NEW YORK — Tyran Perry gets a mammogram every year. There’s no history of breast cancer in her family, but she knows the sobering numbers: 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed at some point in her lifetime.
Perry usually goes to a Mount Sinai Health System location for her mammogram, but on Friday, she stepped into the hospital's mammography van parked outside the Boriken Neighborhood Health Center in East Harlem.
What You Need To Know
- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime
- Mount Sinai's Mobile Mammography Unit brings 3D breast imaging to all five boroughs
“I go to this clinic,” Perry said. “They told me it was going to come out be in front, so I was I like, I ain’t got to go far.”
The van has been driven across all five boroughs for more than two years to break down the barriers that often prevent women from getting annual mammograms, issues like insurance, language, and fear.
This year, there's a new obstacle: COVID-19.
The number of mammograms performed at Mount Sinai were down 95 percent in April, and 65 percent in May. While the numbers have bounced back to normal levels, doctors want to make sure that anyone who missed a mammogram gets one now.
“Everything is cleaned and disinfected and wiped down in between patients, so it is really safe,” explained Dr. Laurie Margolies, chief of breast radiology at Mount Sinai. “It is really time to get back to screening and not put off health.”
That’s part of the reason Perry is getting her mammogram now.
“They are threatening another lockdown and God forbid if that happens, I’d be going into 2021 without having checked my breasts and that’s not good,” Perry said.
The mobile unit is equipped with 3D imaging technology. Scans are sent to the hospital and analyzed. Women learn the results within days.
Information about the mobile unit’s location and appointments are available at 844-EZ-MAMMO, but Dr. Margolies says if anyone happens to see the mobile mammography unit, don’t be shy.
“Maybe there will be a free appointment, you might not even need an appointment. No appointment, no prescription. You might just be able to get your mammogram,” Margolies said.
After 30 minutes, Perry checked “getting a mammogram” off her to-do list. She said it was quick, easy, and painless. The experience was almost identical to visiting the radiologist’s office.
“The only difference is that in the office, you’ll have tea and doughnuts. There were no tea or doughnuts here,” Perry said with a laugh.
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