Mobile mammography visits Peace, Fort Nelson regions

BC Cancer’s mobile mammography coach is visiting communities in the Peace and Fort Nelson regions in August and September.
The mobile mammography coach. (BC Cancer)

HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. — BC Cancer’s mobile mammography coach is visiting communities in the Peace and Fort Nelson regions in August and September.

The mobile coach stopped in Tumbler Ridge for a couple of days before spending a few days in Chetwynd. On September 1st and 2nd, the coach will be parked in Hudson’s Hope at Sigma Inn & Suites.

After Hudson’s Hope, the coachbe available in Fort Nelson on September 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th at Lakeview Inn & Suites.

To get screened at the mobile coach, call 1-800-663-9203 to book an appointment.

John Lowrie, mobile operations manager for the BC Cancer breast screening program, says the team has three vehicles that travel to around 170 rural or remote communities across the province, including about 40 Indigenous communities.

“Inside the vehicles, we have a state of the art digital screening mammography machines, and the coaches are wheelchair accessible,” Lowrie said.

“We have a fairly spacious waiting area, so patient comfort is always considered.”

The program is from 40 to 74 years old, and he said after 74, he recommends talking to a family doctor instead.

Women within that age range are usually screened every two years unless there is a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, such as a mother, daughter or sister. In that case, it is better to get screened annually.

The only times a woman is not eligible to be screened is if she has breast implants or has already been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The screening provided by the mobile units is free of charge and included within B.C.’s healthcare system.

Approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and it’s the most common cancer found in women in the province, with about 3,500 women receiving breast cancer diagnosis annually.

“Of course, the best thing to do is regular screening, either by herself or even better is with the mammography machines to find the breast cancer as early as possible before it even has the chance to spread,” Lowrie said.

He says the program is catching more breast cancer cases, and fewer women are dying from breast cancer.

The mobile operations manager said the mobile mammography conducts approximately 10 per cent of all screenings in British Columbia.

“A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast, and typically, we do four views in total, so two different pictures of each breast,” Lowrie explained.

“Once that’s completed, the images are sent to our Cancer Agency in Vancouver.”

In Vancouver, a team of radiologists will review the pictures to determine if further studies are needed, which could include additional views or an ultrasound, in which case, the patient will be notified.

For more information on where and when the mobile coach will be located, visit the clinic locator on BC Cancer’s website.


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