By Veronica Galas, RN
Carson City Health & Human Services
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Most breast cancer is found in women 50 years and over. About 10 percent of breast cancer is found in women 45 years of age and younger.
Some women are at higher risk for breast cancer no matter their age. One risk factor is a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. A breast cancer history in a first degree relative (mother, sister, and/or daughter) is an example of another risk factor. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) outlines symptoms:
Signs can include any change in the size or the shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood), and a new lump in the breast or underarm. If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.
Over the past few years, breast cancer screening guidelines have changed. Professional organizations now differ in the screening they suggest. Screening changes if a woman is at average risk for breast cancer or at higher risk. The many differences can leave any woman confused as to how to move forward with breast cancer screening. Talking with your medical provider is the best way to sort out all of the differences.
Carson City Health & Human Services follows the U.S. Preventive Task Force Guidelines. Thus CCHHS recommends women 50 to 74 receive a screening mammogram every two years. This same task force recommends women 40 to 49 talk with their health care provider – then review your individual risk and mammogram screening schedule.
Most insurances and Medicaid cover mammogram screening ordered by your doctor. For uninsured women who meet age and income criteria, there is a program called Women’s Health Connection. Women’s Health Connection is a breast and cervical cancer detection program. This program links women with screening and follow-up care.
To defray the cost of mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies for women of any age, Carson City Health & Human Services also partners with Soroptomist International of Carson City. Call 887-2195 for information.
Nevada Health Centers offers a monthly Mammovan. Call 877-581-6266 to make an appointment and to see if you qualify for a free or reduced-cost mammogram. The Mammovan schedule of dates and locations can be found here.
For information on mammograms, cancer screenings or Health Department programs and services, explore our website or “Like” our Facebook page.