3 items tagged "health screenings"

  • Cervical Cancer Prevention


    The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to have regular screening tests starting at age 21.

    Screening Tests

    Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early—

    • The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
    • The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes.

    Both tests can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic. If you have a low income or do not have health insurance, you may be able to get free or low-cost screening tests through CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Find out if you qualify.


    Screening Options

    You should get your first Pap test at age 21. If your test result is normal, you can wait three years for your next test.

    If you’re 30 years old or older, you have three options—

    • You can continue getting a Pap test only. If your test result is normal, you can wait three years for your next test.
    • You can get an HPV test only. If your test result is normal, you can wait five years for your next test.
    • You can get both an HPV and Pap test together. If your test results are normal, you can wait five years for your next tests.

    What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

    This video discusses the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancer.

    Early on, cervical cancer may not cause signs and symptoms. Advanced cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor.

    Use our Symptoms Diaries to track possible symptoms over a two-week timespan.

    Additional Information

    Reducing Your Risk of Cervical Cancer (CDC)

    Symptoms of Cervical Cancer (CDC)

    10 Things to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer


  • Colon Cancer Awareness

    One of the most common types of cancer is colorectal cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It’s preventable, treatable and beatable, so it’s critical to understand the signs and symptoms of this disease and to get your screenings! Mohawk health plan members schedule your no-cost screening today if you haven’t already.

    About Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the large intestine that includes the colon and the rectum. Most cases begin as small clumps of noncancerous cells called polyps. Over time, some polyps may become colon cancers.

    Risk Factors

    Colorectal cancer can affect men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, though the risk rises after age 50. Here are some factors that may increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

    • Personal history of colorectal polyps
    • Family history of colon cancer
    • Lack of regular physical activity
    • Low-fiber, high-fat diet
    • Obesity
    • Alcohol or tobacco use
    • Inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

    Colorectal polyps and cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why getting screened regularly is so important. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

    • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement)
    • Pains, aches or cramps in your stomach that don’t go away
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Change in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation
    • Fatigue
    Get Screened

    Screenings can find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so that they can be removed before turning into cancer. It can also help find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment may lead to a cure.

    Types of Tests

    There are several ways to screen for colon cancer. Talk with your doctor about which test is right for you.

    • Stool test - Checks for blood in your stool
    • Sigmoidoscopy - A small flexible scope is used to view only the lower part of your colon. Sigmoidoscopy and a stool test are sometimes used together.
    • Colonoscopy - It’s similar to a sigmoidoscopy, but your doctor can see your entire colon. It is the most thorough test. Your doctor can also take tissue samples (biopsies) for analysis and remove polyps during the procedure. You will need to cleanse your bowel both the day before and the day of your colonoscopy. Medicine will be given during your colonoscopy to make you sleepy and relaxed.
    • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy) - Uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon

    Start talking with your doctor about screening at age 45, or sooner if you have an increased risk for colon cancer. Your doctor can recommend when to start and how often you should be tested.

    Remember, Mohawk health plan members have access to no-cost screenings by staying within the allowable maximum for colonoscopies. Check the cost by calling the Referral Coordinator at 855-566-4295, going to myCigna.com or ask your provider.

    Primary Treatment Options

    The type of treatment your doctor recommends will depend largely on the stage of your cancer.

    • Surgery
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation
    Important Ways to Lower Your Risk

    Screen Shot 2021 03 05 at 1.14.46 PM

    To view or print a downloadable version of this article or to view references, click here.


  • Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives

    Get a Screening

    Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer. If you’re 50 to 75 years old, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re younger than 50 and think you may be at high risk of getting colorectal cancer, or if you’re older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened.

    Robert’s Story

    “I never would have found it early if I hadn’t been screened,” said Robert, a survivor of colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum).

    Since Robert’s dad got colorectal cancer at age 45, when Robert went for his annual checkup, he asked his own doctor about getting screened. He got a screening test called a colonoscopy, a test that can show the whole colon and the best kind of test for Robert because of his family cancer history. The colonoscopy showed he had cancer.

    “People tell me that they are scared to get screened, but I think it’s scarier if you have a tumor that the doctor can’t remove,” Robert said. “If I hadn’t been screened, I wouldn’t have been able to see my son go off to college, or enjoy this next chapter of my life with my wife and family.”

    Fast Facts

    • Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
    • Every year, about 140,000 people in the United States get colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die of it.
    • Risk increases with age. More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people who are 50 years old or older.
    • Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. If you have symptoms, they may include blood in or on the stool, stomach pain that doesn’t go away, or losing weight and you don’t know why. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor.
    • There are several screening test options. Talk with your doctor about which is right for you.
    • Only about two-thirds of adults in the United States are up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening.

    Additional Information

    To read the full article on the Center's for Disease Control's website, click here.

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