Find your risk of breast cancer.

Use your smartphone or our website to calculate your personalized risk of breast cancer and find out if you may qualify for earlier breast cancer screening.

Sponsored by Florida Breast Cancer Foundation

In numbers.

This campaign is designed to help women understand their personal risk of breast cancer and screening recommendations.

Data statistic as of January 2022, courtesy of www.cancer.org

What is screening.

Screening is looking for signs of disease before a person has symptoms. The goal of screening mammography is to find cancer at an early stage when it can be treated and cured.

learn about

Mammograms

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray that allows doctors called radiologists to look for changes in breast tissue. A screening mammogram is used to look for signs of breast cancer in women who don’t have any breast symptoms or problems. X-ray pictures of each breast are taken, typically from 2 different angles.
Mammograms

Your recommendation.

In 2018, the American College of Radiology issued new recommendations that all women be evaluated for breast cancer risk by age 30, so that those at higher risk can be identified and begin screening before age 40 [].

Similarly, the American College of Breast Surgeons advises all women over age 25 to undergo risk assessment. There are a variety of risk assessment models available [, , ].

The risk assessment model used in this tool is based on the modified GAIL model for absolute risk of breast cancer. Calculators such as this one can overestimate or underestimate your risk. Use the links below to compare your result with similar tools.

Tyrer-Cuzick Risk Assessment Calculator

NIH Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool

The American College of Radiology recommends that women of average risk start getting annual mammograms at age 40 [4].

By not getting annual mammograms, starting at age 40, you increase your changes of dying from breast cancer and the likelihood that you will experience more extensive treatment for any cancers found. 

Annual mammography screening starting at age 40 provides the greatest breast cancer mortality reduction by enabling diagnosis at smaller sizes and earlier stages, better surgical options, and more effective chemotherapy. Delaying screening until age 45 or 50 results in unnecessary loss of life to breast cancer, adversely affecting minority women in particular.

Higher-risk women should start mammographic screening earlier and may benefit from supplemental screening modalities. For women with genetics-based increased risk (and their untested first-degree relatives), with a calculated lifetime risk of 20% or more or a history of chest or mantle radiation therapy at a young age, supplemental screening with contrast-enhanced breast MRI is recommended. [1]

Breast MRI is also recommended for women with personal histories of breast cancer and dense tissue, or those diagnosed by age 50. Others with histories of breast cancer and those with atypia at biopsy should consider additional surveillance with MRI, especially if other risk factors are present. Ultrasound can be considered for those who qualify for but cannot undergo MRI.

All women, especially black women and those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, should be evaluated for breast cancer risk no later than age 30, so that those at higher risk can be identified and can benefit from supplemental screening.

For average-risk transgender patients, recommendations depend on sex assigned at birth, use and duration of hormones, and surgical history and are based on limited data and expert opinion.

Annual screening at age 40 is recommended for transfeminine (male-to-female) patients who have used hormones for ≥5 years, as well as for transmasculine (female-to-male) patients who have not had mastectomy [4].

Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer are less likely to present for cancer screening than non–lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer persons [5]. Facilities must work to create a respectful environment that welcomes all people [6].

We have provided a list of references for the materials discussed in this educational module.

  1. Breast Cancer Screening in Women at Higher-Than-Average Risk: Recommendations From the ACR
    Monticciolo, Debra L. et al. Journal of the American College of Radiology, Volume 15, Issue 3, 408 – 414 https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(17)31524-7/fulltext
  2. Lee CS, Sickles EA, Moy L. Risk Stratification for Screening Mammography: Benefits and Harms. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2019 Feb;212(2):250-258. doi: 10.2214/AJR.18.20345. Epub 2018 Dec 17. PMID: 30557052. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30557052/
  3. Boughey JC, Hartmann LC, Anderson SS, Degnim AC, Vierkant RA, Reynolds CA, Frost MH, Pankratz VS. Evaluation of the Tyrer-Cuzick (International Breast Cancer Intervention Study) model for breast cancer risk prediction in women with atypical hyperplasia. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Aug 1;28(22):3591-6. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.28.0784. Epub 2010 Jul 6. PMID: 20606088; PMCID: PMC2917314. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20606088/
  4. Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations Inclusive of All Women at Average Risk: Update from the ACR and Society of Breast Imaging. Monticciolo, Debra L. et al. Journal of the American College of Radiology, Volume 18, Issue 9, 1280 – 1288.  https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(21)00383-5/fulltext
  5. Haviland KS, Swette S, Kelechi T, Mueller M. Barriers and Facilitators to Cancer Screening Among LGBTQ Individuals With Cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2020 Jan 1;47(1):44-55. doi: 10.1188/20.ONF.44-55. PMID: 31845916; PMCID: PMC7573971. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30557052/ 
  6. Perry H, Fang AJ, Tsai EM, Slanetz PJ. Imaging Health and Radiology Care of Transgender Patients: A Call to Build Evidence-Based Best Practices. J Am Coll Radiol. 2021 Mar;18(3 Pt B):475-480. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2020.10.008. PMID: 33663757. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33663757/
  7. American College of Radiology ACR Appropriateness Criteria®. Transgender breast cancer screening.
    ACR, Reston, Virginia2021

How to get screening.

The essential information you need so that you do not miss out on this important exam.

What You Need to Know

Before being able to schedule a mammogram, you might need a referral from a doctor if you are under the age of 40, have already received your annual screening mammogram for the year, have an abnormal breast symptom, or have had breast cancer in the past.

 

If you are 40 years or older and simply seeking a screening mammogram without any of the exceptions mentioned, it’s unlikely you will be asked for a doctor’s referral.

What Type of Mammogram to Schedule

Screening mammogram: If you don’t have any symptoms or pain, and just need your yearly mammogram.

 

Diagnostic mammogram: If you have continuous and persistent pain, redness, a lump, discharge, or other concerns that need to be evaluated. Diagnostic mammograms are also done after irregular findings in a routine screening mammogram.

Where You Can Go to Get Your Mammogram

Mammograms are often performed at the hospital, breast center building or an imaging center. You can also look to see if there is a mobile mammography unit (“mammovan”) that might be coming to a location near your home or work.

Who to Talk to

Call the breast center or the hospital’s main number. Ask to be transferred to the breast center or women’s health center. Once you are transferred, ask who you should speak with about scheduling a free mammogram. If the receptionist doesn’t know, ask to speak to a patient or nurse navigator.

What to Say When You Call

Use the following phrases to help you get connected to the correct department:

 

“Hello! I am calling to schedule my mammogram.”

 

“I was referred to you about free or low-cost mammograms. Can you help me find out how I can qualify and how I can get that scheduled?”

How to Cover the Cost of Mammograms

For those with insurance, please note that plans might cover each type of mammogram differently. For example, a yearly screening mammogram will be fully covered but you might be responsible for co-pays or deductibles if additional diagnostic mammograms or exams are required.

 

For those without insurance or difficulty covering the cost of a mammogram, a hospital may have funds or a charity care program where they provide the mammogram for free or at a low cost. Call the hospital near you and ask to speak with a financial counselor who can explain the program and qualification requirements. You can also contact local charities that might pay for the mammogram. Be sure to check first with the organization to see if you qualify and what they will require of you.

 

We have provided a list of resources below that may assist you if you have difficulty covering the cost of your mammogram.

Potential Roadblocks and How to Get Around Them

“We don’t offer free mammograms here. The cost is going to be $400.”

 

Ask if they have a partner facility that might offer free or discounted mammograms.

If you are not interested in exploring a payment plan with this facility, consider this a great time to view the resources linked below.

 

“You need a doctor or doctor’s order to schedule this exam.”

 

If you don’t have a doctor and you are experiencing an abnormal breast symptom, try an internet search phrase like “Find a doctor near me.” Many healthcare systems have online databases that will allow you to easily search for doctors by criteria, such as specialty and zip code. If you don’t have insurance, you may try searching “free and low-cost clinics near me”. A family doctor or gynecologist can examine your breast symptoms and write an order for a diagnostic mammogram.  If you are scheduling an appointment with a doctor for the first time, be sure to tell the scheduler that you have an abnormal breast symptom.

 

If you already have a doctor and the mammography facility requires a doctor’s order, be sure and let you doctor know that you need to schedule a mammogram, as well as any unusual breast symptoms that you are experiencing. Your doctor may want to examine you in the office before writing an order.

 

“We need your previous mammograms for this appointment.”

 

In certain situations, you may be required to obtain your past mammogram records, like images, films or cds, from a previous facility. If so, contact the previous facility where you had your mammogram and ask how you may obtain your prior mammography images and reports. They may ask for the mailing address of your new mammography facility.

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