Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, accounting for one in three of all new female cancers every year.
While breast cancer diagnoses are prevalent, early detection has helped decrease the number of deaths caused by this disease. And regular screenings, known as mammograms, are an essential component of catching cancer early, as well as access to these screenings.
The Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center (JACBCC) was founded to ensure all women in the Mahoning Valley had access to comprehensive, high-quality, compassionate breast care, regardless of their race, creed or ability to pay for care. And in 2016, the JACBCC added a state-of-the-art mobile mammography unit to its services.
Mobile mammography units bring critical technology to communities and patients who may not have easy access to mammograms. This gives patients the opportunity to have potentially life-saving screenings that they may not have had otherwise.
The JACBCC Mobile Mammography Unit, also known as “Joanie on the Go!,” travels across northeast Ohio every month, vising physician practices, schools, churches, businesses and more.
The state-of-the-art mobile unit uses the same high-quality technology and equipment to perform the mammogram that can be found in the JACBCC. It was also the first mobile unit in eastern Ohio to offer 3D mammography, which allows for a more thorough breast examination.
Certified radiologists read all the mammograms conducted on the van and, because a second look can mean a second chance, our ministry also utilizes a computer-aided detection system to improve cancer detection rates. The results are also sent to the patient’s physician so that they’re aware and can discuss with the patient as needed.
The van makes between 25 and 30 stops on average each month and sees approximately 200 to 250 patients each month.
“So many women are busy taking care of their homes and their families,” Laura Boomhower, community outreach educator for the JACBCC, shares. “It can be easy when you’re focused on taking care of everyone else to forget to prioritize your own health. Sometimes regular screenings get put on the back burner because it feels like there’s not enough time in the day to get another thing done, but they are so critically important.”
Laura continues, “women need to make sure they’re going in for their regular screenings so that they are here for their families. Joanie on the Go! also helps bring that convenient, quality care to women all over the Mahoning Valley.”
The JACBCC Mobile Mammography Unit was made possible through generous donations to the Joanie’s Promise Fund at the Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley as well as funds raised through the annual Panerathon. These same donations also make it possible for screening expenses to be covered for any woman who qualifies financially.
It is recommended that women begin receiving annual mammograms at age 40.
However, it is important that you talk with your doctor about when you should have a screening mammogram. It’s possible that your provider may recommend them earlier if you are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
At Mercy Health, women over the age of 40 who are not having any breast issues can self-refer and schedule a screening mammogram on their own. They do not need a physician order or referral for a routine screening mammogram. This is usually a covered benefit with most insurance carriers, but, again, financial assistance for mobile screenings is also available to patients who qualify.
For more information about the JACBCC Mobile Mammography Unit or to schedule your mammogram in the Mahoning Valley, call 330-480-2654.