October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, which means you have 31 days to remind you of just how important it is to keep current on your breast health. And next week is especially important as Oct. 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day and Oct. 17 is National Mammography Day. There are many free and low-cost resources for women who need to get screened or who have been diagnosed. Your doctor is a great resource and you should check with him or her when possible, but here are some other helpful options.
Free & Low-Cost Breast Health Services:
- Typically, mammograms are covered by insurance, but uninsured or low-income women can find a free or low-cost mammogram too. Check the programs offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Contact a local program near you.
- Check with your local YWCA for free clinical breast exams and mammograms. They have options for women with no health insurance or limited coverage, women ages 40 or older, women ages 39 or younger with symptoms, and women who meet their income guidelines. Each center’s criteria may vary. Some also offer breast self exam workshops.
- Call the Susan G. Komen breast care helpline at 1-877-GO-KOMEN for help finding low-cost options in your area. Or, find resources through your local Komen affiliate.
- During the month of October, many imaging centers will offer mammograms at a reduced rate and you may even find free breast exams. Check with centers in your area to see what’s available.
- Never forget your annual mammogram again. The American Cancer Society will send you a screening reminder when it’s your time to get your breast exam and mammogram. Sign up for this free service here.
Free Beauty, Wig & Fitness Services:
- Look Good Feel Better – strives to improve the self-image of people undergoing treatment for cancer. They offer two-hour hands-on workshops where women receive a cosmetic kit, learn beauty tips, and get advice for dealing with hair loss using wigs, scarves, hats and other accessories. Group sessions are typically offered at cancer centers and hospitals. They also offer one-on-one consultations in some salons. Or, you can have self-help materials mailed to you. They also offer services for men and teens.
- Friends Are By Your Side – a network of salons brought together by celebrity hairstylist, Martino Cartier, which gives wigs to women for no charge.
- The American Cancer Society also offers new, free wigs at wig banks and cancer centers across the country. Enter your zip code to find a local ACS center near you.
- Check out Yoga Bear for a directory of yoga studios that offer free or donation-based classes to cancer fighters and survivors. They have locations all across the country.
- Some YMCA centers also offers a 12 week LIVESTRONG program for adult cancer survivors. Fitness instructors work with survivors to build muscle mass, increase flexibility and endurance, and to help make the transition from cancer treatment to feeling physically and emotionally strong.