New recommendations for breast cancer screenings could save live - KCTV5

New recommendations for breast cancer screenings could save lives

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Women at average risk for breast cancer should begin screening as early as age 40 and receive a mammogram every one or two years. (AP) Women at average risk for breast cancer should begin screening as early as age 40 and receive a mammogram every one or two years. (AP)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Women may soon have more health services they can receive without a copay, preventing worse health issues down the line.

After diagnosed with cancer, patients come to the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion for treatment. And the hope is always that they didn't catch it too late. New recommendations for breast cancer screenings could save lives.

Shaunna Overfelt is a secretary in breast imaging at the center. She recently found out she was at high risk of breast cancer. Thanks to a mastectomy, her risk is now much lower. But she worries about other women.

"I see it firsthand. A lot of women will put off their mammograms or their diagnostic ultrasounds and biopsies, because their procedures are applied toward their deductible. They can't afford it right now. So they keep putting it off and putting it off," she said.

The Institute of Medicine has proposed an updated list of preventive services they feel women should receive without paying anything out of pocket.

Most notably, it says women at average risk for breast cancer should begin screening as early as age 40 and receive a mammogram every one or two years.

Right now, most insurers follow a guideline that recommends screening start at age 50.

Dr. Marc Inciardi is a breast radiologist for the University of Kansas Hospital. He says early detection is key to treatment.

“We know that if a woman gets breast cancer and she has skipped one mammogram, her risk of dying goes up 40 percent. She skips two mammograms, her risk of cancer doubles," Inciardi  said.

These new guidelines could save lives. And like Overfelt, all women have something to live for.

"I have two daughters, and I wanted to be healthy for them and be there for them," she said.

If approved by the Department of Health and Human Services by December, these recommendations would go into effect for most insurance plans by the beginning of 2018. 

Click here for a full list of recommended health services.

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