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We do not know how to prevent breast cancer, but if it is found early, there are more treatment options and a better chance for survival. Having regular mammograms is the best way to detect breast cancer early.

Each year, approximately 180,000 new cases of breast cancer will be found. About 44,000 women will die from the disease this year. Fortunately, when the disease is caught early (the localized stage), the five year survival rate is 97%.

All women who are age 40 or older should have regular screening mammograms each year. Women in their 20s and 30s should also have clinical breast examinations as part of their periodic health exam by a medical professional every three years.

Under the Affordable Care Act, women’s preventative mammograms generally must be covered by health plans with no cost sharing. As a result of the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, Independent Health provides benefits for mastectomy-related services, including reconstruction and surgery to achieve symmetry between the breasts, prostheses and treatment for complications resulting from a mastectomy, including lymphedema.

For additional information regarding benefits for routine preventative mammograms and the Women’s Health and Cancer Right Act, contact Independent Health Member Services at (716) 631-8701.

For a list of facilities that offer mammogram services in Western New York click here.

Submitted by: Dawn Rotterman, Human Resources associate