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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month — schedule your breast exam today.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month was started by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness and raise funds for research. This life-threatening disease is the second most common type of cancer in women. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

Breast cancer is a tumor located in breast tissue cells. You cannot control risk factors such as gender, age, race or family history. But you can control other factors such as maintaining a healthy weight, performing regular physical activity, eating a nutritious diet and scheduling preventive screenings. It is also important to perform and schedule detection screenings. When detected early, breast cancer is more likely to be treated successfully.

Schedule your mammogram today
Mammograms are important for early breast cancer detection. According to the National Cancer Institute, you should receive a yearly mammogram starting at the age of 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer, a mammogram should be scheduled earlier. A mammogram is an image of breast tissue that is used to detect cancerous tumors and cysts. Sometimes tumors can be detected by a mammogram before they can be felt by a woman during a self-exam. Mammograms can detect a tumor in its earliest stages, making it easier to treat.

Highmark members are eligible, based on their preventive maintenance schedule, for a mammogram every one to two years beginning at age 40 or at the direction of their physician. If you have questions about eligibility, please call the member service number on the back of your Highmark ID card.

Additional health and wellness information

If you're a Highmark member, you have access to a secure, members-only website. Here you will find more information about breast cancer. To access the website, select the service region noted on your member ID card. After logging in, select the "Wellness" tab. Type "breast cancer" in the search field. For information on your members-only website, visit the Highmark Blog.