Breast cancer screening means checking a woman's breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Three main tests are used to screen the breasts for cancer. Talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
Which tests to choose: Having a clinical breast exam or a breast self-exam have not been found to decrease risk of dying from breast cancer.2 Keep in mind that, at this time, the best way to find breast cancer is with a mammogram. If you choose to have clinical breast exams and to perform breast self-exams, be sure you also get regular mammograms.
Most likely, you can get screened for breast cancer at a clinic, hospital, or doctor's office. If you want to be screened for breast cancer, call your doctor's office. They can help you schedule an appointment. Most health insurance companies pay for the cost of breast cancer screening tests.
Are you worried about the cost? The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) offers free or low-cost mammograms and education about breast cancer. Find out if you qualify.Find out if you qualify.
1Saslow D, Hannan J, Osuch J, Alciati MH, Baines C, Barton M, Bobo JK, Coleman C, Dolan M, Gaumer G, Kopans D, Kutner S, Lane DS, Lawson H, Meissner H, Moorman C, Pennypacker H, Pierce P, Sciandra E, Smith R, Coates R. Clinical breast examination: practical recommendations for optimizing performance and reporting. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 2004;54(6):327–344.
2U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Breast Cancer. Rockville, Maryland: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2009.