By Kelsey Givens
Working its way from town to town, the Nevada Health Centers’ Mammovan is bringing mammograms to women in need of greater access to this life-saving exam, and will make a stop in Pahrump next week.
“The mission of the Mammovan is to provide mammograms to women where they live, where they work and to make it accessible to them for yearly screenings,” Blanca Ayala, a community outreach partner for NVHC, said.
Health care experts currently recommend women over 40 receive a mammogram once a year.
The Mammovan, a mobile clinic the size of a semi-truck, travels to areas all over the state. Whether they are under-insured or just need an exam in a location closer to home, the van helps those who otherwise may not have sought out these vital services.
“We travel from one corner of the state to the other, and we try to make annual trips around the same time so we ensure each woman is getting the screening she needs,” Ayala said.
NVHC has secured grants from sources like the Susan G. Komen for the Cure southern and northern affiliates, The David and Linda Shaheen Foundation, Smith’s Food & Drug Stores, Inc., the Safeway Foundation, The National Breast Cancer Foundation, The Caesar’s Foundation and others to fund its services.
Not only do these grants help bring the van to under-served locations, they also allow the program to provide free mammograms to those who cannot afford them.
The Mammovan currently sees both insured and uninsured women over the age of 40 who haven’t had a mammogram in the last 12 months.
Patients can be self-referred, meaning they don’t need to have a doctor’s referral to schedule an appointment, and can have results sent either to their health care provider or themselves when the results are ready.
Those in need of grant services are asked to bring proof of income, proof of address and proof of dependents in their households with them to their appointment.
Ayala said anyone with an income under 200 percent of the poverty line will be placed under the Mammovan’s grant and receive a no-cost exam.
By making these services more accessible to more women in communities throughout Nevada, the hope is more women will benefit from catching breast cancer early should it develop.
“I would encourage women to encourage their friends and family to get in for a yearly mammogram. Early detection does save lives,” Ayala said. “The key to detecting breast cancer at an early stage is getting a yearly mammogram. It takes 15 minutes and that’s it. And the women get their results in two weeks.”
The Mammovan will be in the community on Monday and Tuesday outside of the Bob Ruud Community Center from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. each day.
Though walk-ins are accepted, Ayala said she would strongly recommend making an appointment to ensure an exam.
NVHC is still taking appointment reservations for both days, but times are filling up quickly.
For more information on this program, or to schedule an exam while the Mammovan is here next week, patients can call 877-581-6266.