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Moxie

Mammogram--ok to wait?

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I'm supposed to have a baseline mammo in Feb since I just turned 40. We won't have health insurance so I'm thinking of waiting a year. Yay or nay???

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I vote wait.

 

First mammogram is a VERY common time for a call-back (for ultrasound, biopsy, etc.) and if you don't have insurance, it can end up $$$.

 

Of course, this is assuming your upcoming mammo is for baseline only, and you have no indications of any issues going on.

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From the American Cancer Society:

"

Breast cancer
  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year."

 

You can use an assessment tool like the one at https://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/ to see if you have any risk factors, if it makes you feel more comfortable about waiting.

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I vote wait.

 

First mammogram is a VERY common time for a call-back (for ultrasound, biopsy, etc.) and if you don't have insurance, it can end up $$$.

 

Of course, this is assuming your upcoming mammo is for baseline only, and you have no indications of any issues going on.

I went for my baseline last year at 40 and it did result in multiple call backs, extra expense, inconvenience, and worry. I eventually got the all clear. It could get very costly and if you are not having any problems it is within reason to wait a year.

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I've been having mammograms yearly since my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 35.   Every single year until this past year (at age 43), I've been called back for additional views and sometimes ultrasounds, which have all turned out to be just dense tissue.   Younger tissue is more dense and it's harder to see calcifications, so they are extra careful.   The callback mammograms are considered diagnostic, not screening, which translates to $$$$$.   

 

Assuming you have a very low risk, I would absolutely wait until you have health insurance to have your first screening mammogram, but have it done before you are 45.   And be prepared for the call saying they need to "take a closer look" for at least the first year or two.   The screening mammograms have typically been 100% covered by insurance, but the diagnostic are not.

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I found a lump at 32 and had a mammogram at that time. After using more than one online assessment tool, I have decided to delay starting regular mammograms until *at least* 45. I should be finished breast feeding by then, at least...

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40 is kind of chosen because it's about right.  A year one way or the other really isn't a big deal.

 

As well, the evidence for mammogram screenings being helpful isn't nearly as good as they used to think.

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I had my first when I was almost 41, because my annual check-up is usually scheduled about a month before my birthday each year. And as TrixieB said, I ended up needing follow-ups after my first and they would have been very expensive without insurance. 

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I turn 40 next year and have extremely low risk for breast cancer (no family history at all, never smoked, long term breastfeeder, was breastfed myself), so I will probably skip it.

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Do your own hand exam each year but unless there is a strong history of breast cancer or you have noticed anything abnormal you should be absolutely fine waiting.  Its just a ballpark number.

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I had my first at 43 but that's because the doctor found a lump. I'm also low risk, long time breastfeeder, and generally healthy. I would wait but make sure to self-check.

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Like the other PP's, it's okay to wait another year or so, unless you have a close family member with history of it or have a lump.

 

If you would like one for peace of mind, call around to your local hospitals. There are multiple programs in my area that offer free screening mammo's for those not covered. Perhaps you would qualify since you are uninsured. 

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I wouldn't do it next year, if you don't have insurance, but please do it! My sister was just diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at age 40. We have no family history, she breastfed two kids, doesn't smoke, etc. Doctor told her today that she will likely need a mastectomy + chemo. Cancer sucks. Ladies, please get your mammos. It likely saved my sister's life. For 70% of breast cancers, it is just rotten luck, with no genetic link.

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