All women age 50 and older should get a mammogram to screen for breast cancer at least once every 2 years. Some women should start getting mammograms at age 40.
A mammogram is a test that takes an X-ray of each breast from two different angles. It allows doctors called radiologists to look for signs of breast cancer. An Arkansas law that went into effect in 2017 now allows doctors to order 3-D mammograms for routine breast cancer screenings at no additional cost to the patient.
Discuss breast cancer screening with your primary care physician to decide when you should start having mammograms, and how often.
Reduce Your Risk Factors
There are several factors that increase your breast cancer risk. Factors that you can’t change include:
- Getting older
- Being a woman
- Having a family history of breast cancer
- Starting your period at an early age
- Late menopause after the age of 55
But here’s the good news: You can take steps to lower your risk for breast cancer. Take charge of your health and reduce your chances of developing breast cancer by:
- Avoiding alcohol or limiting drinks to no more than one per day
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Breastfeeding any children you may have, if possible
- Asking your doctor about the risks of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy and finding out if either are right for you
Finding breast cancer early, when it’s small and has not spread, will ensure the best chance for a successful outcome.
Annual screenings are covered by the QualChoice Preventive Health Benefit for women at least 40 years old. See all Preventive Care Benefits.