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October 23, 2023

A mammogram usually takes about 15 minutes and can save lives because this simple screening can find breast cancer early – up to three years before a lump can be felt.1

The earlier female breast cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. The five-year relative survival for localized female breast cancer, where cancer is confined to the breast, is 99.1%.2

As a doctor I saw first-hand how regular health screenings, like mammograms, were vital to maintaining health and identifying problems early. Behind skin cancer, breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women. In fact, it’s estimated that one in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime.3 But it doesn’t impact all women equally. 

  • While white women have the highest incidence of breast cancer in the U.S., black women are more likely to die from it.4
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the most common cancer among Hispanic women.5

Some women put off their mammogram because they don’t have insurance or transportation, can’t take time off work or from family, can’t afford the cost, or there’s not an imaging facility nearby. Others may believe common myths.

Mammogram misperceptions

There are a lot of myths about mammograms, and these misperceptions can be harmful if they create a barrier to getting a regular screening mammogram. Let’s break down the most common myths.   

Myth 1: I’m not at risk because there’s no breast cancer in my family.

Fact: While a family history of breast cancer increases risk, it’s not a determining factor. More than 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.6 Regular screening is essential for catching breast cancer early when it’s usually small, localized, and easier to treat.

Myth 2: I’m afraid I’ll get bad news because I have a lump.

Fact: While it can be unnerving to find a lump, most breast lumps are not cancer.7 Lumps can be caused by hormones, birth control, pregnancy, or even injuries.8 Fear of test results shouldn’t keep women from getting this life-saving screening.

Myth 3: I don’t need a mammogram because I do self-exams.

Fact: Self-exams are not enough. Mammograms can detect signs of breast cancer before symptoms appear, and early detection is key to successful treatment and improved outcomes.

More information about breast cancer screening is available in the Health Screenings section of BlueAnswers on the Florida Blue website.

Florida Blue’s commitment to women’s health

Florida Blue is committed to encouraging women to get annual mammograms and ensuring access to quality, affordable imaging facilities. With many of our commercial and Medicare health insurance plans, an annual screening mammogram is covered at a $0 copay for most women aged 40 and older.

  • All our plans cover annual screening mammograms for women aged 40 and older, many for as low as a $0 copay.
  • Most of our members can earn a reward for getting an annual screening mammogram, and many can get a ride to and from the appointment through Lyft.9
  • We share educational materials with our members and community partners, including how to find a nearby provider and calculate any out-of-pocket cost.
  • We host mobile mammogram units at our Florida Blue Centers across the state, where anyone in the community can get their screening.
  • And we welcome everyone to get answers to health questions, including how to get a low- or no-cost mammogram, from a nurse for no out-of-pocket cost at one of our Florida Blue Centers.

Those without insurance can find free or low-cost mammograms through programs like the Florida Department of Health’s Early Detection Program.

Removing barriers to annual mammograms

As a community, public and private organizations must work together to identify and remove barriers to getting this vital screening.

The health care industry should continue to focus on educating women about the importance of mammograms and clarifying common myths that can cause fear or avoidance. By highlighting the benefits of early detection of breast cancer, we hope to encourage women to prioritize their health.

The Florida Blue Foundation supports many organizations and events that promote breast health, like the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks across the state, as well as local efforts like the ACS’s Breast Health Equity Digital Summit, Volunteers in Medicine, Latin Community Health Advisors, The Promise Fund, and others. More sponsorship or funding are needed for women to get low- or no-cost mammograms, especially since cost and location are two known deterrents.

Employers can offer wellness programs to ensure employees understand the out-of-pocket cost of a mammogram (if any), according to their insurance plan’s benefits and the options for where to get it. For example, a mammogram can cost significantly more at a hospital than an independent imaging facility.

Something we can all do, regardless of our industry or role, is encourage the women in our lives to get their annual mammogram. It could be the most impactful 15 minutes they spend all year.

By working together to support women, we can increase mammogram screenings and help close the gap in disparities in breast cancer diagnosis and fatalities and help create a healthier future for women across Florida.










9 The Better You Strides program is available to Florida Blue members age 18 and older. Eligibility is limited to members with an individual/family Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan and members with coverage from their fully insured group employer health plan. For individual/family ACA plans, reward amounts will apply to premiums.  Excess amounts may be redeemed subject to the reward program's terms and conditions, up to $500. One (1) Lyft ride is available to members 18 years or older up to $50 roundtrip, subject to terms and conditions.