With recent visits, Gerber Memorial mobile mammo delivers critical screenings to patients in underserved areas
Fremont-Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s recent outreach with a mobile mammogram vehicle is connecting patients in underserved areas with critical screenings for breast cancer.
On Friday, a daylong mobile mammogram event in White Cloud drew 10 women to the parking lot of Sally’s Restaurant on North Charles Street. A service of Spectrum Health Betty Ford Breast Care Services, the mobile unit was parked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and staffed by Kelly Butler, mammography tech, and Margaret Jackson, patient registration specialist.
Two months earlier, seven women were screened when the mobile unit – a pink and white vehicle the size of a large bus – visited Croton Township on May 5.
Next stop this fall for the Grand Rapids-based unit: Holton.
The numbers in Croton Township and White Cloud are striking: The unit has the capacity to screen only around 12 patients on a full day and typically sees no more than a handful of people. The unit’s main goal is to deliver a critical service to people in traditionally hard-to-reach, underserved areas of the state with limited access and resources.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is pleased that we can bring the mobile mammogram vehicle twice to Newaygo County so far this year and that on both occasions, it has been well-received and utilized by patients in our community,” said Brian McClain, Gerber Memorial director of clinical and ambulatory services. “Screenings are critical to reducing cases of breast cancer, which can be treated when detected early enough, so that’s why getting our mobile unit to areas where women may face challenges getting to our hospital in Fremont is essential. Our effort was a true partnership with the local community, and we are grateful that many people stepped up to get the word out so their neighbors knew about the opportunity to get screened without travelling far from their homes.”
Gerber Memorial is planning to bring the mobile mammogram vehicle to Holton in October, with details being finalized.
Because the mobile unit can take a limited number of patients, women were asked to make an appointment to reserve a spot, by calling 616.774.7998, option 1. Walk-ins were accepted if space is available: In White Cloud, two walk-ins were among the 10 patients screened. Women who schedule appointments were asked to bring insurance information.
Free mammograms are being made available for uninsured or under-insured women. For women who want to see if they qualify, they are asked to call 616.486.6050.
Breast cancer will affect one in eight women during her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. When detected early, breast cancer can be treated and cured. The American Cancer Society recommends women 40 years and older have a mammogram once a year.