Each year in the United States, more than 250,000 women get breast cancer, and 42,000 women die from the disease. October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection, and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. In honor of breast cancer awareness month, we have pulled together information on things to know and where to get a free mammogram.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood)
- A new lump in the breast or underarm
If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor or a health care provider right away.
How Can I Lower My Risk?
You can do things to help lower your breast cancer risk.
- Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly
- Don’t drink alcohol, or limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, ask your doctor about the risks
- Breastfeed your children, if possible
- Reduce street when possible
Below are places to get free mammograms in the Indianapolis-area.
Indiana State Department of Health
Uninsured or underinsured Indiana residents over the age of 50 (for mammograms) or 30 (for breast exams) may take advantage of the Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Program at the Indiana State Department of Health. This program provides free mammograms and diagnostic breast care services to individuals at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. If cancer is detected, this program helps women apply for Indiana Medicaid (MA-12) to obtain coverage until treatment is complete. For more information, call 317.233.7901 or learn more about the program online here.
Little Red Door Cancer Agency
The Little Red Door Cancer Agency offers financial assistance for clinical breast exams, mammograms, and other diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured or underinsured women. Their goal is to reduce the physical, emotional, and financial burdens of cancer prevention and treatment that our city’s most vulnerable residents face. If there is a service that they do not offer, this organization will be happy to point patients in the right direction, and will even assist individuals looking to apply for health insurance. Learn more by contacting Little Red Door Cancer Agency at 317-925-5595 or by visiting their website here.
Gennesaret Free Clinic
Gennesaret Free Clinic, a health initiative serving Marion County, offers early detection services for breast cancer, including mammograms and breast exams, to the homeless and others unable to afford services. Services are provided by appointment only. Contact Lisa Hayes at 317-639-5645, ext. 202 or visit their website for more information.
If you are women over age 40 with health insurance, you are likely eligible to receive free preventative screenings from your healthcare provider. The affordable care act introduced 10 preventative health benefits that insurance providers must cover, and one of those services are mammograms. These mammograms are available at no cost to you. Even if you are uninsured, your doctor would be a good resource that may help you find low-cost services in your community. You may learn more about preventative care provided by the affordable care act by contacting your insurance provider or by visiting healthcare.gov.
You can find a complete list of locations offering mammogram services here.