October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month dedicated to education about the most common type of cancer found in women. Women over age 60 represent nearly half of new breast cancer cases, with an additional 20% of cases affecting women over the age of 70.
Medicare now covers certain preventative screenings like mammograms, which can detect breast cancer before any signs or symptoms appear (much earlier than manual screenings can detect it). When breast cancer is found early, treatment is easier and success rates are higher.
Thankfully, there was a 40% decline in breast cancer death rates from 1989 to 2016 because of improvements in early detection methods – including increased attention on the benefits of preventative screenings.
Mammograms are covered once every 12 months for women aged 40 and older. Medicare also covers one baseline mammogram for women between 35–39.
Along with regular preventative screenings, here are a few important warning signs:
- Lump on the breast: this is the most common symptom. 20% of lumps are cancerous.
- Breast discharge of any kind.
- Swelling and soreness in the underarm or breast.
- Nipple inversion or skin dimpling.
- Skin changes including redness, peeling, flaking, or crusting either in a confined area or across the whole breast.
Being proactive about your breast health and getting yearly screenings is essential in preventing and treating breast cancer. Should cancer be detected, it’s important to ensure you're properly covered for future care and medical expenses.
That’s where Critical Illness Insurance comes in. Because cancer treatment often requires extensive medical care, it can quickly get expensive. Critical illness insurance helps pay for costs not covered by traditional insurance and can be used for non-medical costs related to the illness.
Taking care of yourself, maintaining your health, and getting annual screenings can help reduce the risks of breast cancer. And if cancer tends to run in your family history, considering a Critical Illness policy can give you extra peace of mind.
If you have any questions regarding breast cancer, be sure to get in touch with your primary care physician.
Published: October 6, 2020