Q. My best friend went in for a breast exam back in October. Since then, through imaging they found a "mass" that has gotten bigger and shows all sign of cancer. She is not insured and can't afford the out-of-pocket costs for a biopsy. She doesn't qualify for government programs without a diagnosis. They want to do a biopsy, but it cost too much. What are her next options?
A biopsy is the best way to determine if a mass is cancer, or a benign (non-cancerous) condition. If someone is uninsured, it can be difficult to follow up with this procedure. It can definitely be stressful to not know how to proceed and get care. However, there may be options to explore in order to get access to low cost, affordable care.
I would first encourage your friend to have this discussion with her current health care team, if she hasn’t already. This could help them understand how to best address her care and provide next steps for someone who is uninsured. They may have options such as charity care programs or payment plans for patients who are uninsured or underinsured.
In addition to the doctor, there are resources to contact in order to possibly receive assistance with a breast biopsy. Below are some resources that may be helpful:
Susan G. Komen: Offers a Breast Care Helpline and Patient Navigation to help guide patients through the health care system and remove barriers to breast care. You can call directly at 877- GO KOMEN (877-465-6636).
CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP): Provides breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to women who have low incomes and are uninsured or underinsured.
Time to Screen: Provides information on how to get access to screening options and may be able to assist in other affordable care solutions.
Finally, CancerCare’s website provides options to educate patients on breast health that may be helpful, including: