Mobile mammography reaches at-risk population
Posted April 4, 2014
Harnett County, N.C. — Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women, and while deaths from the disease are declining thanks to better screening, uninsured or underinsured women, who are less likely to get regular mammograms, remain vulnerable.
In Harnett County, breast cancer screening comes on wheels and is wrapped in purple and pink.
For three years running, Teresa Livingston, 49, has gotten her mammogram from the Rex Healthcare mobile mammography unit in the parking lot of the Harnett County Health Department.
"You know, early screening – it will save your life," she said.
"It doesn't hurt. (It) only takes a few minutes, and if you don't have insurance or you can't afford it, this is the way to go."
Rex has two digital mammography units on the road five days a week covering a 15-county area. They work with local health departments to find the women who need their services most.
"Rex is committed to making sure that no one slips through the cracks. We want every woman to have her yearly screening," said Rex's Amy Daniels.
The outside of the van includes the faces of those who have been served, including breast cancer survivor Lenora Woods.
"Her likeness is on the coach, and it's a reminder to women that mammograms save lives," said Wendy Avery, mobile mammography coordinator for Rex.
Accessible health help goes beyond free and discounted screenings. When a mammogram turns up a problem, aides are on site to guide people through the process.
"We connect them with the next service that is necessary," Daniels said.
In 2013, Rex Healthcare's mobile mammography program provided 5,300 screening mammograms. More than 3,000 of those were free.