The earlier that you detect breast cancer, the higher the chance that treatment is successful.1 Physically examining your breasts regularly is a good start. However, some signs of breast cancer may be invisible without the help of a radiology procedure known as a mammogram. Mammograms involve taking images of the breasts so that medical providers can examine breast tissue for irregularities. This article will explain screening mammograms in more detail, including what forms of breast cancer they can detect. Plus, you’ll learn when and where to get mammograms and what to expect in terms of costs.
Screening mammograms are routine preventive procedures performed on asymptomatic patients to look for signs of breast cancer that may go undetected by physical examination alone. During a screening mammogram, radiologists perform X-ray imaging of your breasts from multiple angles. They then examine the images for any irregularities or other signs that warrant a closer look.2
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Screening and diagnostic mammograms differ in a few key ways. Screening mammograms are more akin to a routine checkup, with the purpose being to look for any early signs of breast cancer. Diagnostic mammograms, on the other hand, are ordered if signs of breast cancer are found during a screening mammogram or the patient is experiencing symptoms.2
Women should get screening mammograms annually or every two years, depending on their age.3 A patient only undergoes a diagnostic mammogram when needed, such as if signs are detected.
Mammograms can detect an array of breast cancer types. Here are some common forms it can catch:
Women should have the option to start getting mammograms when they turn 40. However, it’s recommended that women start getting annual mammograms by age 45. At 55, women can either continue yearly screening or reduce the frequency to one mammogram every two years. Then, they should continue getting mammograms as long as they are in good health and have a remaining life expectancy of at least 10 years. Speak to your health provider if you’re not sure about how often you should get a mammogram.3
Mammograms are available at several types of medical facilities.2 Here are some of your options:
Facilities providing mammograms must adhere to Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) criteria.2 This means you can rest assured that you can receive a high-quality baseline of care regardless of the mammogram provider you visit.
Many health insurance policies cover screening mammograms since they are more along the lines of preventive care.2 However, insurance policies may require a copay or coinsurance for diagnostic mammograms. Check with your insurance company and plan to see what’s covered and what the cost may be before booking your mammogram.
If your policy doesn’t cover all preventive screenings, a supplemental cancer insurance policy can help bridge the gap. For example, Aflac cancer insurance offers help with expenses associated with cancer screenings so you can get the care you need worry-free.
Mammograms can help detect breast cancer signs invisible to physical or visual examination. This can potentially make treatment more successful if a diagnosis is made.
Screening mammograms are typically covered by health insurance, but diagnostic mammograms may not be fully covered. Plus, health policies may not cover all the costs of treatment in case of a diagnosis.
Fortunately, cancer insurance can offer additional insurance coverage. Aflac cancer insurance policies provide help when you need it most. Additionally, your policy can pay a cash benefit that you can use for any expenses — not just medical bills. Start chatting with an Aflac agent today to experience the financial security that cancer insurance can help provide.
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1 World Health Organization – Promoting Early Cancer Diagnosis. https://www.who.int/activities/promoting-cancer-early-diagnosis. Accessed August 16, 2023.
2 National Cancer Institute – Mammograms. Updated February 21, 2023. https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/mammograms-fact-sheet. Accessed August 16, 2023.
3 American Cancer Society – American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer. Updated February 24, 2023. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/screening/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer.html. Accessed August 16, 2023.
4 American Cancer Society – Types of Breast Cancer. Updated November 19, 2021. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/breast-cancer/about/types-of-breast-cancer.html. Accessed August 16, 2023.
5 American Cancer Society – Invasive Breast Cancer (IDC/ILC). Updated November 19, 2021. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/breast-cancer/about/types-of-breast-cancer/invasive-breast-cancer.html. Accessed August 16, 2023.
Content within this article is provided for general informational purposes and is not provided as tax, legal, health, or financial advice for any person or for any specific situation. Employers, employees, and other individuals should contact their own advisers about their situations. For complete details, including availability and costs of Aflac insurance, please contact your local Aflac agent.
Series B70000: In Arkansas, Policies B70100AR, B70200AR, B70300AR, B7010EPAR, B7020EPAR. In Delaware, Policies B70100DE, B70200DE & B70300DE. In Idaho, Policies B70100ID, B70200ID, B70300ID, B7010EPID, B7020EPID. In Oklahoma, Policies B70100OK, B70200OK, B70300OK, B7010EPOK, B7020EPOK. In Oregon, Policies B70100OR, B70200OR, B70300OR, B7010EPOR, B7020EPOR. In Pennsylvania, Policies B70100PA, B70200PA, B70300PA. In Texas, Policies B70100TX, B70200TX, B70300TX, B7010EPTX, B7020EPTX. Series A78000: In New York, Policies, NY78100–NY78400. Series A75000: In Virginia, policies A75100VA–A75300VA.
Coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. In New York, coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.
Tier One Coverage
Series T70000: In Arkansas, Policy T70000ARR. In Delaware, Policy T70000. In Idaho, Policy T70000ID. In Oklahoma, Policy T70000OK. In Oregon, Policy T70000OR. In Pennsylvania, Policies T70000PA, T7000GPA. In Texas, Policy T70000TX. In Virginia, policies T70000VA & T70000GVA.
Coverage is underwritten by Tier One Insurance Company.
This is a brief product overview only. Coverage may not be available in all states. Benefits/premium rates may vary based on plan selected. Optional riders may be available at an additional cost. Plans and riders may also contain a waiting period. Refer to the exact plans and riders for benefit details, definitions, limitations and exclusions. For availability and costs, please contact your local Aflac agent/producer.
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