Early detection and diagnosis are the best protection against breast cancer, but navigating where to get services without insurance can be difficult. Several different types of mammograms can cost up to $500+ without insurance. With October being breast cancer awareness month, it’s a perfect time to know your options and get screened.
Where can I go to get a free mammogram in NYC without insurance?
Deciding when to get a mammogram is different for each person based on factors surrounding age, genetic predisposition, and more. This article outlines five places to get a mammogram in New York City without insurance under programs that promote access to care and preventative services for individuals who meet the defined criteria.
New York State Cancer Services Program
In 1992, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allotted early detection funding for breast and cervical cancer. Under New York State, the Cancer Services Program provides breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings and diagnostic services at no cost to people who meet the following criteria:
- Live in New York State
- Do not have health insurance
- Have health insurance with a cost share that may prevent a person from obtaining screening and/or diagnostic services
- Meet income eligibility requirements
- Meet age requirements
If you have more questions regarding your eligibility status, call 1(866) 422-2262 for more information on if you qualify and where to get screened. These services are provided in every county and borough in New York State by CSP participating health care providers at local clinics, health centers, doctors’ offices, and hospitals.
Cancer Screening Services Offered by the CSP at participating locations:
- Breast Cancer Screening (Mammogram and Clinical Breast Exam)
- Women ages 40 and older (some programs serve women ages 50 and older only)
- Women under age 40 at high risk for breast cancer*
- Cervical Cancer Screening (Pap Test, high-risk HPV test and Pelvic Exam)
- Women ages 40 and older
- Colorectal Cancer Screening (Fecal Occult Blood Test/Fecal Immunochemical Test Kit)
- People ages 45 and older at average risk for colorectal cancer
- Colorectal Cancer Screening (Colonoscopy)
- People at increased or high risk for colorectal cancer*
*Only as determined by a New York State-licensed health care provider per program guidelines.
New York City Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals provides essential inpatient, outpatient, and home-based care to more than one million New Yorkers each year, regardless of their ability to pay. NYC Health + Hospitals encompasses more than 70 locations across the city’s five boroughs and offers services for uninsured and underinsured patients. NYC Health + Hospitals can screen you for breast cancer screenings and mammograms if you are uninsured.
Five Centers You Can Get a Mammogram at in New York Without Insurance
|The Brooklyn Hospital Center|
Address: 121 Dekalb Avenue Fort Greene/Downtown Brooklyn
|Manhattan Cancer Services Program: Avon Foundation Breast Imaging Center|
|Bronx Cancer Service Program: Lincoln Breast Center- NYC Health and Hospital Corporation|
Address: 234 E 149th St, The Bronx, NY 10451
|Memorial Sloan Kettering Commack Nonna’s Garden Foundation Center|
Address: 650 Commack Road, Commack NY 11725
|Long Island Jewish Medical Center (Residents of Nassau and Queens)|
Address: 270-05 76th Avenue New Hyde Park, New York 11040
Phone: (718) 470-4165
In New York, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women, with over 17,800 diagnoses each year, resulting in about 2,460 deaths. At the age of 40, women are recommended to begin their annual screening mammograms. Without insurance, the national average for a screening mammogram costs about $400. These programs support women, regardless of their insurance status, to overcome barriers to access.
The Brooklyn Hospital Center
The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) offers free Breast Cancer Screening (Mammogram and Clinical Breast Exam) for uninsured and underinsured patients. TBHS works in partnership with the Cancer Service program to provide services to patients who meet the following requirements:
- Women ages 40 and older
- Women under age 40 at high risk for breast cancer*
* Only a New York State-licensed health care provider can determine risk.
The CSP covers the entire borough of Brooklyn and aims to help schedule you with participating providers most convenient to your location.
Click here to schedule an appointment online or by phone.
Manhattan Cancer Services Program: Avon Foundation Breast Imaging Center
The Avon Foundation Breast Imaging Center (AFBIC) is a screening facility located at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. AFBIC offers imaging services using state-of-the-art digital mammography to help detect cancer at its earliest stages. Breast images are captured and recorded to computer images instead of X-ray film, then transmitted to the diagnostic facility to be analyzed by radiologists.
To access their services without insurance, AFBIC works in partnership with the Manhattan Cancer Services Program to access their services without insurance. To qualify, you must meet the following requirements before scheduling an appointment:
- Live in Manhattan and are 40 years of age or older
- Have not had a screening mammogram in the last year
Click here for more information. To schedule an appointment, call 212-851-4516.
This program will host free breast cancer screenings for uninsured people every Wednesday in October! The dates are on: October 5, October 12, October 19, and October 26. They’ll also hold multiple events such as information sessions on living well with and after cancer, clean beauty 101, breast health and the importance of screenings, aromatherapy, and more! Click here for more information. To schedule an appointment, call the number above.
Bronx Cancer Service Program: Lincoln Breast Center- NYC Health and Hospital Corporation
In 2009, The Lincoln Hospital Breast Center was the first site in New York City to receive accreditation by the ACS national Accreditation, acknowledged with excellence in care for patients with breast cancer.
Under NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, screenings for breast cancer and mammograms are available without insurance. This program also helps you apply for health insurance if you are interested. Suppose you do not qualify for health insurance. In that case, assistance with enrolling in NYC Care, a program that works like insurance for NYC residents, is also offered.
Click here for more information. To schedule an appointment, call 1-844-692-4692.
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Memorial Sloan Kettering Commack Nonna’s Garden Foundation Center
Free mammograms at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Commack are offered to residents of Long Island who don't have insurance or are underinsured. In partnership with the CSP of Western Suffolk County, the Center has contracted to provide breast cancer screening services to patients who meet the following criteria:
- Uninsured and underinsured women ages 50 and over
- Women under age 50 are encouraged to contact CSP to determine eligibility.
If participants in the CSP program are diagnosed and seeking treatment for breast cancer, they may be eligible for the Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program, which provides complete coverage for outpatient treatment services.
Click here to schedule an appointment.
Long Island Jewish Medical Center (Residents of Nassau and Queens)
The Long Island Jewish Medical Center offers free cancer screenings for uninsured/underinsured patients. These services include breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings. To be eligible for these services, you must meet the following criteria:
- Are uninsured/underinsured
- Reside in Nassau or Queens
- Are between the ages of 50-64
The Greater NYC Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure supports the cancer screening program for Nassau and Queens county residents. Additionally, community screening events/programs are offered in addition to the no-cost screening programs. Click here to access the community events calendar.
To schedule an appointment and for more eligibility information, call 718-470-4165.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! Some organizations host free breast cancer screenings around New York. Check in with local clinics and imaging centers for free or reduced rates this month. Some clinics worth looking into include:
Project Renewal ScanVan
The ScanVan visits the city’s five boroughs and travels to more than 240 locations each year, providing access to mobile mammography regardless of insurance status and ability to pay. Each year, 4,600 women have received free mammograms with the ScanVan.
The ScanVan will offer free mammograms almost every day throughout October in various locations in NYC. Click here to learn more. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call (646) 415-7932
Mobile Mammography Clinic
The Mobile Mammography Clinic is part of the New York State Breast Cancer Programs. It operates under Mount Sinai, with visits to all five boroughs. If you are a woman 40 years and older and have not had a mammogram in the past year without signs or symptoms of the disease, you are eligible to participate. Click here to view their event calendar, or call 844-396-2666 to schedule an appointment.
You can get a breast exam at your nearest Planned Parenthood location, with offers for reduced costs for people without insurance. If you need more tests upon your visit, they also assist in connecting you with affordable health care providers.
Susan G. Komen Breast Care Helpline
For help finding low-cost testing near you, call the Susan G. Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877-465-6636.
NYC 311 Portal
Dial 311 for additional help in locating facilities and neighborhood health centers that offer mammograms for eligible, uninsured women at little or no cost. Visit the Site Finder to search for a Clinic online, and be sure to confirm they offer mammograms with the clinic in your area.
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Mira works as an alternative to insurance for an average of $45/month to provide optimal health by offering access to specialists and imaging referrals powered by Mira’s dedicated concierge navigation team. Click here to learn more about the best coverage option for you.
Mammogram Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are frequently asked questions about mammograms.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray image of the breast and is done with a machine that is designed to look at breast tissue. These tests can be used for breast cancer screening, follow-up, and diagnostic purposes.
The process of a mammogram from start to finish takes about 30 minutes. Your breasts will be compressed for 20 to 30 seconds between two firm surfaces on the mammogram machine. This allows breast tissue to spread and flatten. Breast images are then scanned and examined by a radiologist for signs of breast cancer.
What is the difference between diagnostic and screening mammograms?
For women who have no apparent symptoms, screening mammograms are annually administered to detect breast cancer. If the screening mammogram results in signs of breast cancer or abnormality in breast tissue, a diagnostic mammogram is used as a more in-depth exam ordered by a physician to further examine.
Diagnostic exams cannot diagnose someone with breast cancer; only a biopsy can. Different biopsy processes depend on factors such as how big a breast lump is, location, personal preferences, and if there is more than one suspected area. Consult your doctor on the type of biopsy you need to know what to expect throughout your procedure.
What age should I get a mammogram?
Below is a general guide on when to begin mammogram screening:
Additionally, you can perform a breast self-exam to detect concerns for breast cancer. Click here to learn more about how to perform a breast self-exam.
How do I prepare for my breast exam? What should I expect?
On the day of your exam, avoid the following as they may interfere with the mammogram X-ray:
- Do not apply deodorant or antiperspirant
- Do not apply powders, lotions, or perfumes
To prepare for your exam, consider the following:
- Plan to schedule your screening after your menstrual period, as your breasts will be less tender
- Communicate with your provider and X-ray technician about any concerns and questions you have about your breasts
- If you have been screened before, bring your previous mammogram records with you
Mammograms are very important but can be uncomfortable, make sure to communicate your needs with your provider and prepare beforehand to make your experience smooth.
In a city as populous as New York, deciding where to get care can be overwhelming. Whether that starts with your first mammogram or check-up, the above resources will help you determine your needs best and cost-effectively.
Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early, and regular mammograms lower the risk of breast cancer death. It is best to consult with a provider to determine your wellness journey. If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to health insurance, Mira might be a great fit for you. For as low as $25 per month, members get access to specialist and imaging referrals, virtual primary care, in-person urgent care, and more! Sign up today and start saving on healthcare.
Regine Roquia is a Masters of Public Health Candidate at New York University studying Public Health Policy & Management. She is passionate about creating the culture she wishes to see by working to increase health literacy.