Where to Find Low-Cost or Free Mammograms

Many people wonder where they can find free or low-cost mammograms, and fortunately there are a number of different options. Mammograms can be expensive. The average cost of a mammogram is $100 but may range from $75 to $250. Despite this cost, women who are 40 years old and over (as well as those who have significant risk factors for the disease but are younger), should not skip their mammograms.

While MRIs are the "best test" for detecting breast cancer, they are very expensive and insurance usually only covers these test for people who are high risk (have a 20 percent or more lifetime risk of developing breast cancer), mammograms are still the best screening these for breast cancer in those who have an average risk of the disease.

It's important to note that as a screening test, mammograms are designed for people who are asymptomatic (do not have a breast lump or other signs or symptoms of breast cancer). If you do have symptoms, it's important to see a doctor as other tests may be needed to rule out or confirm a breast cancer. It's also important to note that it's now required that women who have dense breasts be informed, as having dense breasts (a diagnosis that can only be made on a mammogram) can increase the risk of breast cancer while making breast cancers that are present more difficult to see on mammography. For women who have dense breasts, supplemental screening with breast ultrasound or rapid MRI may be considered.

Options for free or low-cost mammograms include:

National Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

Radiologist helping patient with mammogram
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a program to provide low-income, uninsured, and underserved women with access to screening and diagnostic services for timely breast and cervical cancer. 

This program is funded for all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, the five U.S. territories, and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native tribal organizations. You can get these clinical breast exams and mammogram screenings through your state's Medicaid benefits. Pelvic exams and PAP smears are also available through this program.

FDA-Certified Mammography Facilities

Free mammograms and discounted mammograms must be done with the same quality and care as full-price breast screening. Just because the service is free does not mean that the quality should be low.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does annual inspections at clinics that do mammography. They check up on the machines and all the staff that are associated with their mammography program. You can easily search for FDA-approved mammography by zip code, state, city, and name of the facility. Once you find the facility closest to you, call and ask about low-cost and free mammograms.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One way to remember Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to go for a free or low-cost mammogram at a facility that has special rates during the month of October. Look around for these breast-screening deals during the week of National Mammography Day or any day of October. Try these places:

Local Support Organizations

Several national cancer support organizations offer financial assistance for mammograms or even offer access to free mammograms. If Medicare does not yet cover you, you have a low income, or you're uninsured, check with these organizations for help. 

A Word From Verywell

Do not skip your mammogram because of a lack of money or health insurance. In addition to these options, there are many more depending on where you live or your place of employment. It may require some phone calls (starting with your doctor or a hospital social worker) to find the tests you need at a price you can afford, but it's worth it. After all, breast cancer is more challenging (and much more expensive) to treat when tumors are more advanced.

If you are concerned that you may have a breast cancer and don't know how you could afford treatment, help is available as well. A cancer center social worker in your community can help you find the resources you need.

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