By receiving mammograms each year beginning at 40 years of age, as recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS), women can increase their chances of early-stage diagnosis of breast cancer. This is the stage when breast cancer is most treatable. Therefore, women who have annual mammograms and are diagnosed with breast cancer are much more likely to survive the illness than women who do not receive mammograms.
A mammogram is a safe, low dose x-ray used to detect breast cancer in women who do not have any symptoms. The disease can occur at any time, and risk increases with age. Furthermore, most women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.
Medicare Part B pays 80 percent of the cost of mammograms, once every 12 months for women 40 years of age or older. Women can also get baseline mammograms between 35 and 39 years of age. Beneficiaries do not need to meet their deductibles to receive this benefit.
Awareness of the importance of mammograms is a woman's first essential step toward building the habit of getting mammograms every year. Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc., (HQSI), the Medicare-designated quality improvement organization for New Jersey, continually works with providers in all healthcare settings to ensure that consumers are educated about mammograms, as well as other screenings and immunizations. These educational initiatives are part of HQSI's mission to help ensure that all patients receive the right care every time, the vision defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc.