Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American women, second to lung cancer. One in every eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime, but only one in 28 women will die from it. Having a solid health insurance policy in place can help you have access to the health care you will need if you are diagnosed with breast cancer. In fact, a solid health insurance policy will most likely give you a higher chance of overcoming breast cancer with early detection through regular mammograms and clinical breast exams.
Breast Cancer Basics
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells may also invade nearby tissues and spread through out the body. These abnormal types of growth are called tumors. There are two types of tumors: malignant and benign. Benign tumors do not threaten life and do not spread, but malignant ones are dangerous and do invade nearby tissues.
Preventing Breast Cancer
Men and women of all ages are at risk for developing breast cancer. Early detection is very important in curing breast cancer. The best way to detect breast cancer at an early stage can be achieved by practicing the following: Mammograms and clinical breast exams should be performed regularly. Self breast exams should also be performed regularly. Women beyond the age of 40 should have a mammogram each year. Women younger than 40 should have exams every three years. There are some things that you can do to help prevent breast cancer, but some she are uncontrollable. The following are some of the risk factors that you may have no control over:
A family history of breast cancer
Starting menstruation at an early age (before 12)
Beginning menopause late (after 50)
The following are some risk factors that may be controllable through lifestyle choices:
Not having children
Having children after the age of 30
Breast Cancer and Your Health Plan
Since breast cancer is a disease that affects so many women, all women should make sure that their health insurance policy covers mammograms, and all the medical attention that may be needed if diagnosed with breast cancer. Your policy should cover doctor appointments, chemotherapy, mastectomy, and breast reconstructive procedures. In fact, if a woman’s health insurance policy covers mastectomy procedures, then by law her policy must cover reconstructive procedures as well.
Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act was signed into law in 1998. It is designed to help protect breast cancer patients who choose to have breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy. Under the WHCRA, HMO’s and other insurance companies that offer coverage for mastectomy procedures must also offer coverage for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Reconstructive surgery includes reconstruction of the breast, augmentation of the other breast to provide a similar appearance, breast prosthesis, and treatment for complications that may arise. Many people in the United States either do not have a health insurance program, or have a health insurance program that does not offer sufficient coverage to pay for all the medical attention a person may need. All people need a solid health insurance policy in place to help ensure that they stay healthy or have access to medical care if they fall ill. Women especially need to make sure that their health insurance policy covers treatment for one of the most serious health issues that women have to face today: breast cancer.
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