Lump in breast, no health insurance.

For the past year, I've been feeling a hard little lump in a very specific spot on my right breast. I've repeatedly felt soreness in that particular area, as well. I'm 25 years old, live on my own and have no health insurance. I've only ever worked for minimum wage and can't afford to pay out of pocket. I have no children.

What can I do? I don't really have anyone in my life I can turn to for something like this. Advice would be much appreciated, thank you in advance.
Omg how scary. I've heard that many many bumps and lumps turn out to be nothing to worry about.

I would start w/your county. Is there any care available for people who can't afford to pay? Also does your state have an insurance plan you could get on? Planned Parenthood might is another potential, is there a clinic anywhere near you?

many states have programs at public hospitals for financial aid or full coverage of bills if you qualify, which it seems you would.

while it may be nothing, it may be something and 1. peace of mind is worth tons (and it's unhealthy to worry so much for so long) and 2. if it is something, catching it early is both far healthier and far cheaper than diagnosing it later.

my vote? health must come first... go to a private hospital, get checked out (tell the doc you're on a budget, can't really afford to be there, and only want the absolute necessary tests), and then ask to see a financial aid specialist before you leave.
I am on the 'charity care' plan at my hospital. It is no cup of tea for regular checkups, but for certain situations it is a lifesaver. Call whatever hospital is closest, and explain the situation, and ask about any sort of charity care they might provide. If they don't, then call the next hospital! You'll have to go through the hospital's clinics which can be a pain, but it's worth it for your health!! :)

I don't want to tell you NOT to worry, but I would like to mention my friend had a similar problem to this at a similar age and it turned out to be a cyst, and I believe a change of diet/vitamins actually helped her out! You need to get a doc to diagnose it though.

Good luck. Hang in there!
Call Planned parenthood and see if they can assist. I know a lot of hospitals/clinics have free mammograms at different times. Also I believe if you're below the poverty line, an ER has to treat you and many have programs to assist in payment.
Mammograms for women around 25 aren't very good diagnostic tools, because the tissue is too firm. An ultrasound would be better.
Seconding Planned Parenthood. When I worked a crappy AmeriCorps job with no real health insurance, etc, PP covered all those kinds of healthcare needs, at little cost.
Re: Susan G Koman
Seconding this.

They may be able to help you find other services available since mammograms aren't ideal for your age.

Best of luck to you.
There are clinics available that operate on a sliding scale basis, we make above minimum wage, and I qualified for a $0 copay at ours, which was very surprising in TX, which has pretty crappy funded healthcare. I would suggest that you try calling the 211 for your area and seeing who they can hook you up with. Good luck!
OH MY GOD, YOUR ICON.


-ahem- pretty much, 'agreed,' to what everyone else has already said. Finding a low income clinic around you will be very helpful. Hopefully it will turn out to be nothing (as these hard lumps tend to be), but if it isn't... there are a huge host of organizations you can get help from. Good luck. <3
Before worrying overly much, I want to ask if your lump is constant, or if it's related to your menstrual cycle.

I'm pre-T, and still have the monthly visitor, and two months ago I had a scare with a lump on my breast. By the time I got to my ultrasound, however, it was gone. Three weeks later, it was back, and so was my period.

In my case it's just a cyst. I hope this is the case for you as well. You still should get it checked out, but it might help lessen the worry for you.
Well, it could be a swollen lymph node. Have you tried warm compresses?

Other than that, I would consider applying for medicaid or something (whatever you have were you are) and getting to the doctors to have it checked out.
I went through this same thing last fall. Of course, don't take diagnostic advice from strangers over the internet, BUT, this is what I learned: if you can feel it (I mean, if it aches or bothers you), if it feels sore, that's a sign that it's probably NOT cancer. And like someone above said, it's totally possible it's related to your menstrual cycle. For me, it was a blocked duct or something like that. Take vitamin E (that's what my doc told me), but most importantly, don't mess around with stuff like this.

Planned Parenthood is the best place to start, I think. JUST GO.
If it comes and goes with your cycle (more painful and pronounced with PMS, gone right after your period symptoms disappear), chances are very good that it's totally benign. That's what mine is and I didn't even need an ultrasound for my OB-GYN to reassure me. But definitely, go to Planned Parenthood and get it checked out!
Program Eligibility

An estimated 8%–11% of U.S. women of screening age are eligible to receive NBCCEDP services. Federal guidelines establish an eligibility baseline to direct services to uninsured and underinsured women at or below 250% of federal poverty level; ages 18–64 for cervical screening; ages 40–64 for breast screening.


Is it saying that I can't until I'm 40...?
go to a doctor. do not diagnose yourself. seriously, it's probably nothing, but you've waited a year, and if it *is* something, it will be more trouble to take care of now than it would have a year ago. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be. I don't mean to be grim, but, if it turns out to be nothing, even if you don't have the money, isn't that better than finding out it's cancer and you didn't do anything, and now you're going to die?
Thanks for the link.

It appears that the health centers in my county have the same requirements as Medicaid (must be pregnant or have children).
PLEASE do whatever to take care of yourself. Failing to do so could be terrible. I lost a friend who found a lump, figured she was too young to have cancer, and did nothing for over a year. She died. This may not be the case for you but I would hate to see you having to go through all she did.
I am not trying to sound morbid but really-do something to find out what is going on.
I found this bit from Dr. Oz to be very helpful. He talks about when to check your breasts, what is normal and what is not, and what to look for. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/aod-breast-exam

IMO, go to Planned Parenthood immediately. Hopefully it's just a fibrocystic lump, but better safe than sorry.
Going to chime in with the other folks who suggested Planned Parenthood.
Go to your health department and ask this question. Our county has a free/ sliding scale health screening program. And you may qualify for some kind of medicaid/ primary care program. I hope everything turns out for the best.
I would go to the nearest clinic. The clinic by me does sliding scale (typically it's about $24 for a visit). My local hospital has a program for women to get a free ultrasound done. I know all this because I too have a lump in my right breast. It apparently was nothing but I was told to keep an eye on it (it's still there; hasn't grown).
planned parenthood or county health department...i had to do the county health thing for my annuals when i was in school and uninsured and I only had to pay something like $30 for the visit and a year's worth of pills. not the nicest place in the world, but they won't take you to the cleaners.

please, please don't ignore this.
Free clinic... that's where I go for stuff like that.
Most likely it is nothing, but if it is something big bad and scary... it's always best to find out early.
Get it checked out. It may very well be nothing, but if it's cancerous, it's likely getting worse. It will be easier (and cheaper) to treat now than in, say, another year. If you do need hospital care, most will work with you and/or help with the bill in some way. I have insurance, but know that the hospital I use starts out by cutting the bill in half for anyone uninsured, even before charity care kicks in. They will also work with you to set up a 24-month payment plan for anything you do end up owing. (This is Duke, if you're in the area.)

(This from someone who finally went to the doctor for headaches that turned out to be caused by a tumor. Bills are no fun, but unchecked cancer is a billion times worse.)
I know this isn't an instant fix, but I would try shopping around for insurance.

Particularly if otherwise you have a good health history, and this hasn't been diagnosed as anything yet. It may not be as expensive as you think.

Not saying it's cheap, but it might be easier to pay for a moderate insurance plan than try to scrape up money for all the out of pocket expenses.

I got a High Deductible Plan through State Farm. The plan itself is a little over $100/month (and I have an HSA option). It has a vanishing deductible, starts at $5000 and drops by $500 every six months I don't meet it. I have one exam covered every year, and after the deductible it pays 100% up to 8 mil.

I'm not saying that particular plan is best for you (took a year for the free exam to kick in), just that you might try shopping around. If you can find one that will let you take a standard exam for a reasonable price, most of them include a breast exam for women that should spot a touchable lump (or you can express it as a worry to the doctor).