LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Every year a mobile mammogram screening center operated from an RV makes its way around Jefferson County and surrounding areas to make sure women 40 and up have access to an initial mammogram screening. 

What You Need To Know

  • An RV in the Louisville area is performing mammograms of women 40 and up

  • UofL's Brown Cancer Center and the Kentucky Cancer Program partner to operate the screening center each year

  • The mammograms are free for those who don't have insurance and are income qualified

  • Funds are available to cover treatments if the screenings reveal anything

“Many women will forgo getting a mammogram if there’s any barriers at all,” said Pam Temple-Jennings, a cancer control specialist with Kentucky Cancer Program, which partners with UofL Brown Cancer Center to bring this mobile mammogram screening unit to women in the community. The point is to help eliminate barriers to accessing a mammogram, like work conflicts or transportation and childcare issues.

“Women age 40 and over should receive a mammogram every year. Insurance will pay for it, and the reason for that is mammograms can detect a breast cancer long before it can be felt, and so the sooner that breast cancer is found, the more treatment options there is available and then the better the prognosis,” Jennings told Spectrum News 1. 

Insurance can be another barrier, Jennings said, so the mammogram is free for those who don’t have insurance and are income qualified.

“So there’s really no excuse why a woman shouldn’t be getting a mammogram,” Jennings said.

The mammograms are offered for women 40 and up, and the mobile screening unit travels to places like churches and community centers to offer screenings, specifically in Black and Latino communities.

“And we see especially in the African-American community, we have more women being diagnosed with breast cancer and particularly dying from breast cancer, and it’s because of these barriers that we are talking about. So that was the big reason to get a mobile unit into those communities,” Jennings explained.

Annually, the mobile unit screens over 3,000 women. Registered Nurse Virginia Bradford said she gets her mammogram yearly via the mobile screening unit. She is also the Community Outreach Coordinator with the organization Kentucky African Americans Against Cancer, which is part of the UofL Brown Cancer Center. Bradford helped bring the mobile mammogram screening unit Saturday to her church, Forest Tabernacle Baptist Church in Louisville’s Newburg neighborhood. 

“We just want to make sure that all people, all of our women understand how important it is to be screened annually,” Bradford said. “Education is the key but prevention and early detection is actually how you can survive the cancer.”

If something is found from a screening, Jennings said with the Kentucky Women’s Cancer Screening Program, there are funds available for those who qualify to cover treatment.

The Society of Breast Imaging suggests scheduling routine mammogram screenings prior to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or 4-6 weeks following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine because, according to the society’s website, vaccines of all types can result in temporary swelling of the lymph nodes, which may be a sign that the body is making antibodies from the vaccine.

The Mobile Cancer Screening RV currently has events (see schedule below) to give women 40 and up a mammogram screening until April 20, 2021 at various locations around the Louisville area. Services are offered to women with and without health insurance. There is no cost for the mammogram screening to program eligible women without insurance. Call (502) 852-6318 for information or to schedule an appointment.