Does Medicare Cover Cancer Screenings?
One of the ways to increase the success rates of cancer treatments is to detect cancer in its early stages. To do that, experts recommend having cancer screenings. However, some older adults may not get screenings because they worry they cannot afford to pay for the tests. What they may be unaware of is that Medicare pays for certain cancer screenings. Below are some of the cancer screenings older adults can have covered by Medicare.

Breast Cancer Screening

It’s important for older women to be screened regularly for breast cancer because, next to skin cancer, it is the most common kind of cancer found in women. It is also responsible for the most cancer-related deaths in women. The chances for getting breast cancer get larger as women get older, so screenings are especially important for older adults.

Medicare will pay for one mammogram every 12 months for women. As long as the doctor accepts Medicare assignment, your aging relative won’t pay anything for the test. 

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Screening for colorectal cancer can detect polyps that may turn into cancer if left untreated. When they are found, they can be removed before they become cancerous. 

Medicare pays for several kinds of colorectal cancer screenings, including:
  • Screening Fecal Occult Blood Test: This test is covered once every 12 months.
  • Screening Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This screening is paid for once every 48 months after the last time the senior had this test or a barium enema. If the senior had a screening colonoscopy, this test is not paid for until at least 120 months after the colonoscopy.
  • Screening Colonoscopy: If the older adult is considered high risk, they can have this test paid for once every 24 months. If they are not high risk, the test is covered every 120 months. If the senior has had a flexible sigmoidoscopy, the test must be performed at least 48 months later.
  • Screening Barium Enema: This test is paid for every 48 months when it is used in place of a sigmoidoscopy of colonoscopy. It is covered every 24 months if the senior is at high risk.

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer screening is covered once every 12 months, but only under the following conditions:
  • The senior is between the age of 55 and 77.
  • They do not currently have signs of lung cancer.
  • They currently smoke or have smoked in the past 15 years.
  • They have a 30-pack-year history.
  • They have a written prescription from a doctor for the screening.
  • The screening is conducted at a Medicare approved imaging center by a reading radiologist.

If your aging relative is due for a cancer screening, an elderly care provider can help them to get it. An elderly care provider can assist them with making the appointment by calling the doctor’s office or by recording the appointment information on the calendar, so the appointment isn’t forgotten. Elderly care providers can also drive the older adult to the screening appointment and back home afterward.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Salt Lake City, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

Author: Michael and Marlena Hawkins, Owners, Interim HealthCare, Salt Lake City, UT 

Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City has been in business since February 2014, providing in-home personal care and support services that help our elderly and/or disabled neighbors live enriched, safe and independent lives. Our goal is to provide customized care and support services that make it possible for our clients to remain in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to an assisted living facility. Interim HealthCare is family owned by Michael and Marlana Hawkins, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business.

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