Mammography center to roll through Vicksburg

Published 11:28 am Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Doctors recommend examinations of the breasts to detect the presence of cancer once women reach the age of 40.

“It’s extremely important to start screenings at age 40 to create a baseline of comparison for the remainder of your medical history,” said Cathleen Bates, assistant director of mammography and the mobile program of Charlotte Radiology.

For the past two years, Belk has partnered with Charlotte Radiology out of Charlotte N.C., and traveled the southeast in a mobile mammography center.

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The 39-foot-long, screening center will stop in Vicksburg Aug. 18 at Pemberton Square Blvd. from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. performing free mammogram screenings. Licensed female mammography-certified technologist will perform all screenings and a board-certified radiologist, who specializes in breast imaging, will interpret the mammograms.

Women must be at least 40 years old, have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months and have a primary care physician. Confidential results will be sent to the patient and her primary physician.

It’s important to get regular screening as symptoms and warning signs don’t always occur.

“It can be silent, that’s why you need to have a mammogram. Self-breasts exams are key to feel any breast changes such as lumps and bumps,” Bates said. “Other than that, screening is the only tool you’re going to know if there’s any changes going on in your breasts because not all breast cancers present as a lump.”

Women getting a mammogram for the first time can help lessen the discomfort of the screening by decreasing caffeine intake weeks before screenings, which will help reduce tenderness.

Belk has performed over 7,400 mammograms and diagnosed 30 women in two years of operation.

Bates said the women who were diagnosed with breast cancer through their program, are being treated and doing very well.

“It can affect so many lives and not necessarily the patient. This involves family and friends. Breast cancer is definitely an evil entity that affects multiple people,” Bates said.

Ricky Smith, store manager of Vicksburg’s location, is excited about the mobile mammography center. Smith said Belk donates to the Susan G. Komen foundation and established a partnership with Wacoal to donate money at a dedicated fitting later in the year.

This is the first time Belk’s mobile mammography center has stopped through Vicksburg.

“I’m looking for a great turnout,” Smith said. “It’s best to call in advance so that you can be prescreened and have a set time. If they have openings available, they will take walk-ups. To ensure you get a spot it’s best to call in advance and get a precertification, prescreening and an appointment for that day.”

Smith hopes women will come in for screenings, and personally knows how early detection can save family and friends from the grief of losing the fight to breast cancer.

“Early detection is key. There are so many advances they’ve made with fighting breast cancer that the earlier you get out there the better chance you have,” Smith said.

“We have the means to fight breast cancer. We just got to make sure we educate people and get them to go do those things. Go and have those mammograms done and get checked. The earlier the detection the better.”

Call 855-655-2662 to schedule an appointment.