Buddy Check 11: Mammograms on the Go


by Kelsey Starks


Posted on August 11, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 11 at 5:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In this month's Buddy Check 11 we're talking about the importance of mammograms. They are the most common way to detect an early stage breast cancer.  The James Graham Brown Cancer Center's mobile mammography unit travels throughout Kentuckiana year-round and it is saving lives.

Pamela Frisk had been getting regular and healthy mammograms for years when she unexpectedly lost her job and her healthcare.  That's when she started going to a doctor at the Iroquois Family Health Center and first visited the mobile mammography unit.

Inside it holds a lot more than you might think -- a state-of-the-art digital mammogram imaging machine, a private dressing room and office area. For Pam, it held unexpected news.

"They called me and asked me to come back because they saw something," she remembers from her visit last fall.  That something turned out to be a rare and slow-moving breast cancer that had already spread to her lymph nodes.

"I was surprised," she said.  "I was surprised because it doesn't run in my family.  That's what I wasn't expecting."

This moving unit can find a moving cancer fast. It visits places that may not have that kind of access.

"Bringing the van directly to the patients takes away barriers like access to transportation or getting time off work," Melissa Mather, a spokesperson for Metro Family Health Centers, said.  "It's right here and it's a seamless referral."

It could mean the difference between life and death; it did for Pamela.  After a double mastectomy and two rounds of chemotherapy, her doctors have a positive outlook for her and so does she.

"I'm very grateful," Pamela said.  "I'm very grateful because I was able to do something to save my life."

You can visit the James Graham Brown Cancer Center's mobile mammography unit at the Kentucky State Fair, which starts this Thursday. You can also find out more about who qualifies to get free screenings and other stops for the unit by clicking here