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According to the American Cancer society, many women make fewer visits to the doctor because they don’t have health insurance. St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx has a plan to bring mammograms to the women who need them. My co-host, Ntshepeng Motema (en-SEP-eng mo-TAY-mah) has the story.
The new mobile mammogram van parked outside St Barnabas Hospital actually looks more like a recreational van.
But walk inside and it’s more like a regular doctor’s office – there’s a waiting room, magazines to go through while you wait and water for refreshment.
Bert Petersen is the director of the Breast Surgery Department at St Barnabas.
The first thing you would do is you would go right into this room this is where you disrobe ad get ready for the services that we can provide. Then we also have this room right here where we also do clinical breast exam.
St. Barnabas has had a mobile mammography van before – their last one has been out of commission for the past two years due to outdated equipment.
As he walks visitors through the van, Dr. Petersen points out some key features of the latest offering.
Starting with this right here, so this is the data collection system, this links immediately to our electronic medical records. And the we go right back into this room what is exciting here is state of the art digital mammography which is really key in the new fight against breast cancer because 15% of breast cancers are missed by mammography.
He says a lot of lives could be saved if more women would just get checked out before it’s too late.
There is free coverage for mammography in New York State many women do not realize that it is just a matter of applying and meeting certain qualifications.
But the trick is getting this information to those women.
Arlene Riviera who helps patients understand how the system works says their efforts to reach the community are already paying off. Since they aired commercials about the van a day ago she has had more than 20 women call.
Our phones have been ringing I have had women call me I have had in just a matter of a day or a day and a half say to me I was at home watching t.v and I saw you guys offer free screenings I am age forty I do not have insurance, they have just been calling.
(AMBIENCE OF ADMISSION OFFICER INSIDE HOSPITAL BOOKING APPOINTMENTS)
Some women who make appointments come to the hospital.Inside St Barnabas a patient, who does not wish to identify herself, has just come out of a checkup. She is one of the lucky ones with health insurance and she says all women need to get checked.
You have to know about your body and health if you want to live longer, if you do not know that’s how you get sick and you die before your time.
The new van will start making weekly rounds around the neighborhood from next week.
Ntshepeng Motema, Columbia Radio News.