an “annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.” Ask your doctor if you are at risk for lung cancer and should receive a lung scan.

2. Virtual Colonoscopy for cancer prevention

Because of its value, on August 11, 2016, the American College of Radiology, along with patient advocacy groups and associated medical associations, asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide coverage to adults aged 50-75 years for virtual colonoscopy.

Virtual colonoscopy is more comfortable and much faster than a traditional colon exam. The risks and the recovery from virtual colonoscopy are also much lower. With the ability to screen the surrounding organs, this screening is very valuable for prevention.

In fact, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued an “A” rating to the virtual colonoscopy exam as a screening tool for detecting colon cancer. The “A” rating is defined as having a high certainty that the benefit is substantial.

Who should schedule this scan?

The American Cancer Society recommends a virtual colonoscopy exam be performed every five years to screen for polyps and cancer.

Men and women aged 50 and older should receive this scan every five years. If you have a family history of colon cancer or other high-risk factors, your physician might recommend you schedule sooner and/or more frequently.

3. DEXA Scan to diagnose osteoporosis

The DEXA scan is the only scan that can diagnose osteoporosis before a fracture occurs. Treatment can prevent about half of the fractures caused by osteoporosis. A DEXA Scan gives you the knowledge to own your health.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 50% of women and 25% of men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis. Unfortunately, many are not diagnosed with osteoporosis until after they break a bone. In fact, 80% of older Americans who have had a fracture are not treated or tested for osteoporosis.

Who should schedule a DEXA scan?

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, you should have a bone density test if you meet any of the following criteria:
Women aged 65 or older
Men aged 70 or older
Menopausal age with risk factors.
Men between the ages of 50 and 69 with risk factors

Your doctor might also recommend a DEXA Scan if you break a bone after age 50 or have back pain with a possible break in your spine.

4. Mammograms for breast cancer detection

Annual mammograms were not always standard practice. Before regular screening mammography was a standard, cancers often went undetected until they were 2.5-3.5cm. Now, the average mass is under 1.5cm.

According to Dr. Roni Talukdar, Medical Director at the Imaging Center for Women, “Size matters. If you detect it at under 1.5cm, there’s a 98%-99% survival rate. But when it’s over 1.5cm, the survival rate drops to 70%.”

Why is it important to get a mammogram every year?

The survival rate of breast cancer directly correlates with the size of the cancer—the smaller the tumor, the greater the chance of survival. Finding a cancer earlier can ultimately mean the difference between life and death.

Who should get an annual mammogram?

If you are an average risk patient, you should start getting annual mammograms at age 40. If you have a family history, annual screening is recommended 10 years before your first-degree relative had breast cancer. For example, if your mom had breast cancer at age 40, you should start your preventative screening at age 30.

Schedule your scans today.

At Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg, we help our patients discover the difference prevention can make. For more information about preventative health scans or to find out which scans may be right for you, call (540) 741-XRAY (9729).