Tag Archives: smoking

Preventing Colorectal Cancer

Preventing Colorectal Cancer

It’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

About 1 out of 3 people are not up to date with their colorectal cancer screening, which can help identify precancerous polyps so you can get them removed before they turn into cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

Colorectal cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms, which is why screenings are key to diagnosing cancer.

Your Colon and Cancer Symptoms

Those who do have symptoms experience:

  • Blood in stool
  • Persistent, ongoing stomach pain and cramps
  • Unexplained weight loss

Colorectal Cancer Screenings

There are a few different screenings for colorectal cancer available to you. The level of preparation needed for them, invasiveness, and frequency you’ll need them all vary.

Fecal Occult Blood Tests and Fecal Immunochemical Tests

Fecal Occult Blood Tests and Fecal Immunochemical Tests

A fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) or a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) can check for hidden blood in your stool, which can be a sign of cancer. 

These tests are noninvasive and don’t require a bowel cleanse before your appointment. They also need to be repeated each year because they don’t give your doctor a firsthand look at your colon’s health.

You simply collect your stool sample at home and mail it or bring it in to a lab for processing, and they’ll let you know your results.

FIT-DNA Tests

FIT-DNA Test

A FIT-DNA test checks for blood in the stool as well, but it also looks for DNA changes that may be a sign of cancer or precancerous polyps. 

This test is noninvasive and doesn’t require a bowel cleanse before your appointment. They also need to be repeated every 3 years, because they don’t give your doctor a firsthand look at your colon’s health.

You simply collect your stool sample at home and mail it or bring it to a lab for processing, and they’ll let you know your results.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is similar to a colonoscopy, but it only looks at part of your colon. 

This procedure may require a bowel cleansing the night before, but its prep is not as extensive as what’s required for a colonoscopy. It’s usually done in your doctor’s office or a procedure room, and it must be repeated every 5 years.

The procedure involves a thin, flexible scope being inserted into the rectum to view the lower third of the colon so your doctor can look at its condition firsthand. Pieces of tissue can also be removed and evaluated for any abnormal cell changes.

Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy provides the best view of the entire colon. 

Bowel cleansing is required the night before this procedure. It’s usually done in an outpatient surgery center, and it is usually recommended once every 10 years. If your provider is concerned though, they can recommend you have them more frequently.

A thin, flexible scope is inserted into your rectum to view your entire colon.  Pieces of tissue or polyps can also be removed and evaluated for any abnormal cell changes.

The Screening That’s Right for You

You should work with your doctor to choose the screening that’s right for you and your situation. No matter which screening you choose, most of our plans will cover 100% of the cost. If more testing or services are needed besides your normal screenings, you may be responsible for paying a copay.

To check your exact coverage, log in to Your Health Alliance to review your benefits or contact us.

Reduce Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Reducing Your Risk of Colorectal Cancer

A healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. What can you do?

  • Maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Eat a diet that’s high in fiber and includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit saturated fats and alcohol.
 

This March, talk to your doctor about scheduling your next screening.

Prematurity Awareness Month

Prematurity Awareness Month

It’s Prematurity Awareness Month, and a premature birth takes place more than 3 weeks before the expected due date.

Learn the signs and symptoms that you might be going into labor early.

Signs of Premature Labor

 

Some of the greatest risk factors for premature birth are previous premature births, a pregnancy with multiple babies, smoking or drug use, and going less than 6 months between pregnancies.

Risk Factors for Giving Birth Too Early

 

Premature babies can deal with mild symptoms or more serious complications. Some signs include a small size, sharper features from a lack of stored baby fat, low body temp, and trouble breathing or feeding.

Signs of Prematurity

 

Premature babies will likely need longer hospital stays. Your doctor and a specialized team help care for the baby and can explain what’s happening every step of the way.

Hospital Stays for Premature Labor

 

Short-term complications from premature birth can include issues with their lungs, heart, brain, blood, metabolism, and immune system.

Long-term complications from premature birth can include cerebral palsy, chronic health issues, and problems with their learning, vision, hearing, and teeth.

Complications from Premature Birth

 

If you’re at risk of a premature birth, your doctor might have you take progesterone supplements or have a surgical procedure on your cervix. They might also have you avoid vigorous activity or go on bed rest for the end of your pregnancy.

Preventing Premature Labor

Cataract Awareness Month

Cataract Awareness Month

June is Cataract Awareness Month, and you can learn more about them with us. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S.

Cataracts, which are clouding of the lens of the eye that prevents light passing through, affect 24 million Americans over the age of 40.

Catching Cataracts

 

Cataracts are often simple to treat with cataract surgery where a surgeon removes the lens and replaces it with an artificial lens.

Cataract Surgery

 

3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year, making it one of the most common surgeries in the U.S. The whole outpatient procedure only lasts about 20 minutes and has a 95% success rate.

Cataract Treatment

 

A healthy lifestyle can help slow the progression of cataracts. Avoid smoking and exposure to UV rays and eat healthy foods to help prevent them.

Preventing Cataracts with Lifestyle

 

While cataracts normally affect seniors, heredity, disease, eye injuries, and even smoking can cause them in younger people.

Cataracts in Young People

 

Wearing proper eye protection to avoid eye injuries and sunglasses or glasses with UV protection in the sun can help you avoid cataracts.

Protecting Your Eyes from Cataracts

Colic Awareness Month

Colic Awareness Month

It’s Colic Awareness Month, and if you’re expecting or are a new parent, it’s good to learn more about colic.

Colic is frequent and intense crying in an otherwise healthy infant. It can be extremely stressful and frustrating for new parents.

Symptoms of colic include screaming and crying for no apparent reason and fussiness after crying. Their face can get red, and their whole body can get tense.

Colic Symptoms

 

Colic frequently sticks to a predictable schedule, usually with crying episodes happening each evening.

Colic Crying on a Schedule

 

Colic usually peaks when an infant is 6 weeks old and declines after they’re 3 or 4 months old.

When Colic Happens

 

The cause of colic is unknown, but researchers have explored digestive issues as a possible reason. Smoking during pregnancy does increase the risk of your baby developing colic.

Cause of Colic

 

Colic can increase the risk of postpartum depression in mothers, as well as the stress, guilt, and exhaustion that can come with being a new parent. The important thing to remember is to never shake your baby when you can’t comfort them.

Parents and Colic

 

If you’re worried that your child might have colic, talk to your doctor and schedule an appointment to do an exam. They’ll make sure there isn’t a more serious issue causing your child’s discomfort.

Talk to Your Doctor About Colic

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re helping you learn more all week. Test your knowledge and get the facts.

Your Pancreas Knowledge

 

Your pancreas is a gland in your abdomen that helps with digestion and blood sugar regulation. Know your pancreas.

Your Pancreas

 

Signs of pancreatic cancer include abdominal or mid-back pain, weight loss and loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice, and a new onset of diabetes.

Signs of Pancreatic Cancer

 

Your risk of pancreatic cancer is based on your family history, diet, race, gender, age, and smoking and can go up if you have obesity, diabetes, or chronic pancreatitis. Are you at risk?

Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

 

Take the pledge to demand better for pancreatic cancer patients and go purple to raise awareness.

Spread the word, host a purple party, talk to your elected officials, register for PurpleStride, and more to make a difference.

Host a Purple Party

Protect Your Lungs for Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

It’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Get the facts:

Lung Cancer Facts from the CDC

 

This simple quiz tests your lung cancer knowledge.

Test Your Chops

 

Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, and we can help you quit tobacco for life.

Quit for Good

 

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Get your home tested.

Protect Yourself from Radon

 

A nonsmoker shares her story of being diagnosed with lung cancer in this podcast.

Listen in to Learn About Lung Cancer

 

Improvements in early detection make this a promising time in the fight against lung cancer. Learn more.

Detecting Lung Cancer

 

Lung cancer screenings for those at high risk are recommended. Talk to your doctor.

Find Lung Cancer Early

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Healthy Lung Month

Healthy Lung Month

It’s Healthy Lung Month, and we think it’s important you know how your lungs work.

Make sure you know the signs of lung disease and are prepared to talk to your doctor.

Prepared to Talk Lungs

 

Keep your lungs healthy by adding exercise and avoiding smoking, pollutants, and infections.

Breathe Easier with Exercise

 

Visit the blog EACH Breath to stay up-to-date on healthy lung news and info.

Blogging to Breathe Better

 

Members can help their lungs with our no-extra-cost program Quit For Life® to break tobacco’s hold.

Quit Now for Healthier Lungs

 

Find local support for your lung disease, cancer, or issues.

The Support Your Lungs Need

 

Give back and get involved to protect lungs with events in your area.

Events to Get Involved

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