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Upstate rolls out mammography van to boost breast cancer screenings in region

Ribbon-cutting event for the mammogram


SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Upstate University Hospital will roll out its new mammogram van aimed at ensuring easy access to life-saving mammograms for woman who live in eight Central and Northern New York counties: Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, Madison, Oswego and St. Lawrence.

The van, funded by a New York State Department of Health grant, is part of Gov. Cuomo’s “No Excuses, Get Screened” Breast Cancer Initiative, which is aimed at getting rid of obstacles to breast cancer screening for women in New York.

The average rate for screening mammography in New York is 81 percent. The governor’s initiative is to increase screening rates by 10 percent over the next five years.

Upstate Medical University Interim President Mantosh Dewan, MD, said Upstate is proud to partner with New York state on this life-saving initiative.

“Upstate shares with the governor the mission of creating healthier communities for New York state,” said Dewan. “The state’s support for this Mammography Van, will help Upstate do its part help realize the goal set out by the governor, which is to increase statewide breast cancer screening rates by 10 percent in the next five years.”

“Building off of New York's successful ‘Get Screened, No Excuses’ campaign to promote breast cancer screenings statewide, we are continuing to double down on our efforts and invest in services to expand access and save lives,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “We want to ensure that mammograms and cancer screenings are available for all New Yorkers, and this new mobile mammography unit will expand access to individuals in upstate communities. We are committed in investing in programs and resources to make sure everyone has access to affordable, quality screenings across the state.”

Upstate University Hospital Chief Executive Officer Robert Corona, DO, MBA, said the Mammography Van will extend Upstate’s clinical reach beyond its Syracuse campus. “This van will extend our life-saving breast cancer screening far beyond Syracuse,” he said. “Wherever our highways and byways take us, we’ll be there to ensure all women in this region have access to this important cancer screening technology.”

The Mammography Van spans 45-feet and is equipped with a state-of-the art 3D digital mammogram system, private exam and dressing room and a waiting room.

The 3D digital mammography system (breast tomosynthesis) combines multiple breast X-rays to create a multi-dimensional image of the breast to better detect abnormalities. Screenings are done by certified mammography technologists and images will be read by Upstate radiologists specializing in women’s imaging. Readings are expected to be completed within 10 days of the mammogram. Upstate physicians will work with doctors and hospitals in all counties served by the mammogram should follow-up care for the patient be needed. Appointments are expected to take about 20 to 25 minutes.

To be eligible for the mammogram on the van, women should:

—be 40 years and older

—not have had a mammogram in the past 12 months

—not be experiencing breast problems

The van will visit various locations starting in June across Central and Northern New York, often partnering with municipalities and other organizations that provide space to host the mammography van screenings. Kinney Drugs is partnering with the van to make mammograms available at many of its Upstate stores.

The van is also available to corporations, businesses and other institutions, like universities, that may want to offer mammograms to their employees. 

“The importance of ensuring that women have access to breast cancer screening is underscored by the wonderful support our partners throughout Central and Northern New York are providing by giving us the opportunity to bring the Mammography Van to many locations in this region,” said Wendy Hunt, program manager for the Mammography Van. “We will go to wherever women are who need this important service. With the Mammography Van, there will be no excuses to get screened.”

A complete list of locations and dates and is available at: https://www.upstate.edu/mobile-mammography/request-appt.php

To schedule an appointment for a mammogram with the mobile unit, women should call 315-464-2582. Appointments can also be made online at: http://www.upstate.edu/mobile-mammography/

Mammogram facts

A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast.

Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram. Screening mammograms usually involve two or more x-ray pictures, or images, of each breast. The x-ray images often make it possible to detect tumors that cannot be felt. Screening mammograms can also find microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.

One in six breast cancers occur in women aged 40 to 49. That is why it is important that women at average risk for breast cancer start annual screening mammograms at age 40.  

Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly 40 percent since 1990.

3/4 of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk.

Even for women over 50, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss up to 30 percent of cancers.