Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? I got the best Christmas present last year. My mother, who was then 91-years-old was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer last fall. She went through a myriad of tests. Just when I was trying to figure out how to arrange a trip to California to help out, my mom called me. Her final tests showed that the growth was pre-cancerous and did not require surgery. Instead, they put her back on hormone treatment.
October is a good time to learn more about breast cancer. Did you know …
- Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women, with skin cancer being the first.
- About 1 in 8 women born today in the U.S. will get breast cancer at some point in their lives.
- Approximately 231,340 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
- Breast cancer patients with employer-sponsored health insurance spend $6,553 out-of-pocket.
Do you hate mammograms as much as I do? But, it turns out, early detection is key. Besides getting an annual mammogram, we all should be doing self examinations. My doctor advises to do them in the shower as a daily habit.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following for early breast cancer detection in women without breast symptoms:
- Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years.
- Breast self-exam (BSE) is also an option for women starting in their 20s.
Consider insurance policies that can help ease worries about the financial cost of breast cancer if it were to occur. My mother was lucky in that she had health insurance that covered all her tests, medical appointments, and prescriptions. When caught early, the survival rate for breast cancer is as high as 99 percent, but the diagnosis can be accompanied by an expensive treatment regimen.
For most U.S. companies, fall marks open enrollment season, which means now is the time you can review your employer-sponsored benefits offerings and choose the health insurance policies that best meet your financial and health care needs. Aflac’s cash benefits can help policyholders pay the out-of-pocket costs associated with costly cancer treatments.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Aflac will be partnering with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) again for its second annual “This Duck Wears Pink” campaign. Aflac is selling a variety of campaign-related merchandise including the plush duck, hats and a breast cancer ribbon pin, with all the net proceeds going to the AACR for the specific purpose of funding research aimed at finding a cure for breast cancer. You can donate and shop for merchandise here.
p.s. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I created a book list: Books About Cancer for Kids and Teens.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.