October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
This October, Quality Insights of Delaware supports National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to promote regular mammograms to increase early detection of breast cancer. It is also a time to educate people about ways to reduce their risk, empower communities to join the fight and celebrate breast cancer survivors.
According to breastcancer.org, approximately one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
The good news is that early screenings, an annual breast exam by a doctor and annual mammograms for women over 40, have been shown to increase the odds for survival.
Women age 40 to 49 should talk with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms and how often they need to schedule a screening.
Those age 50 and older should get a mammogram every two years. The doctor can decide if more frequent mammograms are needed.
These are general guidelines. It is important to talk to a doctor about risk for breast cancer, especially if breast or ovarian cancer runs in the family. According to breastcancer.org, a woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative, mother, sister, or daughter, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 15 percent of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it. Consulting with a doctor is the best way to decide when and how often to get a mammogram.
Quality Insights of Delaware, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Delaware, also has resources and tools available on its website to help advance the fight against breast cancer. Go to www.qide.org and click on Resources and Prevention to access items like the Breast Cancer Fact Sheet and a link to the Delaware Cancer Consortium.
Quality Insights of Delaware, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, protects Medicare patient rights and works collaboratively with hospitals and other healthcare providers in Delaware to assist them in their efforts to improve the quality of the care they deliver. To learn more about this nonprofit organization, visit www.qide.org. CMS is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.