|WellPoint Says Mammograms Remain an Important Screening for Aging Women|
Should Continue for Every Two Years Up Until Age 74
Breast cancer occurs when cells within the breast tissue divide and grow
abnormally. Except for skin cancer, it is the most common cancer in
American women. An estimated 2.8 million women are currently living with
breast cancer in
Mammography screening helps identify breast cancer early before there are symptoms, which lowers the risk of dying. The five-year survival rate for people who discovered breast cancer when it was still “localized” is nearly 99 percent.iii
Frank says the risks of getting breast cancer increase as women age. One
out of eight invasive breast cancers are found in women under age 45. In
women 55 and older, that number jumps to two out of three breast cancers.iv
Mammograms have been shown to lower the risk of dying from breast cancer
by 35 percent in women over the age of 50.v
“Mammograms aren’t perfect, but they are the best tool we have in
detecting breast cancer early when it’s most treatable,” Frank said.
“Preventive care mammograms are covered by
Frank suggests women return to the same place, when possible, to get their mammograms so current and past screenings can be compared. Additionally, he said patients should let no more than 10 days pass before following up with their doctors and should never assume results are negative, just because they haven’t been contacted.
Although there are many reasons why a woman gets breast cancer, including some outside of her control, Frank says certain lifestyle changes can help reduce risk. He recommends women take the following preventive actions.
Get exercise. Some MA plans include a free gym membership to encourage exercise.
Keep a healthy weight, especially later in life. Local social services organizations may be available for those who need help finding nutritious meals. To check for these resources, visit www.benefitscheckup.org.
Don’t smoke or quit if you do. A recent study by
Talk to a doctor. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Frank reiterated how critical it is to talk to a doctor about getting regular mammograms.
Anyone who is concerned about breast cancer, or who has symptoms, such as a lump, swelling, redness or irritation, should contact their doctor. For more information about breast cancer, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your health.
WellPoint affiliates are PPO, LPPO, RPPO and HMO plans with a
WellPoint is one of the nation’s leading health benefits companies. We
believe that our health connects us all. So we focus on being a valued
health partner and delivering quality products and services that give
members access to the care they need. With nearly 67 million people
served by our affiliated companies including nearly 37 million enrolled
in our family of health plans, we can make a real difference to meet the
needs of our diverse customers. We’re an independent licensee of the