Do Something Just For You This OctoberOctober 05, 2021
Your health matters. You matter. This October, schedule your breast exam and mammogram as preventive screenings are important for peace of mind and well-being.
It’s essential to make your healthcare needs a priority to be the healthiest, happiest version of yourself. For women, that includes having regular breast exams, which can help catch cancer earlier — when it’s easier to treat.
UniCare covers screening mammograms 100% when you see a doctor in your plan’s network. While mammograms do expose the breasts to small amounts of radiation, the benefits the X-rays provide outweigh that.2 Thanks to digital advancements women may feel little to no discomfort — and while the whole procedure takes about 20 minutes, the actual X-ray of the breast only lasts seconds.2 It’s also important to do regular breast self-exams. If you notice changes in how your breasts normally look or feel — things like lumps, pain, or skin changes — be sure to tell your doctor as soon as possible.
To determine your risk for breast cancer, talk to a doctor about your family history and personal medical history. Having a risk factor for breast cancer doesn’t mean you will develop the disease. You may just have a higher chance of developing it than someone who doesn’t have that risk factor.
There are risk factors for breast cancer that you can control to help protect yourself, including:
- Weight: Being overweight or obese after menopause raises the risk for breast cancer.
- Alcohol intake: Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Physical activity: Women who aren’t active have a higher risk.
- Pregnancy: There’s a higher risk for women who become pregnant for the first time after age 30, who don’t breastfeed, and who have never had a full-term pregnancy.
Here are recommended guidelines for women at an average risk for breast cancer:
- Ages 40 to 44: Have the option to start receiving annual mammograms
- Ages 45 to 54: Receive yearly mammograms
- Ages 55 and older: Can switch to receiving mammograms every other year
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is breast cancer screening? (accessed April 2021): cdc.gov.
- American Cancer Society. Breast cancer (accessed May 2021): cancer.org.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What are the risk factors for breast cancer? (accessed April 2021): cdc.gov.