Older adults, particularly adults who have a history of smoking, are at higher risk of lung cancer. Yearly screenings are key for catching any type of cancer, as you may not show symptoms until the cancer has progressed. Medicare plans offer coverage for cancer screenings, as well as preventative treatments to keep your lungs healthy. November is Lung Awareness Month, and now is the perfect time to get your yearly screening.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

In the beginning, most lung cancer cases have no symptoms at all. Yearly screenings can catch cancer at a very early stage when treatment is most effective.

Some of the most common symptoms of lung cancer are a very persistent cough or coughing up blood. This is often accompanied by chest pain. Other respiratory symptoms include wheezing, persistent inability to catch your breath, and increased susceptibility to pneumonia, bronchitis, and other infections. You may also feel more tired than normal and lose your appetite.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away to identify the problem and get proper treatment.

Medicare and Lung Cancer

Medicare Part B covers yearly lung cancer screenings for those between the ages of 55 and 77. You may also qualify for lung cancer screenings even if you are not in this age range if you are a current smoker or have a history of heavy smoking. Your doctor can also order a yearly screening and accept assignment, meaning that you won’t pay anything for the screening.

Since smoking dramatically increases your risk of lung cancer, Medicare also covers counseling to help you quit smoking. Medicare Part B covers up to eight sessions of a smoking cessation program. It’s never too late to quit smoking, and making an effort to do so now can help you keep your lungs healthy for decades to come.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may receive even further coverage for preventative screenings and treatments. Each Medicare Advantage plan is different, but they are all intended to provide supplemental care beyond what Parts A & B cover.

Preventing Lung Cancer

Avoiding smoking is the number one way to prevent lung cancer. If you’ve already started smoking, start taking steps to quit. Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help, as can therapeutic support groups. You should also make an effort to avoid secondhand smoke, and avoid visiting areas with airborne carcinogens. A healthy diet and exercise routine can also lower your risk of developing any form of cancer, including lung cancer.

Preventative screenings can help your healthcare providers catch lung cancer early and treat it more effectively. Medicare covers preventative screenings, as well as counseling that can help you stop smoking. If you’d like to learn more about your Medicare options, contact one of our licensed insurance brokers today. Fill out this form or give us a call to see how we can help.