PHILADELPHIA — As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Penn Medicine will be providing free breast cancer screenings, no insurance required, to women in need over the age of 40. A Siemens Healthineers 54-foot-long mobile mammography unit featuring the company’s MAMMOMAT Revelation digital mammography system, accredited by the American College of Radiology, will roll into the West Lehigh neighborhood of North Philadelphia to offer 3D mammograms. Staff on the screening bus, located in the Save-A-Lot parking lot across from The Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School at 2101 W. Lehigh Ave., will provide individual 10-minute screening exams, a private changing room, and Spanish translation services. The screening event will be held on weekdays from Monday, Oct. 18 through Friday, Oct. 29, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Cancer disproportionately impacts lower socioeconomic groups and the medically underserved because they are unable to access cancer screening tests, and thus more likely to be diagnosed with late stage cancer,” Carmen Guerra, MD, Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania “This mobile mammography initiative is one of many efforts we have committed for engaging underserved communities with access to important healthcare resources and education.”
Only about half (54 percent) of breast cancers in Black women are diagnosed at an early stage, when they’re most likely to be treated successfully, compared to 64 percent of cancers detected early in white women. The delays have wide-reaching effects for survival: only 81 percent of Black women diagnosed with breast cancer live to five years after their diagnosis, compared to 91 percent among white women with the disease.
The Siemens Healthineers screening partnership adds to the Abramson Cancer Center’s suite of programs and efforts to eliminate disparities in cancer detection, care, and outcomes among low-income and minority communities. The Penn Medicine Breast Health Initiative, for instance, aims to boost rates of early detection and treatment through patient navigation and breast health education, help signing up for health insurance, language interpreters at appointments, and public transportation tokens to assist in getting to and from appointments. The Siemens Healthineers system allows women to receive a full 3D screening exam with technology designed to offer comfortable examinations with less compression.
Improving representation of minority patients in clinical trials is another important tactic to narrowing the gaps in cancer outcomes. A five-year community outreach and engagement effort by the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) – which included partnerships with faith-based organizations, community centers and health centers – doubled the percentage of Black participants in clinical trials, improving access and treatment for a group with historically low representation in cancer research and helping pave a path for more effective treatments and chances at a cure.
Penn Medicine radiologists will review all imaging taken during the mobile mammogram event and receive information and counseling for any further evaluation or care which may be needed. The event will include educational sessions for Murrell Dobbins students to learn about the importance of annual mammography, what it takes to become a certified imaging technician, and more about the field.
Registration is encouraged, but walk-ups are welcome. To register for a mammogram, please call 267-414-2205.
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.
Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.