By Amy Rodrick, RN, BSN
Clinical Quality Improvement Coordinator
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska
One in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Among Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) customers, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer (non-melanoma skin cancer is no. 1).
These alarming facts underscore the importance of screening. Preventive screening through mammograms has been preached for years, and it appears that message is getting through.
In the past 12 months, 57,331 BCBSNE members were screened for breast cancer, an increase of six percent from the previous year. That’s encouraging news, but our hope is every woman 40 and older gets screened every one or two years, as is recommended by the National Cancer Institute.
A mammogram is designed to detect breast cancer in its early stages, before symptoms occur. When breast cancer is found early, more women go on to live long and healthy lives.
An extra incentive to be screened: Mammograms are now covered 100 percent under all health insurance plans. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has expanded the number of services covered at no cost, including breast cancer screening.
So, I encourage you to follow these three steps to help prevent breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay physically active, limit alcohol use and mantain a healthy weight.
- Talk to your health care provider about your medical and family history, whether you’re older or younger than 40, to discuss your risks of breast cancer.
- Get screened, if appropriate.