Pink Prevention: Your Guide to Screening for Early Breast Cancer Detection
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about more than pink. It’s about prevention. Those who take advantage of proven, easily available services stand a far better chance of beating what is one of the most common cancers among women in the U.S.
At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we turn pink into prevention by covering the crucial services proven to be the most effective in 1) screening for breast cancer and 2) supporting those who are most at risk for contracting the disease.
You can turn pink into prevention by taking advantage of these services with your Blue Cross coverage. Let October be the month you schedule a mammography exam – otherwise known as a mammogram – and commit to a routine test going forward. Based on best available data and research, here are the American Cancer Society’s recommended guidelines for mammogram screenings for women at average risk:
- Women between 40 and 44 – Should have the option to get a yearly mammogram (discuss with your doctor)
Women from 45 to 54 – Should get mammograms every year
Women 55 and older – Can switch to a mammogram every other year…or maintain their yearly screenings.
In addition, at-risk members may be eligible for the following screenings: (To confirm eligibility requirements and if you qualify, contact your provider or call the number on the back of your Blue Cross card):
- Breast Cancer Genetic test counseling if you have a family history of breast cancer
- Breast Cancer Chemoprevention counseling
- Breast Cancer chemotherapy medications, when prescribed by your provider, based on individual risk of breast cancer
If you’ve never had a mammogram before, rest assured that it’s a quick, non-invasive outpatient medical imaging procedure that uses a low-dose x-ray to see inside the breasts. Mammograms have been proven to lower the risk of death from breast cancer by 35 percent in women over the age of 50. Furthermore, when mammograms detect disease early, women are more likely to avoid radical surgeries in favor of less invasive procedures to remove disease that is still localized.
Standard digital mammography for prevention is covered for most Blue Cross members when performed by an in-network provider. Many Blue Cross plans cover an annual preventive mammogram at 100 percent when it’s an annual preventive mammogram ordered by your doctor, while other plans may include a copay, coinsurance or deductible. If you’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network member with questions about your out-of-pocket costs for a mammogram, consult your Summary of Member Benefits or call the number on the back of your card.
And a mammogram is just one among many preventive care services generally payable under the Affordable Care Act that is covered for Blue Cross and Blue Care Network members. So keep this in mind during Breast Cancer Awareness Month as you resolve to schedule your mammogram.
For more information about women’s preventive care, check out these posts:
- The Cost of Care: Preventive Health
- What Women Should Know About the Affordable Care Act
- Women’s Health: The Doctors and Specialists Who Keep You Healthy
Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan
This post has been updated since its original publication.