ARIZONA NEWS

Banner Health offers on-the-go breast cancer screenings with mobile mammography unit

Apr 23, 2024, 4:35 AM | Updated: 6:21 am

Mobile mammography unit offers breast cancer screenings in Valley...

Known as the BIG Pink Bus, this mobile unit will provide breast cancer screenings around the Valley. (Banner Health photo)

(Banner Health photo)

PHOENIX — Valley women who are concerned about breast cancer but don’t have the time to schedule routine screenings are in luck. A new mobile mammography unit from Banner Health will provide on-the-go screenings.

Vilert Loving, the chief of breast imaging at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, said mammograms are the only screening tests that have been proven to decrease breast cancer mortality.

When breast cancer is found early, it’s more easy to treat and cure. In fact, the mortality rate of breast cancer decreases by 40% when it’s found in a screening and treated, he added.

“Scheduling a yearly mammogram screening is one of the easiest and most effective tools for treating breast cancer,” Loving said in a press release. “The mobile mammography unit will bring Banner MD Anderson’s comprehensive breast program and its breast cancer experts right to people’s doorstep.”

The bus will travel around the Valley 200 days a year to bring 3D mammography screenings to over 4,000 women.

It will use the same technology patients would find at one of Banner’s brick-and-mortar facilities. Patients will also be able to access the network’s breast cancer program if they need further testing or treatment.

The big pink bus will offer screenings at several events in the metro Phoenix area in the next month, such as:

  • Banner Sun City Health Center: April 30
  • Banner Olive Branch Senior Center: May 2
  • Wildlife World Zoo: May 7

Those who want to schedule an event with the bus can fill out this form.

Why did Banner Health start up the mobile mammography unit?

Starting by age 40, women should have a breast cancer screening each year. Unfortunately, many women miss out on their yearly screenings because they have trouble carving out time, Loving told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“It’s just hard to take time off from work, hard to get child care, those kind of things,” Loving said.

People in lower socioeconomic groups suffer from higher death rates from breast cancers, he added.

“We realized that there’s this disparity essentially in health that we need to address. It’s a big problem,” Loving said.

Banner Health decided to help women in the Valley by making screenings quick, easy and accessible.

“This was our solution: We’ll bring the mammogram to you,” Loving said.

Typically, people will go onto the bus, register, fill out paperwork, change into a gown in a dressing room and then take the screening, which is usually around 10 minutes, he added. Altogether, a trip to the pink bus will take around 15 minutes.

“For a lot of women, that’s feasible,” he said. “A lot of people, they actually do that. So, they’ll come from their work break, get it done and return back to work.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Shira Tanzer contributed to this report.

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Banner Health offers on-the-go breast cancer screenings with mobile mammography unit