October has always been a month of celebration for me and my family. It’s not only my birth month, but I share this month with so many friends, and the birth of my son. But I would be remiss if I failed to mention the elephant in the room — October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease, offer information and support to those affected by breast cancer and raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.
I am lucky. I know only a small handful of people who have had breast cancer. And, luckily, they have been through treatment and are currently in remission.
And that is due to, in large part, early detection and prevention.
Here’s what you need to know about breast cancer:
- Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women, with skin cancer being the first.
- About 1 in 8 women born today in the U.S. will get breast cancer at some point in their lives.
- Approximately 231,340 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
- Breast cancer patients with employer-sponsored health insurance spend $6,553 out-of-pocket.
Even as the second most common cancer among women in the United States, millions of women are surviving breast cancer thanks in part to early detection and improvements in treatment. The goal of screening exams for breast cancer is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms (like a lump that can be felt). Screening refers to tests and exams used to find a disease, such as cancer, in people who do not have any symptoms (that they are aware of).
While women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health, women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years. If you are seeing a gynecologist for an annual exam, they will likely be doing a breast tissue exam during that time.
It’s frightening to think that any one of us could potentially have our lives derailed by breast cancer. And it’s even scarier to think that health insurance wouldn’t bear the burden of the cost. At least, not in it’s entirety.
During the Fall we are all burdened with looking at our employer-based insurance coverage and determining the best plan of action for our families. However, I urge you to also consider policies that can help ease worries about the financial cost of breast cancer if it were to occur. When caught early, the survival rate for breast cancer is as high as 99 percent, but the diagnosis can be accompanied by an expensive treatment regimen. Aflac’s cash benefits can help policyholders pay the out-of-pocket costs associated with costly cancer treatments.
A cancer insurance policy can be used not only for treatment expenses not covered by major medical insurance, but also for extra child care that may be needed, transportation to and from the doctor or treatments, and even everyday living expenses, such as mortgage payments or groceries. If you or a family member does end up being diagnosed with breast cancer, or any cancer, you want to be able to focus on recovery not finances, and a cancer insurance policy can help you do just that. Plus, with Aflac’s recently introduced One Day PaySM initiative, which allows Aflac to process, approve and pay eligible claims in just a day, you can have the cash you need in hand faster than ever before.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.