St. Barnabas Hospital fights breast cancer on the road

St. Barnabas Hospital’s mammogrpahy van
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

The doctors at St. Barnabas Hospital are working to fight breast cancer both on and off the hospital’s campus.

During the month of October Bronx residents may see St. Barnabas’ mammography van at different locations throughout the Bronx.

According to Dr. Daphne Roitberg, director of breast imaging at St. Barnabas, the purpose of the van is to “go out into the community” and “offer a larger service to people.”

The van includes a waiting area in the front equipped with a TV which is used to show videos on how to do proper self-breast exams.

In addition, on the right of the bus there is an examination room equipped with an exam table and hand sanitizer.

The back of the bus looks more like a small doctor’s office. In main room sits the mammography machine in addition to a screen for the technologist to view the images.

The van will appear at the behest of groups such as community-based organizations, houses of worship and senior centers.

In addition, residents can schedule an appointment with the van if they need to see it on weekends.

Roitberg added the van is hooked up to the hospital network. Therefore any person who gets checked at the mammography van will then be entered into the hospital system.

In addition, anyone requiring treatment following the mammography exam will receive treatment at St. Barnabas regardless of whether or not they have insurance.

“There are many barriers that keep women from understanding the warning signs and being regularly screened and treated for breast cancer – financial, communication and information, medical, and fear,” said Dr. Bert M. Petersen, Jr., director of the Breast Surgery Clinic at St.Barnabas Hospital. “It’s all about early detection…early detection…early detection, which is why making the screening easily accessible, bringing the screening to them, is so important. But part of our job is also making sure that those women whose require follow- up are contacted by phone and mail to make sure they receive (the results).”

Roitberg also discussed the importance of getting a mammogram at an earlier age.

“It’s shown to decrease mortality from breast cancer,” she said. “Basically the purpose of screening mammography is to catch the cancer at an early stage.”

“When you do that,” she added, “you’re reducing mortality rates and morbidity rates. That’s the bottom line.”

Roitberg said it is important when women turn 40 to begin getting yearly mammograms.

She added if women sense a problem before that age the should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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