Friday, October 17, 2014

Driving Off Cancer - In the Mammovan!

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On a cool, misty October morning, a Latina woman, in her mid-fifties, walks out the back door of the DC Medical Clinic and into the parking lot where she will have her  breast cancer screening. 

 
In the parking lot? Well, yes. This Thursday, the Mammovan or the George Washington Mobile Mammography Program, a mobile unit offering one-stop preventative cancer screenings, gave us a visit, allowing 22 women to receive screenings in a single day. 

In partnership with the Prevent Cancer Foundation, our ¡Celebremos la Vida! (CLV) Program provides much needed preventive services to low-income Latina and other immigrant women by providing free mammograms, pap smears, education about cancer prevention, and assistance with follow-up care.

On Thursday, this meant, business as usual would take place in the DC Medical Clinic's parking lot - inside the Mammovan!  

The Mammovan travels to locations across the region, such as the Spanish Catholic Center's DC Medical Clinic (for the past 20 years) and the McCarrick Clinic (for the past 8 years) and conducts the exams onsite. Up to 25 women are screened for breast cancer daily. 
Every inch of the mobile unit is used - from the entrance way, which doubles as a registration and consultation station, to the rear, where the mammography equipment is housed. 

Here's a peak inside the Mammovan:   

"They're not just getting a mammogram today," Manager of the ¡Celebremos la Vida! Program Olga Pulgar-Vidal said. "They are learning how to detect early signs of breast cancer for themselves and getting into the habit of getting annual screenings."

At the end of the day, 22 more DC women left our clinic more in control of their health and more knowledgeable about breast cancer prevention.
 
Since the Mammovan initiative began in 1996, it has performed more than 40,000 regular screenings and has diagnosed 128 breast cancer cases. 

To learn more about early detection and ways to prevent breast cancer from even starting, check out this link.