Two years ago, the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center launched a mobile mammography vehicle to provide breast cancer screening services in the community. The goal was to improve access to mammography for underserved women in the East Bay –thereby helping to improve early detection of breast cancer for these women.
Vitals editors recently checked in with the mobile mammography vehicle team to find out how the effort is going.
Since launching in late 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the 40-foot mobile mammography vehicle has traveled 460 miles to 12 community health centers in the East Bay, including, among others, Asian Health Services, LifeLong Medical Center, Native American Health Center, Order of Malta Clinic and West Oakland Health Council. Using state-of-the-art mammography technology, called 3-D tomosynthesis, mobile mammography vehicle radiologic technologists have provided hundreds of screening mammograms to underserved women in the community. Now, they are hoping to increase access by increasing the number of screening events they hold each year.
Mobile Mammography Vehicle By the Numbers
51 Screening Events
12 Clinic Locations of 8 East Bay Community Organizations
347 Screening Mammograms Provided
7% Patients Requiring Follow Up
450 Miles Logged
Why Increasing Access Matters
Why is improving access to breast cancer screening services to underserved women important? Dr. Rita Kwan-Feinberg, a breast cancer surgeon with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation, co-director of the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center, and vice chief of the medical staff at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s Berkeley campus explains, “Through the mobile mammography vehicle, we’re able to reach women in our community who might not otherwise have access to screening mammography. Connecting with these women is critical because we know early detection is the best defense against the disease. It’s when we have the most treatment options –and early treatment leads to better long-term survival rates.”
“We’re so proud our vehicle is on the road providing state-of-the-art breast cancer screenings to hundreds of underserved women in our community each year,” says Kwan-Feinberg. “Many of the women who receive mammograms through the vehicle would likely not otherwise get one or might receive one only after their breast cancer had progressed if we didn’t bring the screening service to them.”
Dr. Xin Li, an oncologist with Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation and co-director of the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center says, “We know having a mammogram can be an intimidating experience for women, so we do what we can to make them feel more comfortable. With the mobile mammography vehicle, we’re able to offer screening mammograms in collaboration with local health clinics in a woman’s preferred language. For example, during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October we held a very popular community health education event with Asian Health Services in Oakland’s Chinatown. At the event we provided screening mammograms, answered women’s questions in English, Mandarin and Tagalog and provided education materials to over 100 community members.”
The mobile mammography vehicle is made possible by a generous grant from Peter Read, co-founder of Grocery Outlet, in honor of his wife Carol Ann Read who passed away from breast cancer, a Sutter match grant, as well as donations from community members. Read’s vision for the mobile mammography vehicle is to bring breast cancer screening services to underserved people in the community who have more barriers to accessing these services.
Read more about the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center mobile mammography vehicle here.