Spotlight On: American Breast Cancer Foundation

Source:  | Written by Abby McCoy

The American Breast Cancer Foundation works to ensure that those who are uninsured and underinsured can get preventative breast cancer screening and diagnostic testing.

Founded in 1997, the American Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) provides educational and financial support in an effort to make breast cancer screening more accessible for women and men who don’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover the cost of preventative screening.

It’s recommended that women who are at average risk of developing breast cancer begin getting mammograms at age 40, per the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. But it was reported that in 2018, just over 30 percent of women aged 40 and older had not undergone a mammogram within the previous two years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, a 2022 survey found that nearly 50 percent of women expressed worry over paying their medical bills, and were less likely to have gotten a mammogram than women who reported no financial concern.

While preventative screenings are covered by most health insurances today, almost eight million women in the United States continue to live without insurance. Since 2008, ABCF has assisted over 45,000 individuals who were uninsured or underinsured nationwide — including people under 40 who are in need of early screening — in trying to access breast cancer screening and treatment services at reduced or no cost. They’ve also expanded their reach to help people who are unable to afford diagnostic testing, such as biopsies and ultrasounds.

Its Goal

ABCF’s mission is to improve access to preventative and diagnostic breast cancer care for people in underserved communities and those who are living without health insurance. They do this by partnering with local hospitals to provide free and reduced-cost testing.

The organization is also aimed at promoting awareness on the disease, and provides free breast cancer education on its website. Its hope is that through prevention, early detection, and awareness, more people will be able to survive a breast cancer diagnosis.

Its Services

ABCF has a variety of programs created to offer breast cancer support and education on the disease. Through its Breast Cancer Assistance Program, ABCF works with people to understand their needs and ensure they’re getting the breast cancer care that they deserve.

Any U.S. resident who meets the organization’s income limit requirement — which is 4 times above the poverty line — can apply for a grant to help cover the cost of preventative screenings and diagnostic tests, including mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The application process includes an initial screening call, which is available in both English and Spanish. The amount that is granted depends on the needs of the applicant.

ABCF also offers additional resources and educational content via its Education and Community Advocacy Program. The program was created in part to connect those who may need help covering the cost of transportation, legal services, and other living and medical expenses, to support services outside of ABCF.

In addition, the organization hosts several learning modules, expert videos, personal stories, and more interactive educational materials all about breast cancer and metastatic disease on its website.

In order to further help people get the best care, ABCF partners with hospitals, medical clinics, and other healthcare facilities through their Community Partnership Program. The organization offers these institutions grants so that they are better able to assist their own local communities in getting breast cancer care. Since 2008, ABCF has issued 30,000 community partnership grants.

In an effort to spread awareness, ABCF has also partnered with two national experts from Johns Hopkins to write a comprehensive book on breast cancer care, Detecting and Living With Breast Cancer for Dummies, which covers everything from preventative care to life after treatment ends.

Core Belief

ABCF aims to eradicate breast cancer altogether by connecting those in need with support, and raising awareness and education on the disease. ABCF hopes to continue growing as an organization so it can help as many people as possible get the care they deserve.

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National Breast Cancer Assistance Access For All

ABCF makes access to breast health care and services easier for everyone. By eliminating barriers for screenings and increasing the availability of other medical resources, we are helping women and men detect breast cancer at its earliest stage. 

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