Mobile mammography units helping doctors reach underserved women, study says

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – If you are a woman between the ages of 45 and 54, the American Cancer Society recommends getting an annual breast cancer screening.

For many women in that age group, there are mental barriers to getting an annual mammogram, Bon Secours lead mammographer at the Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health Jessica Mitchum said.

“Fear and anxiety and women’s schedules can all be challenges for women,” she explained.

Mobile mammography units may increase participation in screenings, according to an August 2020 study by the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting.

Starting this October, Bon Secours hopes its new mobile mammography bus will reach more Hispanic and African American women, an underserved population.

“Overall [at] our breast center, we do about 15 percent of exams on African Americans and about 4 percent on Hispanic [women] every year,” Mitchum said.

The bus provides mammograms across the Upstate in 45 minutes or less, outfitted with 3D technology.

Technologists work with walk-in patients to pay for the screenings through insurance, but for those without insurance, there are options.

“We partner with the Best Chance Network, which is funded by the state of South Carolina,” Mitchum said, “We also have grants and sponsorships with the hospital.”

You can call (864) 675-4066 to see if you qualify for a grant.

Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health’s Medical Director Dr. Matthew Chaney said annual screenings not only save money, but lives.

“If we can find a tumor in your breast when it is small and not detectable by exam, the treatment is less expensive in surgery, less chance or less chemotherapy, less chance of even needing chemotherapy and overall better results, [and] better survival,” he said.

For information about the mobile mammography bus’s schedule or to schedule the bus to stop by a business, call 675-4101.

To submit a health topic for our series, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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