October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means it’s time sport your pink in honor of those who’ve been affected by breast cancer — and it’s time to get yourself a mammogram.
This year alone, an estimated 266,120 American women will develop invasive breast cancer, while one in eight women in the U.S. will develop the disease at some point in her lifetime. While there’s no way to be 100-percent protected from breast cancer, detecting it as early as possible is crucial to beating it.
Women should do breast exams regularly, which can be done on your own using the guidelines provided by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. However, if you’re between 45-54 years old, you should be getting mammograms every year. Women younger than that could still be at risk for breast cancer, however, and should check in with their doctors about any concerns.
These exams can be pricey and range from $75-$250, but money should never stop you from getting a mammogram. Thanks to programs that aim to help women of all backgrounds and financial situations get the medical care they need, there are a number of options for women looking for free or low-cost mammograms.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation
Through its National Mammography Program, the National Breast Cancer Foundation provides free mammograms and diagnostic care services to underserved women by partnering with medical facilities around the country.
Should the doctor discover anything wrong during the exam, the NBCF National Mammography Program requires that the medical facilities within their network will also be able to assist with treatment.
To find a location closest to you, click here.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation
Susan G. Komen Foundation is a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting breast cancer, and its affiliate network is the “largest private funder of community-based breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs.”
This foundation also has a breast care helpline at 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) that you can call to find out about low-cost options in your area.
To find a local affiliate near you, click here.
The National Breast And Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
Women between the ages of 40-64, who have no insurance or insurance that doesn’t cover screening exams and who live at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level are qualified to participate in the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).
Providing breast and cervical cancer screenings to low-income and uninsured (or underinsured) women, the program is funded in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the five U.S. territories, and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native tribal organizations.
Your local NBCCEDP also provides pap tests, HPV tests and more depending on your location. Should your doctor find any issues with your health, they also help refer you to attain proper treatment.
The YWCA does mission-driven work for girls and women that includes the areas of health and safety. Certain YWCA chapters can assist with mammograms for women who either have no insurance or lack insurance that addresses mammograms.
To find your nearest YWCA, click here.
Though Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer mammography at this time, they do offer clinical breast exams and can help you find a good solution to getting a mammogram within your cost and insurance constraints.
To find your nearest Planned Parenthood, click here.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, imaging centers across the country are offering mammograms at reduced rates. The FDA conducts regular inspections of clinics providing mammography, so just because you’re getting a discounted or free mammogram, doesn’t mean the service should be any less thorough.
To find one that best suits your needs, check out the FDA website.