What is genetic cancer screening, and should you get it?

October 16th, 2020

As one of the leading causes of death worldwide, most people know someone who has or has had cancer. Nearly 2 million people receive a cancer diagnosis in the United States every year.

If you know someone with cancer or have been diagnosed yourself, you know how difficult the news can be. The weeks, months, and even years that follow can be a period full of pain, grief, and confusion. 

All of this makes preventive measures, such as regular exams and tests, vital. Some of these exams aren’t necessarily easy or painless. However, there’s one vital screening that takes only moments. Most Americans are unaware that Medicare now makes it easier than ever to get these screenings.

How? Medicare covers some genetic cancer screenings. Best of all, these screenings often come with little to no out-of-pocket cost.

Instead of a long, invasive procedure, this easy genetic screening helps to determine whether you’re at risk for certain cancers. This valuable info also helps you better plan for preventing and treating illness.

It isn’t just the simplicity of these screenings that makes them so valuable. The awareness they provide can be life-saving information. Because it uses DNA sequencing, researchers are able to identify cancer markers in your genes long before you experience symptoms. 

Why? Because the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services recently announced federal healthcare benefits now cover that cancer gene tests. FDA-approved cancer gene tests are available to Medicare users at little to no cost.

Since nobody is exactly the same, these tests are a huge leap for the medical industry. When doctors have your genomic data, you get customized treatment, not a one-size-fits-all approach. Plus, this data can help genetic researchers learn even more about certain diseases and how to treat them effectively. 

Medicare covers a number of preventive services, including these genetic tests. Generally, these tests are available every few years. To see which tests qualify, check out Medicare’s list of covered services, items, and tests.

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