Go Pink for Breast Cancer! Get Your Screening Mammogram Today!

Posted in: Employee Benefits

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Although this annual campaign increases awareness for breast cancer, many women still neglect receiving mammogram screenings for early detection of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2021:  

  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer in women in the United States.  
  • 30% of cancer diagnoses in women will be breast cancer. 
  • There are 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. 
  • There will be 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer (the cancer has spread to the surrounding breast tissue) and 49,290 new cases of noninvasive breast cancer (the cancer is only found only where it first formed) in 2021. 
  • 63% of breast cancer is only located within the breast.   
  • Men can get breast cancer too – about 2,650 men will be diagnosed in 2021. 
  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. 

Although these statistics may sound intimidating, when breast cancer is detected early, there is a 93% or higher survival rate within the first five years after diagnosis! 

COVID-19 Has Interrupted Care! 

Not only has COVID interrupted our daily lives, but it has caused delays in screening exams, including mammograms! According to the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), women aged 50 to 74 who are at an average risk of breast cancer, should get a mammogram at least every two years. Women aged 40 to 49 should speak to their health care provider about when they should start screening.  

It is important to speak to your doctor about the best plan for you.  All health insurance companies cover 100% of annual screening mammograms. 

What You Need to Know About Mammograms 

Before your first mammogram, you will likely have questions about the screening process. Here are some important factors to keep in mind before you receive the screening: 

  1. Do not wear deodorant – Did you know that the aluminum in deodorant can alter your mammogram results? The deodorant can show up in the screening as “white spots” which look similar to cancer cells.  Although you are not applying deodorant to your breast, the mammogram takes images from under your armpits.  If you forget and wear deodorant, the technician will provide wet wipes for you to wipe it off.  After the screening, most facilities will provide you with deodorant as well. 
  2. Schedule Your Appointment after Your Menstrual Cycle – Our breasts can be sensitive during that time of month. To minimize pain, schedule the screening a week after you finish your period. 
  3. Take Tylenol before Your Appointment – Since the mammogram is going to compress your breasts, to minimize the pain, Tylenol can help.   
  4. Know Your Family History – At your appointment, you will need to provide your family history. Having relatives with a history of breast cancer can increase your risk of developing the disease.   

Even if no one in your family has had breast cancer, it is still important to get your mammogram.  According to the American Cancer Society, only 5 to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary.   

Mammograms Should Not Scare You! 

Many of us are afraid of what the results of the mammogram will be. It is important to understand that detecting breast cancer in the early stages makes it easier to treat.  

How Much Will I Have to Pay?   

Good News! Mammograms are 100% covered in-network, even if you have a high deductible health plan.  To make sure you are using a participating provider, check the website of your health plan or call their customer service department.  

What About Breast Self-Exams? 

It is important to know how your breasts look and feel. That way, you can notice anything that changes, feel any new lumps, recognize pain, or notice if one is getting larger than the other. If you notice any changes, notify your health care provider as soon as possible.   

You should also get into the habit of performing a breast self-examination once a month around 7-10 days after your period starts. If you are no longer menstruating, set reminders and pick the same day each month to perform an exam.  

Make October the month you get back on track with your health care. Why not start with your mammogram? 

If you have further questions regarding breast cancer or mammogram screenings, feel free to contact dherndon@psafinancial.com

Download this blog as a PDF flyer to distribute to your workforce!

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