Local organizations offer low cost or free mammograms
As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many women over the age of 40 are told the importance of getting a mammogram, but what if you cant afford one, or what if you don't have insurance?
According to the National American Cancer Foundation, on average, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.
"We can detect cancers when they are very, very small, and so that is the benefit of mammograms is that the outcomes are better because women are diagnosed at an earlier stage," said Mary Smania a Nurse Practitioner at MSU's Department of Surgery.
At an earlier stage, Smania says breast cancer is most treatable and most survivable. But a mammogram could cost hundreds of dollars, limiting low income families or those without insurance.
"We all know that women are going to put food on the table, they're going to get that backpack for their kids for school and they are going to put off doing things they might need for their own care," Smania said.
To help, MSU's College of Nursing offers its Pink Impact Breast Care program.
Through a annual grant, Pink Impact not only provides free mammograms to those under-insured or without insurance.... but also offers continual care that's not considered a preventable service under the Affordable Care Act.
"For example, they might have their screening mammogram and they have an abnormality, and then they need further testing, and that's all out of pocket up to their detectable, so we will cover the biopsy, or the ultrasound that's needed to further investigate what's going on with the mammogram," said Smania.
CIMA Breast Center in Haslett offers low cost mammograms at $50, a service Dr. Wiess says is under utilized.
"I'm kind of disappointed because we offer that all year round and actually we have seen not a huge volume of women come in," said Dr. Wiess, the director for the Breast Center.
The CIMA Breast Center even uses 3D mammograms, a newer and more accurate screening service.
"This has been reported at least 40% more reliable than the traditional mammogram what it does, its able to pick up cancers at a much smaller size and much earlier," Wiess said.
A service that Dr Wiess believes everyone should have access to.
"All women should have the right to a mammography whether they have insurance or not," Wiess said.
For information and who to contact for low cost or free mammogram services: