After Your Breast Cancer Diagnosis: What Next?

  • Published
  • By Tyler Patterson
  • TriWest Healthcare Alliance
"You have breast cancer."

A diagnosis of breast cancer can be one of the most terrifying experiences of a person's life. Even if you're expecting it, you're braced for it and you're simply waiting for the confirmation, not much else in the world can change your life as completely as those four words.

In such a trying time, it's good to have the support of your family and your friends--and your TRICARE benefit.

TRICARE Prime, Standard and Extra beneficiaries are entitled to a preventive breast cancer examination every year beginning at age 40. Beneficiaries identified as being at high risk for breast cancer (due to family history, etc.) are covered for annual exams beginning at age 35. These exams offer your best chance at detecting breast cancer early, when it is most easily and effectively treated. In fact, when detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent.

Following your diagnosis, your doctor will likely present you with several choices for treatment. TRICARE covers most options, including mastectomy (the surgical removal of the breast), radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Each of these procedures has its own unique risks and benefits; be sure to discuss your options in detail with your doctor.

TRICARE is also there to help with your post-procedure recovery. If your treatment option results in hair loss, TRICARE will cover the cost of a wig. If you elect to have a mastectomy, TRICARE covers reconstructive breast surgery, as well as two initial mastectomy bras and two replacement bras per calendar year.

Visit for more information on your TRICARE benefit. To learn more about breast cancer, visit