WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Start the New Year off right. Remember early detection and lifestyle changes are just as important in 2014 as they were last year in the fight against breast cancer. But if you're a woman with limited access, little or no insurance, or too little time to devote to your own health, The GW Mobile Mammography Van will come to you to help you keep your breast health resolution.
The idea for a Mammovan originated with the Prevent Cancer Foundation which has provided millions to design and purchase the vans and millions more in subsidies for free mammograms.
Seventeen years ago, the Prevent Cancer Foundation launched the GW-MFA Mobile Mammography Program. It is one of the oldest programs in the country.The Mammovan makes healthcare accessible showing up at a parking lot or street in your neighborhood, even your job.
Mammovan driver Bernard Sprowl told us, "We are on the road four days a week, not on holidays or in bad weather."
That adds up to about 200 days a year. Since 1996, more than 36,000 women have been screened on the van and 125 breast cancers have been detected.
Antoinette Vallier told us, "The van just saved my life." Vallier was uninsured when she was screened on the van in Hyattsvillein April 2009. Before that, her last mammogram was in 2002.
She continued, "...and it did save my life because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford a mammogram."
Getting screened on the Mammovan was Step 1. Because Vallier's exam found an abnormality, she had to proceed to Step 2. That was a follow-up visit to GW Breast Imaging for a biopsy.
Thanks to the program, Vallier told us, "Now I'm able to see my oncologist on a regular basis; I'm able to get my hormone treatments every month..."
If you're a woman who would like an appointment to get your mammogram on the Mammovan, please call 202-741-3252.
The Mammovan is both handicapped and wheelchair-accessible.