ORLANDO, Fla. – There’s a new way to get your mammogram this Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- on a bus.
Tracy Mowatt made her first appointment from the parking lot of Grace Medical Home.
“I could get a mammogram and I've never had one before, so I'm going to take the opportunity out and make sure I'm OK," Mowatt said.
Mowatt had struggled to find payment options for a mammogram screening, until she heard about the bus. The Florida Hospital Cancer Care Fund provides the necessary financial support for women in need, and uninsured women have access to free mammograms. To qualify for the fund, women must apply.
"I think it's wonderful, because there are so many women out there that don't have insurance or don't have money and they're giving free mammograms, I mean I feel like everybody should line up and get one," Mowatt said.
Jennifer Perez agreed, saying the “Mammo Bus” may have even saved her life.
"One day the mammogram bus was at my work, first time it had ever been there, and I was like well I kind of don't have an excuse anymore," Perez said.
The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40-44 have the option to start mammograms, and 45-54 get an annual screening.
Perez said she had just turned 40 and didn’t have a family history of cancer. She felt too busy to schedule a mammogram, until it was available at her job.
"They found something concerning,” Perez said.
“They kept calling me until I got in for an appointment to find out that I did have breast cancer.”
Perez’s doctors caught the cancer and she has been in remission for three years.
"We need to get it out there and get it known that this bus is available for people to come and get mammograms," Mowatt said.
Medical teams with Florida Hospital said one of the ongoing challenges is making mammograms available at hours and locations that are convenient for women. This September and October, the “Mammo bus” will be parked at local Centra Cares. The team estimates it will screen 300 additional women this year with these expanded services.
Screening mammograms are a covered service with all insurance plans without a required copay or deductible or out of pocket expense for the patient.
The screening mammogram $30 fee is only for the month of October for uninsured women at any FRi location, including the mobile events of the mobile mammography unit at the Centra Care locations.
More information about the fund can be found at Florida Hospital for Women.