June 28th, 2012 by Hasham
Private Testing for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in women your age is rare. But it can still be very worrying when you find changes in how your breasts look or feel.
Most lumps that women find in their breasts are not breast cancer. In younger women most lumps are caused by non cancerous (benign) conditions. Benign breast conditions include cysts and fibroadenomas. Cysts are fluid filled sacs. These are found more commonly in women in their 40′s and 50′s. Fibroadenomas are particularly common in women in their 20′s and 30′s. They are caused by an over development of fibrous tissue. In most cases these lumps are quite harmless.
Do bear in mind that the way your breasts look and feel will change as you go through life. This is normal. It is important to remember that your breasts become more lumpy and tender during your period. Check your breasts when you are not having a period and then again during your next period. You may find that the lump goes after your period has finished. There is more information about normal breast structure in CancerHelp UK’s breast cancer section.
If you’ve read all this and are still worried, it would be a good idea to have the lump checked out by a doctor. If you don’t feel comfortable with your own GP, perhaps you could see another doctor in the same practice? If you really don’t feel able to go to your own GP practice, you can find another one by phoning NHS Direct or using their website.
It is possible to see a private GP. These services can be found by looking in your phone book or searching online for private GP services. If you want to, you can pay for screening privately. You can do this by going to a private health clinic (these are listed in your local phone book). But you should check their reputation with your GP first.
Mammograms are not usually used to test for breast cancer in women in their 20s and early 30s, as the breast tissue is very dense and mammograms are not so good at picking up changes in dense tissue. Tests used for younger women usually include an ultrasound scan of the breast tissue and an examination by a doctor or nurse practitioner. Ultrasound uses sound waves to get a picture of the inside of the body. It is painless and takes just a few minutes. If the doctor or nurse are not sure what the lump is after these tests you may have a needle biopsy or an MRI scan.
Although at your age it is very unlikely that your symptoms are caused by anything serious, you are wise to be cautious. Being breast aware means knowing what your breasts normally look and feel like. By knowing what is normal for you, you are more likely to spot an unusual change.
There’s a whole world of testing that goes along with taking care of your breasts. Although medical tests can be nerve-wracking — especially when it comes to waiting for results — they are essential in keeping your breasts healthy and getting you proper care if you develop breast cancer.
In this section, you’ll learn about the different types of breast cancer tests, such as mammogram, breast MRI, and biopsy. You can learn about getting your test results and keeping track of your medical records. Also featured are the pros and cons of genetic testing and what those results might mean for you.
Breast cancer screening in a private women’s clinic.
A review of 6109 mammograms representing 4332 patients seen over 4 years is presented. The American Cancer Society guidelines for mammography screening were followed. Forty-five percent of all tumors were nonpalpable; in 12% of these the lymph nodes were positive for cancer. In the group with palpable breast cancers, 62% had positive lymph nodes. Screening mammography results in an increased number of localization biopsies. Biopsy rates were compared with several series. Costs for mammography screening programs were reviewed and related to the cost of each breast cancer detected. In our series the cost per cancer detected was $13,000. This study provides evidence to justify the American Cancer Society guidelines.
State efforts to ensure private health insurance coverage of mammography
Many states require that private insurance companies, Medicaid, and public employee health plans provide coverage and reimbursement for specific health services and procedures. The American Cancer Society (ACS) supports these kinds of patient protections, particularly when it comes to evidence-based cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment services.
The only state without a law ensuring that private health plans cover or offer coverage for screening mammograms is Utah (see table below). Of the remaining 49 states that have enacted either assured benefits or ensured offerings for mammography coverage, many states do not conform to ACS guidelines and are either more or less “generous” than ACS recommendations. Some states like Rhode Island, however, specifically state in their legislative language that mammography screening should be covered according to the ACS guidelines.
All state Medicaid programs plus the District of Columbia cover screening mammograms. This coverage may or may not conform to American Cancer Society guidelines. State Medicaid offices should be able to provide screening coverage information to interested individuals. The Medicaid programs are governed by state legislation and regulation, so assured coverage is not always apparent in legislative bills.
In addition, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have opted to provide Medicaid coverage for all women diagnosed with breast cancer through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (see the next section), so that they may receive cancer treatment. This option allows states to receive significant matching funds from the federal government. States vary in the age, income and other requirements that women must meet in order to qualify for treatment through the Medicaid program. (All 50 states, 4 U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 13 American Indian/Alaska Native organizations participate in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.)