Explainer: Mammograms

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Brian Lehrer Show and Clear Health Costs are collaborating on a project to gather the cost of routine mammograms. That data is still being collected, but one common question has already come up: Just what are the different kinds of mammograms, and what is supposed to be "routine"? Freya Schnabel, MD and professor in the Department of Surgery and Division of Breast Surgery at the NYU Cancer Institute, explains the different kinds of mammograms and the latest medical recommendations.


Freya Schnabel

Comments [13]

David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Smithy

I'm addressing ALL of the xxx is/will be/ should be "free" I have simply pointed out that xxx is NOT free just because the patient is not paying out of pocket.

The more "free" things there are, the more the insurance companies profit (they get paid medical costs +). I am against any routine, expected health item being "free" - much better that it be affordable, and not priced according to if you're insured & by whom.

May. 13 2013 01:47 PM
Henry from MD

As everyone knows or should know scientific research of different illnesses is funded by the government at greatly varying rates. Bryan, why not examine the disparities in detail, looking at the numbers of people affected by the diseases, the fatalities etc in light of the funding.

You might make interesting discoveries. This is an issue that needs more public attention.

May. 13 2013 11:42 AM

Interesting that the only two people who complained about the description of no cost mammograms for the uninsured as "free" were men.

May. 13 2013 11:28 AM
Ellen from NYC

As someone who has had breast cancer IIIa & done only alternative treatments & survived now 15 years, I have avoided mammograms because their squeezing technique creates a risk of popping my tumor which has calcified.

May. 13 2013 11:25 AM
Max from Northern NJ

Please discontinue using the term "free" to describe mammograms or any other medical procedure, under the ACA or otherwise. Somebody pays. Insurance premiums, local, county, state, or federal taxes, it's all paid by someone, one way or another.

May. 13 2013 11:23 AM
lisa from Westchester

At my last screening, I was advised by the radiology facility to have a 3D mammo(at an additional $100 cost). I was told this was a good idea for all women, but especially in a case like mine - dense breast tissue, always have ultrasound. I took that option but my breast doctor later suggested that this should not be routine as it is a much higher amount of radiation, even though the facility sugggested it was the equivalent of one extra film and would likely mean they would need to take less pictures as it would be more accurate. Please comment.

May. 13 2013 11:23 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Is there insufficient evidence that thermography is accurate because not enough studies have been done or because the findings from studies of it are unclear?

May. 13 2013 11:22 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

I hear a lot of, will xxx be free? NO, TINSTAAFL - there is no such thing as a free lunch!

If you buy your own insurance (an ever increasing portion of the population), your premiums will go up as we load item after item onto insurance. If your employer pays for it, it will add even more downward pressure on your wages (like things aren't already bad enough).

May. 13 2013 11:21 AM
barbara from westchester

I read that some hospitals are now sending mamogram "pictures" to radiologists in India and letting go their on-staff radiologists----
This doesn't sound good to me---What's your thoughts about this practice?

May. 13 2013 11:18 AM

No money, no worries... this facility provides free mammograms (and also takes insurance from those who have insurance):

Avon Foundation Breast Imaging Center
Herbert Irving Cancer Center at
New York Presbyterian- Columbia
1130 St. Nicholas Ave. (W168 & Broadway) (btw W166th & W167 Sts)
Tel: 212.851.4516

The staff is great. They also offer pap smears through the hospital and they do a colo-rectal smear test.

May. 13 2013 11:16 AM
Christine from Westchester

If prostate exams were done like mammograms they'd change the technology. I can't imagine that the only way to test the mammogram which isn't completely accurate and is painful. This is the best we can do?

May. 13 2013 11:14 AM
Amy from Manhattan

To clarify, saying that the patient has "no history" in the definition of a screening mammogram means she *personally* has no history of having had breast cancer. Women who have a *family* history of breast cancer still get screening mammograms, not diagnostic mammograms.

May. 13 2013 11:14 AM
carolita from NYC

I'd like to hear about breast thermography, which is said to be safer and possibly more effective than mammograms. I plan on using it, myself, if I can find a good provider, and skipping the mammograms, which are not only painful, but which I think expose me to unnecessary radiation, which may even contribute to mutations.

May. 13 2013 11:00 AM

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