Mammographic Screening is Key To The Early Detection of Breast Cancer
- Who Should Receive Screening Mammography?
- How Accurate is Screening Mammography?
- Comparing Different Breast Exams
Size of Tumors Found by Mammography and Breast Self-Exam
|Average-size lump detected with routine mammogram (0.43 inches / 1.1 cm)|
|Average-size lump detected with first mammogram (0.59 inches / 1.5 cm)|
|Average-size lump found by regularly practicing breast self-exam (0.83 inches / 2.1 cm)|
|Average-size lump found accidentally (1.42 inches / 3.6 cm)|
* These images were created for viewing at 800 by 600 resolution on a 16-inch monitor. They will appear larger or smaller depending upon display size and resolution. However, the relative size of the detected tumor will remain consistent.
Screening mammography is a relatively low cost procedure. The average cost for screening mammography in the U.S. is at least $100. Depending on a woman's health coverage program, there may be little or no "out of pocket cost" for screening mammography. Diagnostic mammography, which is often performed if an abnormality is detected on a screening mammogram, is more involved and time-consuming than screening mammography. Thus, diagnostic mammography is more expensive than screening mammography.
On January 1, 1998, the U.S. Congress expanded coverage for screening mammograms for Medicare beneficiaries 40 years of age and older. Donna E. Shalala, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, reported that it is no longer necessary for Medicare beneficiaries to pay the annual deductible for screening mammograms (or Pap smears, pelvic exams or clinical breast exams). Previously, there was a small Medicare deductible of approximately $25 for screening mammography. Women younger than 40 who also have supplemental insurance such as Medigap or Medicaid may also have no out-of-pocket costs for screening mammography. Women are encouraged to call the Medicare Hotline at 1.800.638.6833 for questions on Medicare coverage of mammography.
Women who cannot afford the cost of annual screening mammography have a number of options:
- Determine whether they qualify for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC program covers the cost of annual screening mammograms and Pap smears for low-income women who do not have health insurance. To learn more about the CDC program, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/about.htm
- Contact the American Cancer Society (ACS) at 1.800.ACS.2345. The ACS maintains a list of facilities that offer free or reduced cost mammograms to eligible women. The American Cancer Society website is available at http://www.cancer.org/
- Make an appointment for a mammogram at a participating facility on National Mammography Day. Each year, the third Friday of October is designated National Mammography Day by the American College of Radiology. On this day, many facilities offer free or reduced cost mammograms.
Imaginis provides several resources on screening and diagnostic mammography to help women understand all aspects of the exams. Follow one of the links below for additional information on mammography:
- General Information on Mammography
- Mammography and How it is Performed: Imagining and Positioning
- Benefits of Receiving a Mammogram
- Key Steps for an Optimal Mammogram
- Mammogram Preparation and What to Expect During Mammography
- Find a Mammography Facility
- Mammography on Small Breasts
- Diagnostic Mammography
- Mammogram Interpretation: ACR/BI-RADS System
- Understanding the Mammogram Report
- Frequently Asked Questions About Mammography
- Mammography Quality Standards (MQSA)
- Advances in Mammography and Breast Imaging
- Digital Mammography