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Mobile unit aims to make mammograms more convenient, reduce travel barriers

The Mercy Health Mamm Van visits several locations in northwest Ohio to make screenings more convenient.

TOLEDO, Ohio — We all know we're supposed to be keeping up on preventative health screenings, but for some it's not so easy. 

"We know that early detection is key in both treating and surviving breast cancer," says Stephanie Gunderman with Mercy Health. 

She's the Mobile Mammography Outreach Coordinator and says nationally, only about 65 percent of women who are eligible for mammograms receive one. 

Here's where the mobile "Mamm Van" comes in. 

"What we do is travel around the community making it more convenient for women to get their mammograms, eliminating some of those barriers that women face such as access and location," Gunderman.

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The Mamm Van sets up shop Tuesday through Friday in various places around northwest Ohio. That includes several locations in Toledo, plus Swanton, Oregon and Waterville.

"By us going out into the Swanton area we're getting more of a rural community," Gunderman said. "When we head out to Point Shoreland it's closer for individuals within the community as opposed to driving into the city."

The Mamm Van set out in February. Gunderman says numbers were low at first, but it's starting to get busier.

That's the case for preventative care in general during the pandemic.

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"Recently we are seeing our screening rates go up and all of our screening site facilities are back to working their pre-pandemic schedules," Gunderman said.

Patients are encouraged to register for an appointment for the Mamm Van, but walk-ins won't be denied. Women over 40 don't need an order from their doctor. Those under 40 will need an order from their doctor. 

Gunderman says the process is easy and takes less than 20 minutes.

"When I take the patient calls in order to get them scheduled it's amazing to see they're excited about it and happy to have it serve the community and happy to have it come close to where they're located," Gunderman said.

Financial assistance is available by calling 419-696-5839. If you are interested, call 833-MAMM-VAN (833-626-6826.)

To view the full list of dates and locations, click here.