Too Many Women Skip Important Cancer Screenings

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield encourages women to schedule exams as part of National Women’s Health Week
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Been meaning to schedule your annual wellness exam but just haven’t gotten around to it? For too many women, the answer is yes. That’s why Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is calling on all women to take time for themselves and schedule any necessary health screenings that they may need to maintain and improve their health.

National Women’s Health Week is May 13-19, and Dr. Jaeger says it is a good time to for women to schedule any doctor appointments they may have been putting off.“Many women are spending so much of their time at work and caring for others that they are neglecting their own health needs,” said Dr. Michael Jaeger, managing medical director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “We want these busy women to know that the best way to be there for others is to be healthy themselves.”

“The old saying, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ is absolutely right,” Jaeger said. “Doctors have been telling people about the importance of preventive care for years, but our data shows us that too many women – and men – still aren’t getting their recommended health screenings.”

According to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, even women with health insurance that covers 100 percent of the cost of health screenings are skipping potentially lifesaving tests. Among the company’s membership, nearly one-third of women eligible for breast and cervical cancer screenings based on their age and health status did not get the routine tests.*

  • Breast cancer: 32.3 percent missed recommended screening. Treatment for breast cancer is more likely to be successful when the cancer is found early. That’s why it’s important to discuss with your doctor if a mammogram would be recommended for you beginning at age 40 and make sure you get a mammogram every two years at 50 or older.
  • Cervical cancer: 31 percent missed recommended screening. This screening looks for changes in cells that if not treated, could become cancerous. Talk with your doctor about a screening schedule of once every one to three years if you are sexually active and between the ages of 21 and 70.

In many cases, routine preventative screenings are fully covered as preventative care by health insurance plans. Individuals should contact their insurer to find out what screenings and exams are covered by their health plan and then contact their doctor to schedule an appointment.

“Regular screenings can help detect diseases and other conditions early so that you receive proper treatment,” Jaeger said. “It is one of the easiest and best things you can do to take care of your health.”

More information, including guidelines and information about specific screenings can be found on the National Women’s Health Week website: womenshealth.gov/whw.