Mobile unit brings prevention where it’s needed

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 09:00 PM

OXFORD – Early detection is the key to conquering breast cancer.

“Prevention through a healthy lifestyle and detection through screenings are keys to dealing with the disease,” said Lisa Harrison, director of the Granville-Vance District Health Department.

Early detection is the reason Rex Healthcare brought its new mobile mammography unit to Revlon in Oxford on Thursday. Twenty-six employees of the cosmetics company signed up to have a mammogram.

The visit by the mobile unit is part of a continuing relationship between Revlon and Rex Healthcare that began in 2005.

According to Amy Daniels, executive director of Rex Healthcare Foundation, Revlon is a major supporter of Rex Healthcare’s effort at early detection of breast cancer. Revlon sponsors a charity golf tournament each October, she said. Proceeds go to Rex Healthcare, and, since 2005, $1.6 million has been raised.

“Revlon organizes it,” Daniels said. “Revlon gets sponsors.”

The new mobile mammography unit is one outcome of a partnership that includes the Rex Healthcare Foundation, Revlon, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, Komen for the Cure-Triangle to the Coast and Hologic, a medical imaging systems manufacturer.

Bringing the mobile unit to a work site such as Revlon saves an employee half a day of sick leave it would take to go to a clinic or hospital for a breast screening.

“They walk out the door and go right to the unit,” Daniels said.

Wendy Avery, mobile mammography coordinator for Rex Healthcare, said a screening takes about 20 minutes.

Rex Healthcare files insurance claims for patients with coverage, Avery said. For those without health insurance, the cost of the mammogram is paid by the Komen Foundation.

If results of the screening show an irregularity, Rex Healthcare calls the individual to come for further screening, Avery said.

“A report is sent to their physician,” she said. “If a woman doesn’t have a doctor, we refer her to the health department. We help her get a medical home. We want to ensure that there is follow up.”

Nurse navigators are provided by Rex Healthcare to work with patients during the follow up.

“They explain the next step so the patients feel comfortable when they leave,” Avery said.

They explain the process to the patients and follow them through the course of treatment. Early treatment greatly increases a patient’s chance of overcoming the disease, she said.

Angela Harris, development officer with the foundation, said partnerships with companies like Revlon are important when the foundation seeks grant funds.

“It shows that other organizations support our work, partner with us in providing an important service,” she said. “It’s really hard to keep these units running. They’re very expensive, not money makers. These supporters are key to keeping us on the road.”

Bringing the unit to Revlon and other community locations provides a service many women might not otherwise get, Avery said.

“They have families, which come first,” she said. “Many of them wouldn’t take time off to take care of themselves.”

And that’s the beauty of the partnership that brought the screening to Revlon.

“The opportunity is there for anyone who wants to be screened,” Daniels said.

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.