When it comes to the Mammovan, what strays in Vegas actually saves lives in Vegas. We found out about the Nevada Health Centers’ Mammovan from this local National Public Radio story and wanted to learn more. Nevada Health Centers, the largest Community Health Center organization in the state, operates the 70 foot semi-truck that crisscrosses the state in search of women who need an affordable mammogram. And in Nevada, there are plenty in need. Only half of women (66 percent) over the age of 40 have had a mammogram in the last two years, and the estimated number of new cases of breast cancer is 1,690 with an estimated 380 expected deaths. That’s 22.5 percent mortality rate (compared to a 13.5 percent mortality rate for all U.S. women) in a state that ranks nearly last (46th) in breast cancer screening rates. The good news is the Mammovan is making a difference while burning up the miles. Since the program started 42,000 women were screened and 200 required further evaluation, of which many were diagnosed. Since 2008 the Mammovan has traveled almost 174,000 miles, but there are still many miles to go to keep saving lives.
“Many insured and uninsured women throughout the state of Nevada feel they don’t have access to breast cancer screenings because of the travel needed just to get screened and don’t feel they can take the time away from family and work,” said Colleen Petrosky, Mammovan Manager. “The Mammovan is helping to reach these women and provide hope and support as well as follow-up and referrals when needed. We know prevention is the best protection and we hear stories from our returning women whose lives were saved because of their Nevada Health Services Mammovan visit.”
About one in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime and early screenings can make the difference between life and death.
Throughout the month of October–Breast Cancer Awareness Month–we’ll be featuring health centers and people who are waging the battle against breast cancer. If you have a story to share, please tell us and we’ll write about it on this blog.