Mobile Mammography Provides Convenient and Early Breast Screening

a group of radiologists, technologists, doctors, and staff stand in front of the UVA mobile mammography coach

The UVA mobile mammography coach is a dedicated breast cancer screening center on wheels. It includes state-of-the-art equipment like a 3D mammography machine identical to those found at the UVA Breast Care Center. It produces scans that are the same quality as those patients would get at a hospital. The coach visits women at community centers and workplaces to offer accessible and affordable breast cancer screening in locations throughout Virginia.

For one woman, a routine mammogram on the mobile van lead to a diagnosis that was anything but expected.

A Normal Day

The day began like any other. Laura, a runner in her mid 40’s, was working at her job in the guidance office of an Albemarle school. She was planning on getting her annual mammogram that afternoon on the UVA Mobile Mammography coach, just as she had been doing for years. It should have just been a regular day, but this year, the mammogram showed something.

A Shocking Diagnosis

“It was very tiny,” Laura said, “[but] nobody in my family has breast cancer, so it was shocking to get it.” After receiving the results of her mammogram, a biopsy at the UVA Health System confirmed the tumor was cancer.

Keeping a positive attitude and working during her treatments was an essential part of Laura’s journey after the breast cancer diagnosis. She had support from friends and family, including a doctor in her neighborhood who had gone through treatment for breast cancer herself.

For Laura, getting her mammogram done on the UVA mobile mammography coach was simple. “The mobile mammo workers were great. They were super easy to work with,” and the mammogram didn’t even take half an hour. As she would normally have to miss work to make appointments, Laura spoke highly of the convenience of walking to the parking lot during a work day to have her mammogram. Despite its ease of use, Laura said the mobile mammogram coach almost didn’t come to her school that day because of low attendance numbers that year. Laura credits the mobile mammography coach with playing a crucial role in catching her cancer early, “Who knows what could have happened? I was lucky it wasn’t in my lymph nodes or hadn’t spread.”

Today, Laura is back to running and has no signs of the cancer returning. Since receiving her cancer diagnosis, she has an annual 3D mammogram, a more detailed mammogram, to make sure the cancer isn’t returning.

More About the Mobile Mammography Coach

a charter bus that has been converted into a mammography screening center sits in a wet parking lot

The UVA mobile mammography coach is a charter bus that has been specifically outfitted to bring the latest breast screening technology to women at their workplaces and community centers in locations throughout Virginia. The coach also offers financial programs to assist in covering the costs of a mammogram when necessary. After getting their mammogram done, women can expect a letter with the screening results within two weeks with further instructions if more breast imaging is needed.

The mammograms performed on the coach are for screening purposes only and women who have a history of breast cancer or other breast issues should have their mammograms done at the Breast Care Center of the UVA Health System in Charlottesville, VA.

For more information about the UVA Mobile Mammography coach and to see the coach’s schedule, please visit the UVA mobile mammography website.

Reviewed by Jennifer Harvey, MD

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