Where to find free or inexpensive mammograms

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Mammography is an important part of protecting your health, especially if you are over 40 or have significant risk factors for breast cancer. But they can be expensive, and the average cost ranges from $ 100 to $ 250. The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to fully cover the cost of screening mammograms every one to two years for older women. 40 years. Medicare and Medicaid also cover them.

However, if you are uninsured or do not meet the coverage criteria, that does not mean you should give up. There are several options available for free or low-cost mammograms.

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National Program for the Early Detection of Breast and Cervical Cancer

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operates the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program , which provides low-income, uninsured and underserved women with access to screening and diagnostic services for breast and cervical cancer.

This program is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, six US territories, and 13 Native American / Alaska Native tribal organizations. You can get these clinical breast exams and mammograms through your state's Medicaid program. Pelvic exams and Pap tests are also available under this program.

Local support organizations

Several national cancer organizations offer financial assistance or offer access to free mammograms. If Medicare still doesn't cover it, you're low-income, or uninsured, contact the following organizations for help:

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Programs

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many institutions offer free or low-cost mammograms every October. Some of the great properties nationwide that offer this include:

Visit the breast cancer community

Many free mammogram options come and go, and it can be difficult to know when and where they will be done. A great option for many is asking questions on social media. Many breast cancer advocates (often the survivors themselves) are passionate advocates and try to spread the word about free and low-cost procedures.

There are many breast cancer groups on Facebook, as well as communities associated with various organizations. A good place to get the latest news (like the availability of free mammograms) is on Twitter. You can find the breast cancer community using the hashtag #BCSM, which stands for breast cancer social media .

Does free mean poor quality?

Free and discounted mammograms should be done with the same quality and care as a full-price breast exam. Just because the service is free doesn't mean the quality is bad.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducts annual screenings at mammography clinics. They check the equipment and all personnel associated with your mammogram program.

You can easily find FDA approved mammography providers by zip code, state, city, or facility name. Once you find the center near you, call and ask about free and inexpensive mammograms.

Mammogram or MRI?

Although magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the "best test" for detecting breast cancer, it is very expensive and insurance generally only covers people at high risk (lifetime risk of breast cancer is 20% or plus).

Mammography is still considered the best method of diagnosing breast cancer in those with an average risk of developing the disease.

If you have a tumor or other symptoms of breast cancer, it is important to see your doctor rather than having a free test. Other tests may be needed to rule out or confirm breast cancer.

Also, if you have dense breasts, an additional examination with breast ultrasound or rapid MRI may be recommended, which can increase the risk of breast cancer and make it difficult to detect tumors on mammograms. If you have a rapid MRI facility near you, early results show that it is more sensitive for detecting breast cancer than a combination of mammography and ultrasound. Currently, mammography does not detect approximately 15% of breast cancers. Unfortunately, most people will have to pay for a quick MRI on their own (much less than a normal MRI and sometimes about the same as a mammogram), as many insurance companies have not yet adopted this. procedure as an advantage.

Get the word of drug information

As a screening test, mammograms are for asymptomatic people (who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer ). For those with symptoms, they are considered diagnostic and insurance companies are not required to pay the full cost. Regardless of the reason, if you are considering skipping a mammogram due to cost, reconsider. Breast cancer is more difficult (and much more expensive) to treat when the tumor is in a later stage. A social worker at a cancer center can help you find the resources you need.

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