Know your breast cancer screening options

Female patient is comforted by her doctor

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) is turning pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We want to remind our community members to get yearly checkups with your primary care providers. They can help you know your risks, ask questions and find out when you should be screened for breast cancer.

Available screening options
Mammograms are still one of the best ways to find breast cancer early. The National Cancer Institute says to get a mammogram every one to two years starting at age 40. If you’ve had breast cancer or other risk factors, you and your doctor may want to come up with a new screening process.

For people at high risk, providers may use a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI works by having magnets and radio waves take pictures of the breast. Because breast MRIs can appear abnormal even when there is no cancer, they are not suggested for someone at average risk.

While screening can’t stop cancer, it can help you get treatment sooner. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and together you can agree on a plan.

Examining at home
Self-exams are also a great way to notice symptoms of breast cancer and abnormalities such as lumps, pain or changes in size. It’s important to report concerns to your provider.

Clinical visits
When you get a physical at a clinic, clinicians often use their hands to feel for lumps or other changes in your breast.

No matter how you do it, stay up to date on your checkups and remind family and friends to do the same. It can save lives. Together, let’s fight breast cancer in North Dakota.

Learn more about Common Preventive Care and Breast Cancer.