It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women, second only to skin cancer. About 1 in 8 women in the United States today will get breast cancer at some point. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the risk factors and to understand how to detect the disease early.

Are You at Risk

While it’s impossible to know every risk factor for breast cancer, there are some steps women can take to lower their risk. Cutting down on alcohol is recommended, as alcohol use is clearly linked to increased risk. Also, maintaining a healthy weight after menopause is shown to lower the incidence of the disease. And, there is mounting evidence that physical exercise reduces breast cancer risk. As little as 1 hour and 15 minutes of brisk walking per week can reduce a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer by 18%. Of course,  many risk factors can’t be controlled—things like age, genetics or family history. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about your personal risk profile.

Early Detection is the Best Defense

When it comes to beating breast cancer, early detection is key. Beginning in their 20s, women should be aware of how to perform a breast self-exam and report any new breast changes to a doctor as soon as possible. In addition, routine mammograms (the screening test for breast cancer) can help uncover breast cancer when it’s easier to treat. Breast cancers found during mammography screenings are generally smaller and can be treated before they spread to other areas. Doctors consider early detection one of the most important survival factors—you should too.

We’ve Got You Covered!

Our 4th District Health Fund medical plan covers mammography screening performed by an In-Network provider at 100% of covered expenses with no deductible every 1 to 2 years for women over 40.

Learn More

To find out more about this topic, visit the Member Assistance Program Program website (sign in and search for “breast cancer”) and the American Cancer Society’s Learn About Breast Cancer pages. You’ll also find valuable information about early detection by visiting the National Breast Cancer Foundation.