Trucks bring mammograms to women – even at work

Oct. 8, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Sanford Health.

Somehow, appointments seem to pile up on work calendars even faster than meetings do.

Routine medical exams, dental exams, vision exams – not just for you, but for your kids too. And that doesn’t count the times someone needs to see a specialist or your driver license must be renewed or your hairstylist has no evening openings.

Fitting in a mammogram amid all of that can be tough – even when you know how important breast cancer screening is.

Fortunately, Sanford Health’s 3D mammography trucks aim to make mammograms the easiest appointment you’ll have all year. It takes much less time than a lunch break. And they park conveniently right outside many workplaces.

“Businesses love it. It’s so convenient for the women,” said Lori Moelter, a radiology manager at Edith Sanford Breast Center who helps coordinate outreach sites. She works with interested businesses to find a date and time to come.

“We have a lot of places that have us come a couple times a year. It is a nice work-site wellness benefit to their employees.”

More women have begun to take advantage of the convenience, too, as co-workers spread the word, Moelter said.

“They love the fact that they can just get it done while they’re at work and not have to use vacation time.”

A waiting room, interview room, two dressing rooms and the mammography suite, with pocket doors separating each area, are all compacted into 38 feet of a truly mobile clinic that’s also handicap-accessible. The appointments typically take only 10 to 15 minutes.

But there’s no difference between a mammogram taken in a truck and one taken in the Edith Sanford Breast Center on the hospital campus. The truck’s unit uses the same technology. Mammogram technologists take the pictures and are able to look at previous mammograms in both places. Both places’ images are read by breast-fellowship-trained radiologists at the breast center. And the results are distributed in the same way: sent to the doctor you designate, sent to you in the mail and placed on My Sanford Chart if you’re a Sanford Health patient who accesses your medical records electronically. Insurance is billed the same way too.

Last year, the 3D mammography trucks served 4,700 patients – a number that seems likely to grow this year, according to Moelter. The busiest season runs from September through December.

Women are encouraged to make an appointment to get a mammogram in a truck by calling 605-312-3455. But walk-ins are certainly welcome too, Moelter said. If the truck is parked outside, a woman can stop in and make an appointment for later that day – or maybe get in right away, depending on the schedule.

Any woman age 40 or older – or possibly earlier with a family history of breast cancer – is recommended to have an annual mammogram. The truck is for breast cancer screening of women without symptoms because it doesn’t have a radiologist on-site to read diagnostic results right away like the Edith Sanford Breast Center does. The results of the mammograms taken on the trucks are read the following business day. If a woman does notice any possible symptoms or problems, she should talk with her doctor.

Sanford Health sends two 3D mammography trucks out every weekday in the Sioux Falls region. They may reach small towns as far away as three hours and extend into Minnesota and Iowa as well. In addition to businesses and events such as health fairs, trucks park outside of hospitals and clinics if the facilities themselves aren’t able to offer the highly regulated and inspected technology. Trucks may spend all day at one site or travel to one site in the morning and another in the afternoon.

“We feel like it’s a very important part of what we do, to reach out to other communities and health fairs and businesses and just try to reach those people that maybe wouldn’t have a mammogram done if we didn’t come to them and make it convenient,” Moelter said.

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Trucks bring mammograms to women – even at work

“Businesses love it. It’s so convenient for the women.” Think you’re too busy for a mammogram? This makes it simple.

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