2009-01-23 / Community

Free Mammograms For Some, Bills For The Rest

By Jon Minkoff

Breast cancer is such a concern in this country that once a season all our favorite ballplayers take to the diamond with pink wristbands, pins, bats, and occasionally cleats. It is done in order to create awareness and, hopefully, inspire women to realize the dangers of not being tested annually via a mammogram.

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast and one of the best tools doctors have for screening breast cancer as well as diagnosing, evaluating, and following people who have the cancer. Mammograms have been in use for forty years.

The average cost of a mammogram for an uninsured patient falls between $80 and $120. There are few hospitals in New York that offer free mammograms. Mount Sinai Queens in Astoria is one that offers free mammograms six days a week.

Upon learning this, The Wave was curious as to whether or not some of our local hospitals offer this screening for free. St. John's Episcopal Hospital said that if the patient has insurance there will be no charge. If he or she is uninsured that person will have to pay out of pocket. Peninsula Hospital Center does not offer free mammograms.

Dr. Peter Nelson, CEO of the Addabbo Family Health Center, told The Wave that there are no imaging services at his facility. However, once a year they host an organization that brings in a mammogram-onwheels, offering the service for free. He also informed us that prior to the date of the service, the center places notification in The Wave.

While our local hospitals may not offer the service for free it is still extremely important for women age forty and over to receive mammograms annually.

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