After menopause, some women feel they no longer need to go for mammograms. The American Cancer Society actually issues guidelines recommending that women 55 and older go every one or two years. If there’s a family history or some other factors that increase the cancer risk, it may be advisable to get an MRI, too.
Here’s what you need to know…
Breast Cancer Affects Many Older Women
While a higher percentage of breast cancer cases are in women younger than 65, a 2012 study of 9,800 women found that more than 4,000 were over the age of 65. It’s important that your mom gets screened at least every other year.
Insurance Companies Cover the Cost
Your mom doesn’t need to worry about the cost of a mammogram. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to pay for mammograms every one or two years. They cannot require your mom to pay a co-pay or deductible. Medicare pays for a yearly screening from the age of 40 on. Medicaid also covers the cost.
Your mom can still get a free mammogram if she does not have insurance. A list of participating facilities is found online at the CDC or by phone (1-800-CDC-INFO).
A Screening Usually Takes a Little Less Than 30 Minutes
Generally, it takes 20 minutes from start to finish. Delays can happen, however. If your mom still drives, you won’t have to worry about finding her a ride. If not, you need to do some planning.
Your mom may need to fill out paperwork first, so expect the appointment to take a half an hour or so. Depending on the amount of time it takes to drive to the screening location, you may want to plan for an hour or two if you’re driving her. If you cannot fit that into your schedule, make sure you arrange to have someone drive her and that they have a free morning or afternoon.
If She is Diagnosed With Breast Cancer, Get a Support Team in Place
When your mom is diagnosed with breast cancer following a mammogram, it’s important to have a team helping her at home. You can get friends and family members to help her out. If work schedules make it hard to cover the morning and afternoon hours, call a caregiver.
Senior care professionals can keep her from lifting heavy laundry baskets. In addition, a caregiver can make sure your mom is eating and drinking enough, taking her medications, and getting to appointments on time. Call a senior care agency to ask about costs and schedules.
Are considering hiring a caregiver in Murray, UT, please talk to the friendly staff at December Rose Senior Care at Home.
Providing Home Care in Highland, Utah and Surrounding Communities. 801-427-ROSE (7673)
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