Why Group Health? Members Say it Best

Breast Cancer Prevention Goes Above and Beyond

Member

Amanda BennettI have a scary family history of breast cancer. Both my mom and maternal grandmother died of breast cancer. And my sister went through breast cancer treatment at age 50, about 8 years ago. (She’s OK now.) I’ve had several breast biopsies over the years when lumps have looked suspicious — but I’m 60 now and, luckily, nothing has turned up yet.

What’s amazing is the level of preventive care that Group Health is giving me. About the time my sister was being treated for breast cancer, my personal physician suggested I see one of Group Health’s genetics specialists. The genetics counselor explained the importance of testing for the breast cancer gene, BRCA1/BRCA2, so I got tested. It turns out that I don’t have that gene, but because of my family history, I still need to have ongoing high-risk screening.

I get an annual mammogram and MRI, and once a year I have an appointment with either a Group Health oncology nurse practitioner or specialist. Because there might be a connection between vitamin D deficiencies and breast cancer, I get my vitamin D levels tested and take a vitamin D supplement. And I take tamoxifen — another preventive measure against developing breast cancer.

I found it reassuring to have the BRCA1/BRCA2 test. Before the test, I thought it was inevitable that I was going to get breast cancer. After the test, I knew that cancer wasn’t inevitable for me — but I still needed to be vigilant about prevention. Even if the test had been positive, I think it would have been good to have that knowledge and be able to make some decisions about what I wanted to do next.

I like to tell this story to people who haven’t experienced Group Health and think of managed care as something that ratchets down on care. I’ve experienced just the opposite: A ratcheting up.

Group Health is very proactive at prevention and always has my best interests at heart. If they can prevent someone from getting cancer, or help someone get on top of whatever they have, they’ll do it. And that’s very reassuring.

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