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Mammograms offered to staff, students

Alicia Smith | Thursday, March 25, 2010

 Encouraging women to have their yearly mammogram performed, Saint Mary’s College will offer the Mobile Mammogram Unit from St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

The unit will be available to perform mammograms from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday, Debby Kelly, director of Human Resources at the College, said. 
The unit will be located in the parking lot between the Student Center and McCandless Hall.
“It’s a unit that travels around in the local area, and they go to local businesses and they allow women to come there and get their annual mammograms,” Kelly said. “What makes it really nice is it’s really convenient for people who work here because they don’t have to leave their job and travel to the doctor’s office or the hospital to have the test. They can just walk right over to the unit.”
Kelly said the unit resembles a tour bus but had the necessary equipment to perform mammograms.
According to Kelly, this is the second year the unit has visited campus, and the College plans to continue to offer this opportunity once per semester.
“I think we’re going to plan to have them come twice a year, every year … That way, you know usually people are supposed to have their mammograms once a year, and that way they can just schedule and have them here,” she said. “It’s just really convenient.”
A yearly mammogram is recommended for women ages 40 and up in order to be proactive about breast cancer, Kelly said
“The mammogram, what it does is it analyzes the breasts of the women and the purpose is to detect breast cancer,” Kelly said. “They’re taking X-rays of your breast and they can detect cancer way in advance of when you might be able to feel it if you were doing a self-examination.”
Kelly said although students are invited to make an appointment if they feel the need, mainly faculty and staff will utilize the unit.
“I think it’s important for every woman who reaches age 40 [to start] getting them annually because like with any cancer if they detect it earlier, the odds of being able to treat it and have the woman survive are much greater the earlier you catch it,” she said.
According to Kelly, faculty and staff will only have a $15 co-pay with the College’s insurance plan. Kelly said students should inquire about pricing when making an appointment due to differences in medical insurance. 
“There is a cost associated with it,” Kelly said. “It’s not something the College is paying for, but it would be covered by insurance, so if a student has health insurance and they are eligible and their insurance provides for mammograms then they could certainly make an appointment.”
Women interested in obtaining a mammogram on the mobile unit should call 574-247-5400 to schedule an appointment.
“Women really are encouraged to have the mammograms annually,” Kelly said. “So if they’re not able to take advantage of the mobile unit here, I still encourage them to get their mammograms.”