I have written several different posts about the lab discount program we offer and how it can save you a significant amount of money on any lab tests your doctor orders for you. Or, if you are proactive about your health and get yearly blood work done as part of your health regimen, this can also save you money.
Since our goal at MediGap Advisors is to help you cut your health care costs while still receiving quality services, I cannot say enough good things about our partner DirectLabs. To add to the list of things I love about this company, they are also socially responsible and are committed to helping make diagnostic tests affordable for anyone who needs them.
To this end, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, DirectLabs has decided to offer discounts on several different tests specifically designed to help women maintain breast health.
Can These Tests Diagnose Breast Cancer?
Unfortunately, there is no blood test available that can diagnose breast cancer. Most of the time, women are only aware there is a potential issue if they personally experience problems with their breasts. Some of these issues can be a lump in the breast, changes in size or shape of the breast, or even swelling in the armpit area. In many cases, however, breast cancer can progress quickly and remain undetected.
What different blood tests can do is help identify specific red flags that predict a person’s susceptibility to breast cancer. While they are not to be used as a replacement for breast self-examinations or mammograms, they can be used as another integral part of your breast health regimen.
What Types of Tests Are Performed?
There are three different blood tests that are used to help detect the markers for breast cancer.
• Melatonin level—Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone; in order to have a healthy sleep cycle you must have enough melatonin in your body. In addition to helping you sleep, however, research has shown that a reduced melatonin level can be linked to both breast and cervical cancer. Without this vital chemical, you not only miss out on valuable sleep (which contributes directly to your health), but you can also suffer from a compromised immune system.
Having your melatonin level checked at least yearly can help you monitor your general immune health and allow you to make changes as needed in order to create or maintain a healthy sleep cycle and immune system.
• Cancer antigen 15-3—While not used as a screening for the presence of breast cancer, this is a blood test that is used to test for recurrence or spreading of existing breast cancer. This is one test that every woman who has received or is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer should have performed.
• Testosterone—Although most typically associated with males, testosterone is also an important hormone for women. Testing testosterone levels can diagnose virilization (the development of certain male characteristics such as increased body or facial hair), which has been linked to certain types of cancer in women.
How Much Are These Tests?
During the month of October, DirectLabs offers these three tests at even lower prices than usual. The complete melatonin test costs $109, which is approximately $40 less than the regular price. The cancer antigen 15-3 blood test and the testosterone test are both $49, which is significantly lower than retail prices.
How Do I Get These Discounts?
Using these discounts is as simple as visiting our link to DirectLabs, setting up your account, finding the tests you want under the Monthly Specials section, and ordering your tests online.
Payment for the tests ordered is made using a secure server so that your personal information is not at risk. In addition, your lab results are accessible only to you through your private account. Once you have scheduled and paid for the tests, you simply go to the nearest participating lab and present them with the requisition form.
Being a proactive health consumer can prevent future medical problems, which saves you money in the long run. Using Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a reminder to have your yearly mammogram and blood tests done is a great way to maintain your health. Using DirectLabs is a great way to save your health care dollars. This is a winning combination in my book.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.