MOREHEAD CITY — With their busy schedules, it can be difficult for school employees to find the time for an annual breast cancer screening.
County school system nurse Susan Wainwright wanted to make sure employees were able to get their screenings, and for the second consecutive year arranged for a mobile 3-D mammography unit to visit county schools last week to coincide with teacher workdays.
“I am aware of several women employees that have been diagnosed with breast cancer this past year. We are trying to promote health and wellness with our employees by encouraging regular doctors’ wellness exams,” Ms. Wainwright said Wednesday.
She added that many of the school system’s employees are teacher assistants or office workers who drive buses, making it even more difficult to take time off for medical appointments.
“By bringing the 3-D mobile mammogram unit to their areas, employees can schedule a time during their lunchtime or planning period to walk out to the mobile unit,” Ms. Wainwright said.
The mammography bus, operated by Invision Diagnostics of Morganton, set up Wednesday at West Carteret High School and Tuesday at East Carteret High School.
School employees could preregister for the screenings and walk into the unit, which was set up in the schools’ parking lots, for a quick screening with no wait time. Results will be read by a board-certified radiologist employed with Invision Diagnostics, with results sent to each employee’s private health care provider.
Those screened also receive a letter informing them of the results within 30 days.
Newport Elementary School teacher assistant and bus driver Beth Henry was among those taking advantage of the free service Wednesday at West Carteret.
“It was convenient for me because it was offered on a teacher workday,” Ms. Henry said. “I didn’t have to wait at the doctor’s office. I’m glad that they offered this and it’s a free service I can take advantage of. This was my first year doing this through the school system, but I will definitely be back.”
Ashley Taylor, mammography assistant with Invision Diagnostics, said about 35 school employees were seen over the two-day period in the 37-feet unit.
She said the unit travels across the state to a variety of businesses, churches, school districts and events to provide the service to communities. The vehicle contains a 3-D mammography machine, a bone density machine, a changing room and a reception area.
While she and mammography technician Lisa Coleman travel the state five days a week, Ms. Taylor said the importance of their mission makes the effort well worth the time away from home.
“It’s very important for women to get their screenings, especially if they have family members who have had breast cancer,” she said.
Invision Diagnostics office manager Courtney Palmer said that over the past two years the company has conducted 11,250 exams across the state, with some screenings resulting in the discovery of breast cancer.
“We do a lot of events and that’s a good thing because we have helped catch breast cancer early,” Ms. Palmer said.
She added that she especially enjoys helping schools.
“We love servicing school systems. I like helping teachers out,” she said.
Dr. Sue Kreuser, director of student support services, healthful living and English learners with the county school system, said she plans to continue to bring the unit back each year.
“The possibility of catching breast cancer in the early stages can make a significant difference in the well being of our staff members. Equally as valuable is the peace of mind for the vast majority of women who receive good news after a mammogram,” Dr. Kreuser said.
“We hope to continue to offer this service to our employees during the August and January workshop days,” Dr. Kreuser continued. “We are grateful to Invision Diagnostics for offering their services.”
Ms. Palmer said the unit can be scheduled for visits by calling 877-318-1349. For more information about the service, call the above number or go to invisiondiagnostics.com.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.