Twenty years ago, two Barnes-Jewish Hospital physicians were taken with the idea of a mobile mammography unit after attending a conference in Chicago. They purchased a recreational vehicle and transformed it into the first mobile mammography van west of the Mississippi River—and one of only five in the nation. Today, the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Siteman Cancer Center Mammography Van is on the road at least five days a week and performs more than 7,500 mammograms each year.
A New Face
In the coming months, a new van funded by Celebrate Fitness and Share the Care will hit the road and take mobile mammography to the next level. Complete with digital mammography technology funded by the Avon Foundation, the new van will continue visiting churches, corporations, clinics, Schnucks stores and other locations.
Studies by the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine show that many women in certain areas of St. Louis have increased rates of advanced breast cancer. As a result of this research, the mammography van now includes these areas on its route.
An Unparalleled Impact
As technology improves over the years, one thing will never change—the van’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of women in the greater St. Louis area. This includes providing free mammograms to qualifying women in need through funding from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Judy Ride Foundation and Show-Me Healthy Women Program.
“Many women tell us they wouldn’t have received a mammogram if our van had not been parked where they work, at the grocery stores where they shop or at a clinic near their homes,” says Betty Hayward, mammography outreach coordinator since 1989. “It’s exciting to see the program making a difference in these women’s lives, and for women to understand the importance of screenings and being active in their health care.”
Published in Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s To Your Health!