Options – The mammogram is the most common screening test for breast cancer and is now available through both two-dimensional and three-dimensional technology. Besides the mammogram, other types of breast cancer screening tests that may be recommended for higher risk patients include ultrasound and MRI. Which screening test is right for you, and how often you need to be tested, is dependent upon your personal risk factors and family history. Learn how to identify your cancer risk factors here. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has a breast cancer risk assessment tool developed for providers to help them to estimate a woman’s risk of developing invasive breast cancer over the next 5 years and up to age 90 (lifetime risk). Click here to learn more. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Bring Your Brave campaign seeks to help providers identify and manage patients who may be at high risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. To learn more, click here.
Payment – Some women are unsure about how they will pay for their screening tests. Insurance obtained through the Affordable Care Act, private insurance offered through an employer, Medicare, and Medicaid all pay for screening tests recommended by a healthcare provider. Women who do not have one these options may be eligible for the Every Women Matters Program in Nebraska. If you are not eligible for that program, staff members or local community health workers can refer you to other programs operated by nonprofit organizations. To connect with local resources to help you get screened, click here.
Follow-up – It’s no use having a screening test if you do not follow-up if the test comes back “abnormal.” Don’t let the fear of a diagnosis or impending costs keep you from following-through. If you get an abnormal result and don’t know who to ask for help, contact the Lincoln Breast Cancer Alliance. The Alliance is a group of caring people affiliated with special programs that can help you overcome any barriers that stand in the way of prompt diagnosis and treatment. Remember, cancer caught early is often curable.
Warning signs – Don’t delay. See your provider right away if you notice any of these potential breast cancer warning signs:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that does not go away