Access to free or low-cost mammograms

Mamas…Screening Saves Lives!

When it comes to breast cancer, the science is clear: screening saves lives. Largely thanks to mammography screening, 63 percent of breast cancers today are diagnosed at the localized stage. And when it’s caught this early, breast cancer has a five-year survival rate of 97 percent.

“That’s one reason it’s so important for women to get regular mammograms,” says Dennis McKeon, director of diagnostic imaging at Maui Memorial Medical Center. “If you catch it early, you have a higher likelihood of going into remission and curing it.”

So why do many women avoid regular screenings? While getting a mammogram is a personal choice for all women, there are several factors that might prevent someone from making breast cancer screening a priority.

One is the misconception about access and costs.

“Most women don’t know that you actually don’t need a referral to get a screening mammogram here at Maui Memorial Medical Center, or any FDA-certified mammography facility,” says McKeon. Under the federal Mammography Quality Standards Act, any woman who wants to be screened for breast cancer can self-refer.

If you don’t have insurance and are worried about costs, there is help for you. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides low-income and uninsured women access to free or low-cost breast cancer screenings. Visit to find out if you qualify and who to contact in your area for more information.

On Maui, uninsured women can receive free screening mammograms through Malama I Ke Ola Health Center in Wailuku and paid for by Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation. For more information, call the health center at 871-7772.

Ask your doctor when you should begin screenings, or how often you should be screened. If you need financial assistance, take advantage of the free resources available to you. Early detection starts with you.