Breast Cancer and Mammograms

Breast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that starts from cells of the breast. The disease occurs mostly in women, but men can get breast cancer as well. The information referenced in this post only pertains to breast cancer in women.   A woman’s breast is made up of glands that make breast milk (lobules), ducts (small tubes that connect lobules to the nipple), fatty and connective tissue, blood vessels, and lymph (pronounced limf) vessels. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts (ductal carcinoma), some begin in the lobules (lobular carcinoma), and the rest in other tissues. 
The American Cancer Society breast cancer screening guidelines are for women at average risk for cancer (unless otherwise specified) and without any specific symptoms.  Mammograms are used to uncover early signs of breast cancer.  A mammogram is a special type of X-ray of the breasts. Mammograms can show tumors long before they are big enough for you or your health care provider to feel. Mammograms are quick and easy. You stand in front of an X-ray machine. The person who takes the X-rays places your breast between two plastic plates. The plates press your breast and make it flat. This may be uncomfortable, but it helps get a clear picture. You will have an X-ray of each breast. A mammogram takes only a few seconds and it can help save your life. 
The American Cancer Society’s recommendations are for yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina’s Blue Advantage Plan covers screening mammograms beginning at age 35 along with the doctor’s interpretation of the results.  More frequent or earlier mammograms will be covered as recommended by a doctor when a female member is considered at risk for breast cancer.  A member is at risk if she has a personal history of breast cancer;  has a personal history of biopsy-proven benign breast disease;  has a mother, sister or daughter who has or has had breast cancer;  has not given birth before the age of 30.  
Content of this article from American Cancer Society and Medline Plus
As of the date of this article, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina covers mammograms one of two ways:  They are covered 100% if done for screening/prevention purposes (by themselves with no other service done in conjunction).  However, if done in conjunction with a surgery, they will be subject to your deductible.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our qualified agents.  Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC).  You may qualify for a 15% healthy lifestyle discount if you are in excellent health.  Call us for details.

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