blue bulletin from bcidaho

Be breast aware

Stay up to date on your mammograms

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a great time make sure you are up to date on getting a mammogram. An annual screening mammogram is covered at no cost to you as part of your preventive health benefits. By getting routine mammograms, knowing the signs of breast cancer and making lifestyle changes, you can help lower your risk of breast cancer or catch it early when it is easier to treat.

breast cancer awarenessSigns of breast cancer

Breast cancer starts when cells in breast tissue begin to grow out of control. While breast cancer occurs mostly in women, men can get breast cancer, too.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some warning signs of breast cancer:

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
  • Nipple discharge
  • Any change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast

Women may find an abnormality or growth on their breasts when doing routine checks. Most breast lumps are benign and not cancerous, but any lump or abnormality should be checked by a doctor.

Breast cancer screenings

Detecting breast cancer early can greatly improve treatment and detection. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends women age 40 and older get a screening mammogram every two years, or as recommended by their doctor.

Mammograms are the most effective screening tool to find breast cancer. The following exams or tests do not qualify as a breast cancer screening:

  • Clinical breast exam
  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

The CDC recommends these tips to help lower your risk of breast cancer:

  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit how much you drink
  • Breastfeed your children, if possible
  • Talk to your doctor if you have a family history of breast cancer

Talk to your doctor

Talk to your doctor about breast cancer screening to see when you should begin screening. If you don’t have a doctor, use our Find Care tool to find a doctor near you. Log in to make sure your search results show doctors that are in your network.


Posted: October 5, 2022

Updated: October 3, 2023