Some patients are teachers who don’t want to give up a day in the classroom. Others are healthcare workers who would rather be anywhere but a hospital. All of them appreciate the CMC Mobile Mammography Center.
“We are nonstop, honestly,” said Lauren Cossentino, CMC’s mobile mammography coordinator. “Some women, they prefer the mobile. They like it because they are the only ones on there. They don’t have to sit in a waiting room full of people. It’s just catered to them. For that 15 or 20 minutes, it’s just all about them.”
Originally funded with a 2018 grant from The Duke Endowment, CMC’s mammography van provides 3D mammograms four to five days each week at locations throughout the region. The imaging technology on the van is the same as in the CMC Imaging Center, so the radiologists are reading the same types of images no matter where the screening is done.
The primary focus of the program is to make the screening process more convenient, particularly for underserved women who might not receive this vital service otherwise.
“Just making healthcare a little more accessible to them,” Cossentino said. “Early detection is the key — 100%. It is so unfortunate that women will wait 10, 15, 20 years to have a screening done because they can’t afford it. By the time they do get screened, a lot of times it’s too late.”
The van makes appearances at both private and public events, and the mobile unit’s staff is extremely busy in October, breast cancer awareness month.
There are stops at medical offices and church events, festivals and football games, even a chili cookoff and a motorcycle rally.
“We just have a huge outpouring of support,” Cossentino said. “It’s been really awesome to watch it grow and see what it has become over the years.”
The van also visits homeless shelters and economically struggling neighborhoods where this service isn’t available.
Since one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, the goal of the program is to remove financial and transportation barriers to this type of care.
“You don’t miss a whole day’s work to be here,” Cossentino said. “Or you don’t have to get a ride in place. We’ll be right down the street. … “It’s just really kind of making it where there’s no excuse.”
For more information or to schedule a corporate or community screening event with the CMC Mobile Mammography Center, call 843-234-6891.