Breast Cancer Awareness: Take Charge of your Health

Breast cancer prevention and awareness go hand-in-hand. A breast cancer screening is extremely useful in early detection of breast cancer, breast disease, and other cancers. Screenings including clinical exams, breast self-exams (BSEs), and imaging tests, such as mammograms, should be completed regularly so that it is possible to determine if there are changes in the breast tissue, noting any changes in your breasts or the possible presence of breast cancer cells.


Early detection of breast cancer increases the chances of successful treatment. Regular screening tests for women at an average risk level developing cancer:

  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast examination as part of a periodic health exam by a medical professional every three years.  

  • Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.

  • Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

  • Women 55 and older may be able to switch to having to a mammogram every other year, depending on several factors. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, so as long as a woman is in good health, she should continue getting routine mammograms.

While most cases of breast cancer are found in women ages 50 and older, the disease can develop sooner. Young women at increased risk should discuss their breast cancer risk factors with their doctors if earlier screenings are necessary.


Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose X-ray system for examination of the breasts. It allows a radiologist to identify differences between a normal breast and one that may show signs of cancer cells. A mammogram is the best available method for early detection of breast cancer, which is approximately one to three years before a woman can feel a lump.

During a mammogram, you can expect the following:

  • You will be required to undress above the waist. The facility will provide a wrap for you to wear.

  • A technologist will be present to position your breasts for the mammogram. You and the technologist will be the only persons present during the mammogram. Most technologists are women.

  • The entire procedure takes about 20 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds.

  • You may feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed, but you should not feel pain.


In between clinical exams and mammograms, women should complete BSEs to become familiar with the look and feel of their breasts when healthy, so that changes can be detected as early as possible.

  • Lie down and place one arm behind your head.

  • Use the pads of your middle three fingers on the opposite hand to check your breast and lymph nodes in overlapping, dime-sized circular motions.

  • Use an up-and-down pattern starting at your underarm and moving all the way to the middle of your breastbone to feel for changes.

Standing with your hands on your hips, look in a mirror for changes in size, shape, contour or coloring of your breasts.

What am I looking for?

Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following changes to your breast or nipple tissue while doing a BSE, as they may be signs of breast cancer:

  • Lumps

  • Dimpling, red, scaly, or swollen skin

  • Nipple discharge or pain

It is normal for healthy breast tissue to change during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, or while taking birth control pills or other hormone therapy. However, if you notice changes at other times in your life, it is strongly suggested that you visit a doctor immediately for a more in-depth breast cancer screening.

More in-depth information on how to perform a BSE is available at This website also provides a Breast Self-Awareness Interactive Tool that you can view. Or, check out this diagram on, which illustrates how to perform a thorough self-exam.


  • Is a Mammogram Covered under my TSHBP Benefits? Yes, routine mammograms for women ages 35 and older are part of your plan’s Preventive and Wellness Services for Adults in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • What is my cost for a mammogram under my TSHBP Benefits? As a preventative care service, your mammogram will be covered by your plan at 100%.
  • What do I do if I need a mammogram?


(855)-830-9234 Call us to confirm your provider is part of the Health Smart Physician and Ancillary Network. If you need a provider, we’ll find one for you.  Our Provider Search Tool  is also available to you! (888) 803-0081 Contact the Care Coordinator to coordinate facility services.


Call your doctor to schedule an appointment.

Provide the office staff with your insurance information, including the provider network Health Smart Physician and Ancillary Network.
Your Care Coordinator schedules your procedure with the provider and facility and arranges the payment.

The Care Coordinator provides you detail instructions on what to expect when you go into the facility.


Present your TSHBP member insurance card at your appointment. No ID card or paperwork needed. You go to the facility and have your procedure as scheduled.

Download an infographic of the chart and other helpful information below. If you have any questions about your TSHBP coverage, please contact us to speak to a representative

Download breast cancer awareness month infographic

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