NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breast that allows clinicians to look for early signs of breast cancer.
"Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "You will usually get the results within a few weeks, although it depends on the facility. A radiologist reads your mammogram and then reports the results to you or your doctor."
Although mammograms are not fool-proof diagnostic tools, health experts recommend that if you are 40 or older you talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of breast cancer screening. The CDC recommends that women between 50 and 74 get a mammogram every two years.
But if you have a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, speak to your doctor about cancer screenings at a younger age.
Both women and men can get breast cancer, but it is far more common in women. (Less than 1 percent of annual cases are diagnosed in men.)
Many women may qualify for free or low-cost screenings and mammograms. Here is how to find out how to do so.
NEW YORK CITY RESIDENTS
The American-Italian Cancer Foundation's Mobile Care Clinic provides free mammograms and clinical breast exams to woman in all five boroughs of city. To be eligible, you must be a woman 40 or older, have a New York City mailing address, and have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months. You can call 877-628-9090 to make an appointment in your neighborhood.
You can also call 311 to find other screening sites that offer either free or low-cost testing.
NEW YORK STATE RESIDENTS (OUTSIDE NYC)
The New York State Cancer Services Program offers free breast cancer screening for certain uninsured and underinsured New York residents. The program serves women 40 and older (some programs are 50 and older only) and women younger than 40 who have a high risk for breast cancer. You need to meet other certain eligibility requirements. Call 866-442-CANCER or go to the Cancer Services Program website.