One of the best ways to stop breast cancer in its tracks is early detection (it works).
Though every woman should do breast self-exams each month, women over 40 should also consider getting a mammogram — an X-ray that examines breast tissue — every one to two years. (Here are specific guidelines.)
If you’re younger than 40 but have risk factors for breast cancer, you might need a mammogram, too; ask for your doctor’s recommendation.
But whatever your age, don’t avoid mammograms because of their cost.
6 Places That Offer Low-Cost or Free Mammograms
Women today have a bounty of ways to get free and low-cost mammograms. Here are six options.
1. Your Doctor
If you’re 40 or older, the Affordable Care Act requires your insurer to cover screening mammograms with no co-payment. More information is available here.
Medicare and Medicaid also cover the cost of mammograms.
2. The National Breast Cancer Foundation
The National Breast Cancer Foundation partners “with medical facilities across the country to provide free mammograms and diagnostic breast care services to underserved women.”
Click here to search for a location near you.
3. The Susan G. Komen Foundation
This organization has affiliates in 120 American cities.
According to its website, its affiliate network “is the nation’s largest private funder of community-based breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs.”
To learn what resources are available in your area, search for your local affiliate here. Prefer to speak to someone? Call the organization’s breast care helpline at 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636), and the representatives will help you find low-cost options in your area.
4. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program
The CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program “provides breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured women across the United States.”
To qualify for this screening, you should be between the ages of 40 and 64, have no insurance or insurance that fails to cover screening exams, and live at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.
You can find out more information about your state or territory here.
5. The YWCA
Some YWCA chapters provide breast cancer screening and education to women who have no insurance or who are underinsured.
Contact your local YWCA to see if it offers affordable mammograms.
6. Your Local Imaging Center
According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, many imaging centers offer reduced rates during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is in October.
You can search for a local mammography center on the FDA website.
To learn more about mammograms — including how they work and how to prepare — check out this PDF from the Komen Foundation.
Whatever you do, don’t wait!
Susan Shain is a contributor to Codetic. Former SEO analyst Jacquelyn Pica assisted with research.