‘Mammography in general saves lives’: McLeod Health introduces new mammography mobile unit

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:33 PM EST
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Getting a yearly mammogram is important for all women, and McLeod Health is helping in that mission with a new mobile unit.

McLeod Health’s mobile mammography has helped detect the first signs of breast cancer for many women, and one survivor shared how seeing the new unit is a full circle moment.

“I get very emotional having personally taken advantage of the mobile unit,” said Lynn Harrelson, a breast cancer survivor.

Almost three years later, it’s something Harrelson said she’ll never forget.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 after a visit to the mobile unit and went through surgery and radiation here at McLeod, so I’m always happy to help McLeod in any way we can,” she added.

McLeod first learned about the valuable resource in 2006 and saw the need for mobile mammography to detect the first signs of breast cancer.

The unit first hit the road in 2008, but wear and tear over time caused appointment cancellations.

Now, within the last year, the community has collectively raised more than $850,000 to make more screenings across the region possible with the new unit.

“With the help of the community to help purchase a second unit so that we can continue those travels because mobile mammography and mammography in general save lives,” said Jill Bramblett, executive director of McLeod Health Foundation.

The Medical Director of Breast Imaging, Dr. Shawn Conwell, said the second unit is such an important tool because, over the last 15 years, they have been able to screen thousands of women with just one unit on hand.

“So in that time frame we’ve screened over 36,000 women and to put that in perspective the entire population of Florence is about 39,000, so as a result of these screening efforts we’ve found over 165 cancers,” said Conwell.

Conwell mentioned that the importance of annual mammograms and early detection cannot be underscored enough, which is why he says the number one way to reduce deaths due to breast cancer is getting a yearly scheduled mammogram beginning at the age of 40.

As for survivors, watching the new unit continue serving many across the region, they say is a full circle moment.

“From diagnosis to treatment to remission to now hopefully helping more women in the area get diagnosed early so they can get treatment as quickly as possible,” said Harrelson.

The team at McLeod Health is set to begin services on the new mobile unit starting Wednesday.