Missouri congressman pushing for more "mammovans" in rural Missouri
FULTON - U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer is pushing for legislation that could offer more mobile mammogram services to rural communities in Missouri.
In honor of breast cancer awareness month, Nurse Karen Backes with the Ellis Fischel Cancer Screening Center said it's important for women in rural communities to know the service, known as a "mamm van" is an option for them.
"They get the same care that they do in house," Backes said. "And it comes to them."
Backes added for individuals dealing with financial circumstances, or transportation challenges, the "mamm van" brings the option of cancer prevention services closer to their doorstep.
"People tell me, I would never have gotten a mammogram had you not come to us," she said.
She said the mammogram van sees up to 23 patients a day with one patient coming in every 15 minutes.
A study from the American Cancer Society found the State of Missouri has registered 5,350 cases of breast cancer in women in 2019, with 860 deaths connected to breast cancer.
Breast cancer screenings on the mammogram van include clinical breast exams, mammogram screenings and breast cancer education all in 30 minute visits.
Backes said she's fortunate to be able to empower and serve these women who are not given as many opportunities for this service.
"Someone out in the rural areas knows that someone cares, someone's going to come to them, and I think that's really important."
Backes said the Ellis Fischel mammogram van travels throughout mid-Missouri visiting businesses, and health centers in hopes to reach individuals in rural communities.
According to the MU Health Care website, individuals can schedule their next mammogram appointment with the mammogram van by calling (573) 884 - 4082 or by reaching out to the local rural health department or Ellis Fischel Cancer Center the van's next destination.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website suggests various ways women can prevent breast cancer.
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Increase physical activity
- Maintain a healthy weight for your body type
You can find the mamm van schedule on MU Health Care website.