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Mobile mammography unit to stop in Cape Coral on Monday, Oct. 24

By Staff | Oct 15, 2011

The Radiology Regional Center will bring its Mobile Mammography Unit back to Cape Coral again later this month to provide women with the opportunity to have their yearly screening done.

Computer issues had caused cancelation last month.

The unit will stop at Cape Coral Central Post Office, 1030 S.E. 9th Ave., from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Oct. 24. Appointments are typically 20 minutes long and can be made by calling 239-936-2316. Walk-ins are available as well.

Radiology Regional Center Mobile Mammography Program Coordinator Justine Saunders said they had a computer issue during the Sept. 30 visit and needed to shut down operations.

“We have fixed the issue, needless to say, and due to the demand we scheduled another visit,” she said. “We are excited to take care of these women who patiently await our arrival to save them from taking time away from work to have their mammogram.”

Dr. Mary Kay Peterson said women should have their baseline mammogram done at the age of 40 and 10 years sooner if a first-degree relative was diagnosed with breast cancer.

For example, she said if an aunt was diagnosed at the age of 35, your baseline mammogram should be done at 25.

“The reason for that is pre-menopausal breast cancer can be very aggressive because it is a different type of cancer most of the time,” Peterson said.

In addition to an annual physical exam done by a physician, it is also important to do home self-exams the week a woman’s period begins because hormones are at their calmest, she said.

“They are important because not all breast cancers show up on imaging,” Peterson said.

One in eight women will develop and be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Peterson said for early-caught breast cancer, which is the size of an apple seed or smaller, the survival rate is 98 percent at five years.

On Oct. 1 of last year, the Mobile Mammography coach began traveling throughout the community providing mammogram services to women. Since then, the coach has provided more than 2,500 mammograms for women in the community.

Peterson said the coach has been successful because it makes it convenient for the professional woman who does not want to take the whole day off from the office to have the exam done, or for those who do not have transportation to one of the offices.

“Women can get it done on the weekends and after hours,” she said. “We go to businesses, so they can get it done on their break.”

Peterson said the nice thing about the coach is that if a woman is not having any problems or concerns, they do not need a doctor’s prescription to have their annual screening done.

“So you can get it done right on time,” Peterson said.

Women should bring the name and address of their primary care physician, medical insurance card and a picture ID to their appointment. If they do not have a primary care physician, staff will help find them one.

A physician is important to identify just in case the patient needs follow-up care.

The staff on the coach will file all insurance paperwork for the patient. For those who do not have insurance, a discounted price of $150 is offered for self-pay patients.

She said women should not be discouraged if they do not have the financial means to have their annual mammogram done because many organizations in the community help woman. Some of those organizations include Partners for Breast Cancer Care, the Komen Foundation and From Our Hearts.

“We are very fortunate to be in Southwest Florida because we have generous people here,” Peterson said.

After forms are verified, individuals will then be taken back to a private dressing room where a brief history will be taken before the exam is done in an adjacent room.

A report card will be put in the mail of the findings from a board certified radiologist in seven to10 business days.

According to Census data, there are approximately 204,000 women in Lee County who are of the age to be screened for their yearly mammogram. Only 50,000 women are currently receiving the preventative healthcare by having a yearly screening done.