October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity to highlight breast cancer prevention, education and finding a cure. It is also a time to recognize the 2.5 million breast cancer survivors across the country, the strength of the women currently battling the disease, and honor those who lost their lives to it.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Breast cancer knows no boundaries and impacts women of all different ages and backgrounds. As we continue to search for the cure, early detection is a woman's best defense against breast cancer. If diagnosed at the earliest stages, the five-year breast cancer survival rate is 98 percent.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women with Medicare and many private health plans can now access preventive health services like mammograms without any out of pocket costs. Additionally, because of the Affordable Care Act, no one will have to worry about being denied coverage or charged higher premiums by an insurance company because of a "pre-existing condition" like breast cancer, and insurance companies can no longer place lifetime limits on coverage plans, giving women the piece of mind that an illness won't bankrupt them.
The American Cancer Society provides the following screening recommendations:
Women in their 20's and 30's should have a clinical breast exam every 1-3 years.
Women over the age of 40 should have a yearly clinical breast exam and mammogram.
Women at high risk should consult with their physician regarding screening type and when to be screened
Find out if you qualify for a free or low-cost screening and screening locations in New Jersey.
This October let's take the time to remember the importance of early detection strategies, including self-examination, regular mammograms and understanding the risk factors and warning signs of all types of breast cancer. As your Congressman I will continue to fight for adequate funding to preserve our nation's commitment to breast cancer research and join you this month and all months in spreading awareness about this disease.
Frank Pallone, Jr.
Member of Congress