May 12, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Dispelling Myths About Breast Cancer & Older Women:

October is “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and an ideal time to dispel some myths about breast cancer while encouraging all women over 40 – and especially those 65 or older – to get annual mammograms.

Studies show that even some physicians are unaware of the importance of mammograms for older women and do not make mammogram referrals often enough after age 65.  So, get the facts and take charge of your health!

Myth #1: Older women don’t get breast cancer anymore.

Age is the single greatest risk factor for getting breast cancer other than being a woman!  That means as women get older, their risk of breast cancer increases. That’s why they must continue to be screened every year.  We only recommend stopping mammograms for women with a very limited life expectancy or who want no treatment after diagnosis.  Screening older women for early-stage breast cancer can contribute to longer survival and enhanced quality of life.

Myth #2: Older women don’t need mammograms.

Many women are told they do not need mammograms when they get older.  Unfortunately, some women are even told this by their misinformed physicians.  In fact, just the opposite is true. Older women face a higher risk of getting breast cancer and should get screening mammograms yearly.

Guidelines from the American Cancer Society:

• Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.

• Clinical breast exams should be conducted about every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 or older.

• Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and promptly report any changes to their health-care provider. Breast self-exams are an option for women beginning in their 20s.

The American Cancer Society also recommends that some women be screened with MRI in addition to mammograms because of family history, genetic predisposition or certain other factors. However, the number of women who fall into this category is small – less than 2 percent of all women in the United States.

Myth #3:  Medicare does not cover annual mammograms.

I hear this concern a lot from my patients, especially in these difficult economic times. In fact, Medicare does cover annual screening mammograms. For elderly women, Medicare Part B provides a preventive service that includes annual mammogram coverage.  

Cost should never be a deterrent to getting mammograms. If you do not have insurance, there are many clinics where you can get mammograms at reduced fees. The Venice Family Clinic and Westside Family Health Center are two local facilities that provide affordable medical care, including mammograms, to uninsured or underinsured women in our community.

When completing your to-do list this month, don’t forget to schedule your annual mammogram!

Dr. Sonja Rosen is a board-certified geriatrician with the highly regarded UCLA Geriatrics Program in Santa Monica and medical director of the Geriatrics Unit at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.  For more information, call 310.319.4371.

in Health
Related Posts

Motherly Mindfulness in a Pandemic

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

This last year has been a whirlwind for everyone, and if you’re a mother, chances are it has redefined your...

Beverly Hill’s Latest Craze is The “Busso” Experience

March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021

Dr. Mariano Busso, one of the world’s leading experts in cosmetic fillers and facial rejuvenation, has opened up additional appointment times...

The Pandemic of 2020: Lessons Learned

March 9, 2021

March 9, 2021

The 2020 pandemic took the country by surprise. Many people lost their small businesses, income, and quality of life. However,...

The Best Ways for Women to Get and Stay Healthy

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

We all want to live our happiest and healthiest lives, but it is very easy to get overwhelmed with information....

4 Tips on How to Succeed in Life

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

We all want to be successful in our lives, in our careers, and in our passions but sometimes we do...

3 Ways to Restore Self Esteem and Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle in 2021

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Every year we start filled with resolutions, hope, and determination. We know that after the year we’ve just had, 2021...

Gift Ideas for Loved Ones Living Alone

February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Everyone needs to be cheered up once in a while. This can be especially true of someone who lives alone....

A Renewed Focus on Living

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

The pandemic caused turmoil for many Americans, emotionally and financially. With 2020 now in the rear-view mirror, people are using...

Don’t Make These 3 Fitness Mistakes

February 20, 2021

February 20, 2021

The great thing about the internet is that we now have access to a plethora of fitness content then ever...

5 Promising Medical Breakthroughs On The Horizon

February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021

Although we’re in a worldwide pandemic, many of us are still enjoying the comfort and convenience of being cared for...

Santa Monica Pier Closed for Five Days in a Row

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

City cites warm weather forecasted for Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro With temperatures reaching the 80s expected, city officials are...

Do You Make These 3 New Year Resolution Mistakes?

January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

Every new year, you feel a ray of hope. Perhaps this year, you can start your life all over again,...

Activities to do with your children during COVID-19

January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

Typically, living in LA means eating out, art museums, and playgrounds– all things children love. With numbers of COVID-19 cases...

PIQUE Health Not Your Average Medical Practice

December 7, 2020

December 7, 2020

PIQUE Health is the very first comprehensive mens health center in Beverly Hills. With highly personalized treatment plans that fit...

Helping Older Loved Ones Pick a Retirement Home

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

There comes a time when a loved one needs some help to stay safe, which is when a retirement home...