Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Cancer screening launched

A national campaign to screen Medicare beneficiaries for colorectal cancer was launched last week by the Health Care Financing Administration, the federal Medicare agency, and the centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People 50 and older are being targeted in the early detection and prevention effort called "Screened for Life."

"We want our people to know that Medicare covers four types of colorectal cancer screening tests," said Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. "The good news is that we know we could save thousands of lives a year through screening."

Medicare currently covers:

a yearly take-home fecal-occult blood test with no co-pays or deductible;

a flexible sigmoidoscopy every four years. People with Medicare pay 20 percent of the Medicare approved amount after the annual Part B deductible;

a colonoscopy for high-risk individuals every two years. People with Medicare pay about 20 percent of the Medicare approved amount after the annual Part B deductible;

a barium enema as an alternative to either the sigmoidoscopy or the colonoscopy.

Beginning in July, Medicare will also cover a screening colonoscopy every 10 years for people not at hight risk for colorectal cancer. Risk is greater for those with a history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps, or a family history of colon or rectal cancer.

To find a health care professional who can give a Medicare-paid screening test, call 1-800-CANCER (TTY 1-800-332-9615) or visit the Screen for Life Web site:

Introduction to the Buddhist Path

"Wisdom of No Escape" will be the first of a series of three classes offered this spring at the Juneau Shambhala Center.

It is based on the book of the same name by Ane Pema Chodrun and is about saying yes to life, about making friends with ourselves and our world, about accepting the delightful and painful situation of "no exit." It urges us to wake up wholeheartedly to everything and to use the abundant richly textured fabric of everyday life as our primary spiritual teacher and guide. Pema Chodrun is an American Buddhist nun and one of the foremost students of the Tibetan Buddhist Chogyam Trungpa, who appointed her in 1986 to be the director of Gampo Abbey, a Buddhist monastery for Western men and women in Nova Scotia.

These classes provide the foundation for classes that will be offered this fall.

There will be five classes starting Monday, March 26, 7- 8:30 pm. The cost is $35. To register or for more information please call the Shambhala Center at 586-6987.

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