who should get a mammogram?
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women ages 50 to 74 have a mammogram once a year. women over age 55 can get a mammogram every two years. Women between the ages of 40 and 49 should start talking with their health care provider about the right time to start having mammograms and how often they should be done. The Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines for Women table compares recommendations from several leading organizations.
how do I do a breast self-exam?
A breast self-exam is an important way to detect breast cancer early. The following are the steps you can take to perform a self-exam:
Step 1: Start by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Here’s what to look for:
- breasts of your usual size, shape and color
- breasts that are evenly shaped with no visible distortion or swelling
- dimples, wrinkles, or bumps in the skin
- a nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed in instead of sticking out)
- redness, pain, rash, or swelling
- You don’t have insurance, or your insurance doesn’t cover screening tests.
- your annual income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.
- You are between the ages of 40 and 64 for breast cancer screening.
- You are between the ages of 21 and 64 for cervical cancer screening.
- Certain women who are younger or older may qualify for screening services.
If you notice any of the following changes, tell your doctor:
Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3: While in front of the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming from one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid, or blood).
Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, use your right hand to feel your left breast, and then your left hand to feel your right breast. use a firm, gentle touch with the first fingertips of your hand, keeping your fingers flat and together. use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter. cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side, from the collarbone to the upper abdomen and from the armpit to the neckline.
Follow a pattern to make sure you cover the entire breast. it may start at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until it reaches the outer edge of the breast. you can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing the lawn.
This top-down approach seems to work best for most women. make sure you feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just below, use light pressure; use medium pressure for the tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for deep tissue in the back. when you’ve reached deep tissue, you should be able to feel all the way down to your rib cage.
Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
how can i get a mammogram cheaply?
You may be eligible for free or low-cost screenings if you meet these requirements:
Low-cost mammograms are also available through the following programs and clinics:
- CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program will provide free or low-cost mammograms to women who meet certain criteria.
- call susan g. komen breast care helpline at 1-877-465-6636 for help finding low-cost tests near you.
- planned parenthood offers breast exams and referrals to places to get a mammogram.
the end result
The cost of a mammogram depends on the type of mammogram being performed along with other factors, such as location and insurance coverage. These factors are important to consider when preparing to pay for a mammogram.