Sentara 3D mammography van returns to service in Glen Allen

Mobile healthcare brings convenient, early detection screenings to underserved community...
Mobile healthcare brings convenient, early detection screenings to underserved community members and local businesses.(Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center)
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 6:05 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - After a two-year break due to challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center has announced the continuation of its 3D mammography van in surrounding areas.

Serving the community since 2012, the 3D mammography van has become a significant resource for rural and underserved communities.

The Sentara 3D mammography van plans to make its first stop in Glen Allen, Virginia, on Thursday, March 30.

“Helping ensure more equitable access to healthcare in our communities is a priority throughout Sentara Healthcare, and we’re working with many community partners and organizations to increase access for the diverse populations in our region,” said Alice Tang, DO, MPH, MBA, vice president and chief medical officer at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. “At Sentara, we want to give people the access they need with cultural humility when they need it and where it makes the most sense for them.”

Patients receiving care from the van will receive medical attention with the same state-of-the-art technology inside a Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. Patients can access private dressing rooms, central air/heating, and a platform step for safe entry.

The van will offer 3D mammography screenings, which have become the current standard of care for breast cancer detection. The process allows medical professionals to locate tumors sooner than traditional 2D mammograms.

“We know that detecting breast cancer early, before it has spread, saves lives,” said Melissa Botelho, manager of radiology at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. “By coming into the community or directly to a workplace, the mobile mammography van will bring screening services to those who might not otherwise get this necessary care.”

“The mobile mammography team is committed to organizing as many screening events as possible to underserved areas and businesses in Northern Virginia throughout the year,” added Botelho.

The Sentara 3D mammography van can schedule up to 20 mammography appointments daily. Mammograms will be available to all individuals with or without insurance. Patients with health insurance can provide information in advance over the phone and on-site, and patients who are uninsured or underinsured are welcome to complete an application to qualify for financial assistance.

Sentara plans to continue to work with community organizations and local businesses throughout the community and will be available for special events Monday through Friday. The 3D Mammography Van has visited multiple local companies in Northern Virginia to spread awareness and provide screenings, including Microsoft, Raytheon, and GEICO.

“You just never know who you’re going to reach whenever you go out into the community,” said Tracie Mayhew, Sentara mobile mammography driver and coordinator. “We had one patient who had a mammogram with us that lead to the discovery of her breast cancer. She was able to get a mastectomy before the cancer advanced, and she credits her screening with saving her life. She returns to visit us every time we’re in the area to thank us and spread the news about timely mammograms. It’s a great reminder of the difference we make.”

Based on the Sentara Cancer Network’s screening guidelines, a woman should start receiving an annual mammogram at the age of 40. Earlier screenings are recommended for those with a family history of breast cancer or other related concerns.

Last year, Sentara Healthcare provided nearly 17,000 mammograms and spread awareness to more than 2,800 community members during prevention and early detection events held across Virginia and North Carolina.

Click here for more information about Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center or mobile mammography services.