TRICARE beneficiaries supporting breast cancer awareness month

Breast cancer screenings

Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in women. The five-year survival rate of breast cancer is over 90% when caught early. Schedule your screening today!

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A screening looks for cancer before you have any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.

Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They also study the things we do and the things around us to see if they cause cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should be used and how often the tests should be done.


Are breast cancer screenings covered?

TRICARE covers annual mammograms for all women who are age 40 or older and for women age 30 or older who are at a 15% or greater lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) have developed a risk assessment tool to estimate a woman's risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Calculate your risk


When should you get a breast screening?

If you are:

  • Age 40-44: You can choose to begin having annual mammograms
  • Age 45-54: A mammogram is recommended every year
  • Age 55 and over: A mammogram is recommended every other year


What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. It is important to have any new breast mass, lump or breast change checked by a healthcare professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.

Other possible symptoms include:

  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)

Risk factors include:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being a woman over 40 years old
  • Being a breast cancer of survivor
  • Having a history of breast cancer in your family
  • Not being physically active
  • Not having children