GW van offers exams on the go

The GW Hospital makes mammograms more accessible with the GW MammoVan, a van that houses a mammogram testing facility. The hospital’s Breast Care Center has leased the van from the Cancer Research Foundation of America since 1996.

The visibility (of the van) is important, said Shari Campbell, executive associate of the Mobile Mammography Program, which sponsors the MammoVan. It is out in the community and women see the van, and even if they don’t decide to get a mammogram with us, the van is a reminder that they need to get one.

The MammoVan offers mammograms to women more than 35-years-old throughout Maryland, Virginia and D.C. to promote early treatment and detection of breast cancer.

According to the Web site for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women, resulting in an estimated 40,800 deaths this year.

Although this disease still remains incurable, the best course of action for women is early detection, according to the Web site. Breast cancer is easiest to treat, and the risk of progression is reduced when the cancer is detected early, according to the Web site.

Mammograms remain the most effective method of detecting breast abnormalities that may lead to breast cancer, according to the Web site. Doctors recommend that women who are at least 40-years-old receive a mammogram every one to two years.

Even though evidence shows that early detection is the key to treatment, many women older than 50 – who comprise the high-risk category for breast cancer – still do not receive mammograms, according to the Web site.

The convenience of the MammoVan helps correct the problem of under-testing by making the mammogram more accessible, Campbell said.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For information or to make a mammogram appointment call (202) 994-9999.

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