The Mobile Digital Mammography unit outside the 100 Mile District General Hospital. (Max Winkelman - 100 Mile Free Press)

Free breast cancer screening in 100 Mile House until Feb. 13

Mobile unit is one of three servicing more than 170 rural communities

BC Cancer’s breast cancer screening coach is in 100 Mile House until Feb. 13.

So far 191 women have signed up for screening but with about 290 spots available they’re looking to fill more, according to Mobile Operations Manager John Lowrie.

The mobile vehicle it’s sort of like an RV coach with a fully functional clinic inside and a state of the art digital mammography system, says Lowrie.

“When they come on board they’ll be welcomed by one of the two technologists that works on the vehicles. They’ll fill out some paperwork and questionnaires and then they’ll be taken into the examination room where they’ll have a mammogram done. So there’ll be an x-ray done of both breasts and then when they leave they’ll be told that they’ll receive a letter in the mail of the result within a week or two.”

Typically about seven per cent have a suspicious finding, he says.

“We would then send those people on for further diagnostic tests like a more zoomed-in mammogram or an ultrasound. Typically, those are nothing, maybe a cyst or something like that and no further action is required and return to screening. But in the cases where they do find something… a lump or something like that needs to be treated then they would, of course, go on to some kind of cancer program.”

Approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and it’s the most common type of cancer found in women in B.C. with around 3,500 women receiving a breast cancer diagnosis each year.

You don’t need a doctor’s referral, says Lowrie.

“This service is available for all women in British Columbia that 40 of age and older.”

Over 80 per cent of all new breast cancers diagnosed each year are in women 50 years of age or older, he says.

There are no costs associated with the screening (but a BC Services Card is required).

It is recommended that women age 40 to 74 who have a mother, daughter or sister with breast cancer receive a mammogram every year. Women age 40 to 74 without a family history of breast cancer should schedule a mammogram every two years.

The unit is offering screenings from Feb. 3 to 8 and Feb. 10 to 13. They take walk-ins but they prefer people make an appointment by calling 1-800-663-9203.

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