Sussex County and state officials gathered at the Circle in Georgetown on Friday to check out the state's Mobile Health Screening Van, operated by the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, which offers screening mammograms and breast health information.
While the van does not offer any diagnostic services, Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Executive Director Vicky Cooke emphasized that the digital equipment on the van is as up to date as any standing facility.
Cooke said the importance of the mobile van is to reach those in need of screenings or information who otherwise may not be capable of visiting a clinic or hospital offering screening services.
"We can reach the women in this state who are unable to get to a standing facility," Cooke said. "It addresses the barriers some women face in getting screened."
The van operates about four days a week and travels throughout the entire state, generally visiting one site per day, Cooke said. Last year, the van screened about 800 women, and Cooke said she expects this year's total screenings to reach 900 Delawareans.
Melany Sammons, DBCC Women Mobile Health Screening program coordinator, said that having a screening van available for more rural areas like Georgetown offers a valuable service to break barriers of screening accessibility for the area's residents.
"We're able to bring the screening facility to the clients, for those who are uninsured or underinsured," she said.
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) agreed that accessibility is the most valuable trait of the state's Mobile Health Screening Van.
"In this case, for folks who don't have access, we can bring those services right to their door," Carper said.
Carper also mentioned that screening is a way for people to not only save money on medical care, but to also avoid more complicated health issues.
"Early detection and intervention is the best way to increase cancer survival rates, particularly when it comes to breast cancer," Carper said in a prepared press release. "When breast cancer is detected and treated early, the survival rate is more than 90 percent. That's why I'm proud of our state's efforts to increase access to preventive care and make these services affordable for everyone."
"The costs of health care in America are far greater than any other developed nation," he said during his visit to Georgetown on Friday. "We have to find out what works and one of the things that works is mammogram screening, also screenings for prostate cancer and colon cancer. We're saving an enormous amount of money and a lot of pain and suffering."