Breast Cancer Detection Center of Alaska
ACR Accredited and FDA Certified Mammography Facility
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Care For All


Frequently Asked Questions


What is Mammography? 

Mammography is specialized medical imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts to detect and diagnose breast diseases. More information at for patients. 


Does BCDC Require a Referral to Have a Mammogram? 

Beginning December 2016, BCDC will not require a referral for self-requesting patients who meet certain criteria for screening mammograms only. BCDC does require a referral from a health care provider for Diagnostic Mammograms to ensure that you receive the best follow-up care. Your health care provider will review your breast cancer screening results and facilitate follow up care if necessary. Call your health care provider's office to request a referral prior to calling BCDC if you have any breast issues. 

3. What is a Self-Requesting Patient?

      A self-requesting patient is any patient who receives a mammogram of his or her own initiative and gives BCDC permission under HIPPA to send the results to a provider of his or her choice.  The patient must meet the following criteria:

  • Aged 40 or over
  • Insurance does not require a referral for reimbursement
  • No recent history of breast cancer
  • No recent history of abnormal mammograms
  • No current breast issues

     The patient will be required to sign a release form at the time of the appointment acknowledging that BCDC is released from any liability or responsibility for the patient's failure to follow up with a health care provider in a timely manner concerning the mammogram results.


What if I Do Not Have Insurance? 

BCDC accepts self payment and provides services regardless of ability to pay. If you do not have the ability to pay contact The Alaska Breast and Cervical Health Check program at 1-800-410-6266 to see if you quality for a grant to cover up to 60% of the cost of your mammogram. Click here for more information. If you do not qualify for a state grant and do not have the ability to pay for the total cost of your mammogram - please pay what you can and the BCDC Mammo Assist program can cover the balance. Mammo Assist is a donor funded program for BCDC patients regardless of income level or insurance coverage. Any payment you can make helps BCDC provide this important service to others.


What Are The Current Mammography Screening Guidelines?

  • Annual Mammograms for 40+ Year Old Women
    • Recommended by: BCDC, American College of Radiology, Society of Breast Imaging
  • Elective Annual Mammograms for 40-44 Years Old Women, Annual for 45-54, and Biennial for 55+
    • Recommended by: American Cancer Society
  • Mammograms Not Required for 40-49 Years Old Women, Biennial for 50-75
    • Recommended: United States Preventative Services Task Force


What is Tomosynthesis? 

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, 3D Mammography, or Tomo harnesses very detailed images of breast tissue from multiple angels and offers significant improvements in screening accuracy, earlier detection, and fewer patient callbacks. More information at for patients. 


How much radiation will I be exposed to during my mammogram? 

Special care is taken during x-ray examinations to use the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation. During your exam, the radiation exposure you will experience is below the FDA guidelines set out in the Mammography Quality Standards Act. More information at for patients. 


What If I Have Breast Implants?

Mammography is safe for women with breast implants and is used both to detect breast cancer and to check the integrity of the implants. One set of images is made to include the entire breast and a second set of images is made for the breast tissue. 


When Will The Mobile Mammography Truck Visit My Community? 

The Mobile Mammography Truck serves patients in Alaskan communities during March through October. Click here to see the map of communities served and here to see the calendar.   


How Do I Become a Voting Member of BCDC? 

Voting members of BCDC give an annual donation of $100 or more and select the option to become a voting member of BCDC. As a voting member of BCDC, you will receive notice of the Annual Meeting, Agenda, and Proxy Ballot. Visit BCDC, call 479-3909, or email for more information.


How Much Does a Mammogram Cost? 

It depends. Cost varies per service and insurance coverage. Call 479-3909 or email to discuss your needs and coverage and a BCDC staff person can provide you with a cost estimate.  


What is a Screening Mammogram? 

Screening mammography is a type of low dose x-ray examination that produces images of the breast tissue. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers when they are most curable and most treatable. More information at for patients. 


What is a Diagnostic Mammogram?

Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings - such as a breast lump or nipple discharge - that have been found by the patient or their doctor. Diagnostic mammography is also used after an abnormal screening mammogram to evaluate the area of concern. More information at for patients. 


Does BCDC Provide Services For Men? 

Yes. Breast Cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. For men in the United States, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. More information at


What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer? 

A rare and very aggressive disease in which cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast, where breasts often look swollen, red, or inflamed. More information at IBC Network Foundation


What can you do to reduce your risk of breast cancer? 

Limit alcohol, do not smoke, control your weight, be physically active, breast feed, limit dose and duration of hormone therapy, avoid exposure to radiation and enviormental pollution. Beyond individual risk factors, community, ecosystem, and societial concerns can have an effect. More information at Science and Environmental Health Network