Honoring Breast Cancer Month: Find an Affordable Mammogram

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Women have a one in eight chance of getting breast cancer. However, experts say that regular screenings and early detection substantially increase the rate of survival. Women age 40 and older are encouraged to have a mammogram each year to screen for breast cancer, but if you're underinsured or uninsured, like 45.7 million Americans currently are, mammograms can be prohibitively expensive.

The good news is that there's help.

Low-cost or free mammograms are available in most areas, and Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans cover at least some of the cost of an annual mammogram.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a state-by-state list of National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program providers. (Canadians can find information about finding a mammogram provider here.)

And if you call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345), you can get information about free or low-cost mammogram facilities in your area. Local newspapers often run information about health clinics, too.

While we're talking about mammograms, here's a reminder card to send to the women in your life.

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I am currently going through treatment for Breast Cancer. I have one more chemo left and then five weeks of radiation starting in April. Please try to get a mammogram regularly if you can. And self exam...know your boobs! Report
I just had my first Mammogram a couple days ago and I'm only 29. I have been having right breast pain and the doctor felt lots of cysts.. So hopefully it's nothing. They also gave me a ultrasound to. Report
My mom is an 11 year breast cancer survivor. She found hers by accident while she had a itch. It was caught in time. She did have a full right mastectomy, but she is healthy and happy now. I stress to my friends and family how important mammograms and self checks are. I have heard so many people complain that they don't like it done because it hurts. I think a little bit of pain from a mammogram is better than what the outcome could be with cancer.

Thanks for posting this blog!!!! Report
I just had my mammogram a few days ago and neither one was like I had heard. It was nothing and nothing to be afraid of; nothing gets squished. I had my first one at 48 and now just before my 50th birthday as I had no insurance and was afraid as I am not small up there lol. She said I was done and I said that was it?! Get it done for yourself and those who love you. Report
I try to have my mammogram every year in my birthday month. I have several friends who are surviors. I pray one day our health care will be set up as some other countries, everyone can get health care regardless of any status. Report
Click on www.thebreastcancersite.com daily to help them fund free mammograms! You can even set up a daily e-mail reminder to visit the site. Report
I'm a breast cancer survivor (five years, yeah!), and I think a mammogram is one of the best things a woman can do for herself. We're lucky that many diseases can be cured if they are caught early enough. I cringe when I hear women say they don't want to go to their doctors, because they're afraid they'll get bad news.

Come on all--get those mammograms--a half hour or so could save your life. Report
I think affordable mammograms need to be available to women of all ages; I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39, a year before my insurance would have started covering them at the age of 40. A coworker of mine also has a daughter in law that was diagnosed at the age of 27. Report
I am the daughter of a 24 year survivor and my sister's and I are high risk because of our mother. I have lost 2 childhood friends to breast cancer and it angers me that so many people are still in the dark about the disease. Statistics show that although more white women get breast cancer more black women die from it. I think the reasons are because of miseducation, misunderstanding, fear and lack of health insurance and finances to pay for the mammograms and treatment. I believe if more women-not just black know that there is affordable healthcare to cover the cost of mammograms and breast cancer treatment more will seek help, we can save more lives and we can win the fight against breast cancer. I blogged about it this month and I hope you'll read it. Report
Very good information to know, whether you are insured or not get your mammagram done. There are a lot of agencies that sponsor free testing. I was recently diagnosed April 08, stage 0, still have not had my surgery as of yet, this will happen on 11/04/08. My cancer was found on a routine visit, no lumps or cyst. My advice to many is to love and take care of yourself and get tested. Report
Good information to know. I do think some women avoid having a mammogram because of cost and or all the stories about having one. Report
I have my mammogram today. OH SO MUCH FUN. LOL Report
We are lucky here in Australia that mammograms are free and we get an annual reminder in the mail, over the age of 50. Report
I would gladly have all my breast tissue removed and not have to worry about it, if I could have it done. Report
My breast cancer was caught early, so I did not need radiation or Chemo. I go annually for Mammograms and have been cancer free for 4 years now. Report
As a nurse, & more importantly as the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I cannot emphasize enough to all women, & to all men, to have a mammogram ASAP if you are behind on them...Yes, it does affect men...our Monsignor at St. Cecelia's Church here in Clearwater, Fl. is battling breast cancer right now.
No one should have the "It can't happen to me" attitude..... Report
I have a mamogram yearly. It is important for all women over 40. Report
We are lucky that mammograms are free over the age of 40. I thought it was 50 so waited till then I had one and thankfully everything is good. II will be having them every two years. Report
We are so lucky in British Columbia Canada that the mammographys are free. I have one every 2 years. This year my oldest daughter had a lump removed . Thankfully it was not cancerous. Have a mommograph Ladies! It could make save your life! Report
My family has a history of cancer, my grandmother had breast cancer. So... for me it is normal to include it in my yearly health exams. This year they thought there was a problem. After having a second mamogram and ultra sound we found out everything was okay, not problems. Thank goodness.

It is so important to have a mammogram. If you call your doctor and explain that you can not afford it, most will help you find a place that will do them free. Cancer is scary, but yearly check ups can prevent or catch it early. Just do it. Report
I had my done on Monday and I believe you need to do them. My sister had Breast Cancer but is doing very well been cancer free for 4 years.
They say to do it in your birthday month then you will remember to go get it done. I just lucked out that Oct is my birthday month so I go in Oct and at our DR office we get pink things. That is fun. So please everyone go get your check up done. Report
For those of you who have had a mammogram a number of years ago and found it extremely painful -- probably because you had dense breasts -- and swore you would never have another, give it a chance. For one thing, nowadays the mammograms do not require so much pressure and for another thing, as we age, our breast tissue changes so it is not so dense.

Twenty years ago, I swore I would never have another, but finally I decided that since my chest area had "moved downward" that I would chance it. While I would not say it was entirely comfortable, neither was it bad! As it is a small area of suspicion was found, which they will be keeping an eye on in future mammograms. I was surprised how small it was and was still detectable! Report
for those of us in northeast florida and southeast georgia, first coast news has a free mammogram hotline. log on to firstcoastnews.com for more information. i have not had my first mammogram, but, at 30, i think it may be time to get a baseline done. no history of breast cancer in my family, but it only takes one to start a tradition. Report
Mammograms are so critical for detection. I hear women complain about how painful they are and get all the jokes in my email. Ladies...the pain that I endured at the beginning of my workouts when I finally joined the gym at close to 300 pounds FAR exceeds any pain I've ever experienced getting a mammogram done! It's just not THAT bad! It could save your life. I think it's worth it. Report
I get my yearly mammograms. Our insurance fully covers after the huge deductible is satisfied, so I have to pay for mine. I have to have them, though, since I have had a biopsy and suspicious areas in older mammograms. Report
Every one get a mammogram. The mammogram found a very small tumor- with the ultrasound- they reccommended a biopsy. I had one done in March and the tumor was benign. do not be afraid of any of the procedures. Mammogram & ultrasounds are painless. The biopsy was scary only b/c I was afraid of what they might find, but I asked for drugs for nerves and I was fine. I would do it again if I needed too. Just had my 6 month check and all is OK. Report
I work in the breast cancer detection industry and therefore it's something I think about every day.
Please, please, please get your annual mammogram. The technology is out there and they even have foam padding now to make it more comfortable (ask your doc about it)... for just a quick moment of discomfort, you could be saving your own life.
ONE IN EIGHT. Think about you and 7 other women in your life. Wow. Report
Having had a breast biopsy at 31 to remove a breast mass really frightened me, having small children at the time, made a firm believer out of me. I have had regular mammograms ever since. Now 46 and going strong and free, I encourage all women and men (encourage the women in your lives too!) Have a mammogram done for yourself and those around you. Report
Yes mammograms are so important, I've had two masses removed from my breast, the left one first and then the right. I found both lumps myself doing a self exam, and it is by the grace of God that both times they were benign. Report
I was just diagnosed in Jan. 08, had a lumpectomy and then a mastectomy with reconstruction surgery. Thankfully I didn't need any chemo or radiation and just need to take Tamoxifen for the next 5 years. Get your mammogram done each year to prevent this. Mine was found on my mammogram, couldn't feel any lump, neither could my doctor. Report
I had my first one at 39 to have a "base mammogram" and get them every year. My mother died of cancer at 44 (not breast cancer though), so I try to do all I can to stay healthy. If anyone is scared from the horror stories about getting one, DON"T BE! At least with my experience, they are just uncomfortable, not painful. It is nothing to put off. Get yours today. (Thankfully my husbands insurance pays for me to have one once a year). Report
One of my earliest blogs here is about my experience with breast cancer. Short story, I found a lump, my doctors thought it was a cyst - partly because I had only a 2% risk based on traditinoal factors. But, I insisted on testing - and had a number of false positives (failure to diagnose), including mammogram, ultrasound, and needle aspiration. After insisting that we remove the "cyst", it was determined that I had stage I breast cancer, with the size of the cancer being nearly at stage II levels. I successfully came through surgeries, radiation, and chemo, was one of those who gained a tremendous amount of weight when my body went into premature menopause from the chemotherapy. This is not to scare anyone, but just to let you know two things. First, it CAN happen to anyone and you need to rely on your own intuition if you feel something is wrong that has not been properly diagnosed. Second, I am better off today than I was when I was diagnosed. I've lost the weight, regained every bit of career status I had and more, and (except for the downside of being uninsurable outside a company plan, at least without a prohibative premium), and am in better physical shape than I've ever been - in my 40s, yet! So take care of yourselves, and I hope you don't end up as the "one" in the eight - but if you do, you can come through with flying colors. It is not the end of your life. Report
In Ontario Canada mammograms are covered by our Provincial Health care....no one is exempt from this....we are indeed very lucky to have this very important service available to us.

I get one every two years at this point - and that includes a 'manual' check as well.

I also do a check on my own periodically.

We all should be vigilant to this horrible desease...... Report
More needs to be done to help women who can't afford mammograms a way to get them. Report
It's so important, I hope this gets to those that have never had one done and they look into getting information about free or low-cost mammograms! Report
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