Breast cancer prevention is moving forward

 

The new Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van was unveiled at Legislative Hall on Tuesday. The van offers breast cancer screening and starting in July, an examination room will be staffed with nurses to conduct cervical cancer, colorectal, lung cancer, blood pressure and glucose screenings in addition to regular pap tests.  (Delaware State News/Marc Clery )

The new Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van was unveiled at Legislative Hall on Tuesday. The van offers breast cancer screening and starting in July, an examination room will be staffed with nurses to conduct cervical cancer, colorectal, lung cancer, blood pressure and glucose screenings in addition to regular pap tests. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery )

DOVER ­— A new state-of-the-art breast cancer screening option rolled into town last week as the new Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van.

“This will save lives, it doesn’t get any simpler than that,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “Kids will be able to grow up with moms they might not otherwise be able.”

The mammogram machine inside the Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van Unveiling at Legislative Hall on Tuesday.  (Delaware State News/Marc Clery )

The mammogram machine inside the Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van Unveiling at Legislative Hall on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery )

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition had been operating a mobile unit since 2005 but after it became unreliable, the coalition was able to secure funding from the General Assembly to purchase a new one.

The new van was completed in March and will regularly travel up and down the state making scheduled stops at health care providers like La Red Health Center and Westside Family Healthcare in addition to community centers.

“This provides a convenient option for women who are unable to get out of work for an appointment, it’s quick and it comes to them,” said mobile mammography technician Sandy Joyce.

Ms. Joyce has been a mammography technician since 1974 and said the van has some of the best technology she’s seen.

“When I look back to when I first started, we could only detect huge lumps and looking back, it almost seems pointless when you work with a high-quality digital machine like this one that can detect spots smaller than the head of a pin,” she said.

Ms. Joyce and her fellow mobile tech Nancy Durney are technically employees of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition but the mammograms they take are read by radiologists at the van’s partner organization –– Beebe Healthcare. After the scans are read, the radiologists at Beebe follow up with the patients.

Many of the van’s patients are expected to be low-income, minorities and Spanish speakers.

Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, said that the highest rates of breast cancer cases and deaths are among minority groups and those with disabilities but the van is a perfect solution to those demographics.

Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Executive Director Vicky Cooke speaks at the Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van Unveiling at Legislative Hall on Tuesday.   (Delaware State News/Marc Clery )

Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Executive Director Vicky Cooke speaks at the Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van Unveiling at Legislative Hall on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery )

“It helps us reach those groups who are least likely to get a screening,” she said.

The van even has a English/Spanish translator to make the process of being screened easier for non-native speakers.

“If you’re a Spanish speaker, going into a doctor’s office can be intimidating and uncomfortable,” Ms. Joyce said. “But here, they can easily discuss the process, complete the necessary paperwork and be screened in a private, comfortable setting.”

And by the time July rolls around, breast cancer won’t be the only thing the van will screen for –– an examination room will be staffed with nurses to conduct cervical cancer, colorectal, lung cancer, blood pressure and glucose screenings in addition to regular pap tests.

“This is truly a full women’s clinic on wheels,” said Coalition Executive Director Vicky Cooke.

Low-income and uninsured women will be able to undergo all the screenings through the Screening for Life program. Screening for Life covers preventative screenings for eligible Delawareans through the Division of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The van will also be of use to the insured who cannot get to a doctor’s appointment due to work hours or other constraints because the process including paperwork takes less than 30 minutes. The mobility of the van also reduces travel time, meaning less time out of work.

Transportation can be arranged for the disabled or those who cannot otherwise reach the van’s location.

To find out when the van will be in your area or to schedule an appointment or transportation, call 1-888-672-9647.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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