Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in South Carolina regardless of race. Breast cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the state and the leading cancer site diagnosed at McLeod Health.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer deaths could be lowered if women ages 40 and older had an annual mammogram, an annual breast exam by a physician, and practiced monthly breast self-exams. A mammogram is valuable because it can identify breast abnormalities before they can be felt. In addition, it has been shown that early detection increases survival and treatment options. When cancers are detected early, survival rates are better than 95%.
To reduce the impact of breast cancer on women in the region, the McLeod Health Foundation Board of Trustees unanimously voted to embark on a campaign to fund a new state-of-the-art digital Mobile Mammography Unit. In August 2007, after a very successful campaign, the McLeod Health Foundation announced the purchase of the mobile unit, with more than $800,000 raised through private and philanthropic sources.
About the McLeod Mobile Mammography Unit
The McLeod Mobile Mammography Unit takes 3D mammogram screenings to women at health care facilities, businesses, industries, and health fairs to reach those women who do not undergo a mammogram for lack of time, awareness, and access. The unit provides a convenient, comfortable, and private setting in which women can undergo a screening mammogram (an X-ray of the breast used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer).
An on-site mammogram in a mobile unit is just as safe, accurate, and confidential as going to a hospital. The state-of-the-art equipment on the unit is identical to the 3D units located in the McLeod Breast Imaging Center. An all-female team of registered radiological technologists with advanced training in the discipline of mammography staff the mobile unit. Furthermore, trained registration staff members on the unit discuss personal and financial information with each woman in a highly confidential setting. In addition, women will have the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns they may have about breast health issues to the staff on board.
The same board certified radiologists who read mammograms at McLeod Health hospitals interpret all mammograms performed on the mobile unit. After the images are read, a report is sent to the patient’s referring physician, and a result letter is sent to the patient within 7 – 10 business days after her mammogram. This process is exactly the same as if a woman had her mammogram performed at the hospital; the only difference is that the hospital comes to her.
The McLeod Mobile Mammography Unit is the first of its kind for the northeastern Region of South Carolina and was the first digital mobile mammography unit in the state. The unit is accredited by the American College of Radiologists.