Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers, and about 12% of women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. In 2015, the American Cancer Society estimated that about 1,658,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and that about 589,430 women will die from breast cancer in the US.
Considering these statistics, regular screening for breast cancer is critical. Under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), annual mammograms and other preventive screenings such as colonoscopies and diabetic screenings are free for Medicare beneficiaries.
The intervals between mammograms vary according to age and risk factors. Mammograms detect between 85 and 90 percent of breast cancers. Mammograms combined with monthly breast self-examinations and regular physician examinations make it possible to detect breast cancer early. And remember, with a Medicare Advantage plan your annual preventive breast cancer screening is $0 for members age 40 and over.
There are many other preventive measures that may reduce your cancer risk. These include limiting alcohol and cigarettes, controlling your weight, being physically active, limiting dose and duration of hormone therapy, and avoiding exposure to radiation and environmental pollution.
Always stay aware and make a commitment to yourself to get screened. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns.