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Breast Cancer Awareness - Did You Know?

Published on 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Did You Know?

Chances are you; a family member, close friend or acquaintance has been impacted by breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) Breast Cancer Fact Sheet (link):

  • In 2020, globally 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer and there were 685,000 deaths,
  • At the end of 2020, there were 7.8 million women alive who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the last 5 years, making it the world’s most prevalent cancer,
  • There are more lost disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) by women to breast cancer globally than any other type of cancer,
  • Breast cancer occurs in every country of the world in women at any age after puberty but with increasing rates later in life,
  • Approximately 0.5-1% of breast cancers occur in men,
  • Improvements in survival began in the 1980’s in countries with early detection programs combined with different modes of treatment to eradicate invasive disease.
Why Should You Care?

Even though family history increases the risk of breast cancer, most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no known family history of the disease. Early detection of breast cancer allows for a higher chance of cure. Mammography is used to detect breast cancer and is one of many Preventative Services covered by Medicare.

“A WHO survey conducted in 2020 indicated that treatment for cancer had been disrupted in more than 40% of countries surveyed.” A related RealTime Medicare (RTMD) infographic, in this week’s newsletter, highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the volume of Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries undergoing screening mammography in RTMD’s footprint.

NCD 220.4 Mammograms

The CMS National Coverage Determination (NCD) 220.4 Mammograms (link) distinguishes the difference between diagnostic and screening mammography.

Diagnostic Mammography

A radiologic procedure furnished to a man or woman with signs and symptoms of breast disease, or a personal history of breast cancer, or a personal history of biopsy - proven benign breast disease and includes a physician's interpretation of the results of the procedure. CMS covers this service if ordered by a Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy in addition to the following conditions:

  • A patient has distinct signs and symptoms for which a mammogram is indicated,
  • A patient has a history of breast cancer, or
  • A patient is asymptomatic but, based on the patient’s history and other factors the physician considers significant, the physician’s judgment is that a mammogram is appropriate.
Screening Mammography

A radiologic procedure furnished to a woman without signs or symptoms of breast disease, for the purpose of early detection of breast cancer, and includes a physician’s interpretation of the results of the procedure. A screening mammography has limitations as it must be, at a minimum a two-view exposure (cranio-caudal and a medial lateral oblique view) of each breast. Routine screening includes:

  • Asymptomatic women 50 years and older, and
  • Asymptomatic women 40 years and older whose mothers or sisters have had the disease, is considered medically appropriate, but would not be covered for Medicare purposes.

Guidance for coding and billing for screening mammography is available in the MLN Educational Tool: Medicare Preventive Services (link).

What Should You Do?

Take the initiative to discuss having a screening mammogram with your health care provider. You can also check out the CDC’s webpage Find a Screening Program Near You (link) that highlights the CDC’s national Breast and Cervical Center Early Detection Program (MBCCEDP). This year marks the 30th Anniversary for this program that has provided women who have low incomes, uninsured, and underinsured women across the United States.

Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.