Early detection crucial for women and breast cancer

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The goal is to raise awareness about the importance of early detection in treating breast cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report  breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about 1 in 8 women born in the U.S. today will get breast cancer at some point. It is important that all women, especially those with a higher risk of breast cancer, get screened and know when to start getting mammograms.
Mammograms are an X-ray picture of the breast used to look for early signs of breast cancer. When breast cancer is found early, many women go on to live long and healthy lives. For information about mammograms and how they are done, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/mammograms.htm.
Breast cancer affects women of all ages and ethnicities. Tricare covers clinical breast exams for women under 40 years old during a covered periodic preventive health exam. After age 40, clinical breast exams are covered annually. Annual mammogram screening for women starts at 40. For women who have a 15 percent higher risk, Tricare covers screening mammograms annually starting at age 30.
For women who don’t fall into one of these categories, the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program works with health departments and other groups to provide low-cost or free mammograms for women who qualify. Go to www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/screenings.htm to find out if you qualify.
For more information on your Tricare coverage, go to www.tricare.mil/breastexams.