WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Limited access, little or no insurance, too little time to devote to your own health are some of the excuses women make for not getting their annual mammograms. Removing all of those excuses is a health clinic on wheels serving the District, Maryland and Virginia. It's the GW Mobile Mammography Van, better known as the Mammovan.
With 17 years in service, the GW-MFA Mobile Mammography program is one of the oldest in the country. The Mammovan makes healthcare accessible by showing up at a parking lot or street in your neighborhood, even your job.
Mammovan driver Bernard Sprowl told us, "We're are on the road 4-days a week, not on holidays or in bad weather."
That adds up to about 200 days a year. Since 1996, more than 36,000 women have been screened on the van and 125 breast cancers have been detected.
Antoinette Vallier was uninsured when she was screened on the van in April 2009. Before that, her last mammogram was in 2002.
"I'm here because the van was in Hyattsville that day," said Vallier. "...and it did save my life because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford a mammogram."
Getting screened on the Mammovan was Step 1. Because Antoinette's exam found an abnormality, she had to proceed to Step 2: a follow-up visit to GW Breast Imaging for a biopsy.
Karen Marino, Executive Coordinator of the GW Mobile Mammography Program, explained that Vallier didn't have the money for it but they reached out to a foundation and she helped fill out paper work for the MD Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment Program. Vallier has been getting treatment since then.
Vallier says, "Now I'm able to see my oncologist on a regular basis; I'm able to get my hormone treatments every month..."
To mark the 20th anniversary of Buddy Check 9, WUSA 9 is bringing the GW-MFA Mammovan outside Broadcast House. Thursday morning, October 10th, the Mammovan will be parked on 43rd Street, NW near Van Ness to see patients who've signed up for a mammogram. Haven't made your appointment yet? There's still time to do so. Call today at 202-741-3252.
Get Active, get Screened and after you've called, remind your Buddies to do the same.