Komen for the Cure

Mobile Unit Provides Cancer Screenings for Women

Posted June 6, 2007 3:37 p.m. EDT
Updated June 6, 2007 6:18 p.m. EDT

— The distance and the cost of care for the uninsured keeps many women from catching breast cancer early, but for one mobile unit, that's where the rubber hits the road.

Women normally cannot find breast cancer screening in southern Chatham County, but that changed when the Rex Mobile Mammography unit recently visited the Piedmont Health Services clinic in Moncure.

Felicia Laplanche drove more than 10 miles from Sanford because breast cancer runs in her family.

"I just decided that preventative health care is the best way to go," Laplanche said.

Annual mammography is recommended for women starting at age 40 or earlier if they have a significant family history of breast cancer. It's a simple process, yet many women do not do it.

"Women are generally quite willing to do it. It's just that it can be quite expensive if they don't have insurance," said Dr. David Tempest, of the Moncure Community Health Center.

Officials said women do not need to be concerned about insurance issues.

"And not only do we perform mammograms, but we can provide funding for the women that are uninsured," said Wendy Avery, of Rex Mobile Mammography.

The Rex Hospital Foundation and the Komen Foundation provide funding for women who qualify for screening and follow-up treatment.

Rex Mobile Mammography carries that opportunity within a 50-mile radius of Raleigh. It helps them reach high-risk groups. If Blanca Marquez ever gets breast cancer, she wants to catch it early.

"Then, I can treat it in time," she said.

Five hospitals in the state provide mobile mammography service. The Rex unit is the only one in the Triangle and it will soon add digital mammography to their service.