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Siteman Cancer Center unveils new, state-of-the-art mammography van

The new Siteman Cancer Center Mammography Van. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr. The new Siteman Cancer Center Mammography Van. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

Mobile mammography services continue to move forward in the St. Louis region with unveiling of Siteman Cancer Center’s new mammography van.

Equipped with high-resolution 3-D digital technology, the van provides the same advanced imaging that patients receive at Siteman’s four St. Louis area mammography clinics. Washington University radiologists who specialize in breast imaging read all Siteman mammograms, whether the exam takes place in the van or at a clinic.

“Mammography is known to reduce a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer by an estimated 30-40 percent or more,” said Catherine Appleton, MD, chief of breast imaging at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “But it matters where you receive your mammogram. Our team of physicians specializes in comprehensive breast imaging, and our van delivers that lifesaving expertise to women throughout the region.”

The 40-foot van is the fourth in three decades for Siteman Cancer Center.

In 2015, the mammography van served nearly 4,000 women at more than 100 sites:

  • 1,287 women at 35 office parks and other corporate locations;
  • 1,239 women at 40 community locations, including Schnucks and Shop ‘n Save grocery stores and YMCAs; and
  • 1,369 medically underserved women through our outreach program at 30 additional sites throughout the area.

“Siteman Cancer Center celebrates a long history of providing world-class care to our patients, and that certainly includes women who come to us for their mammograms,” said Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, Siteman’s director. “Mammography is the best test for identifying breast cancer before it can be felt – when the cancer is more likely to be curable.”

3-D imaging, also called tomosynthesis, uses X-rays to create multiple images. Then a computer digitally recreates the breast, allowing the radiologist to page through the scans on a computer screen like pages in a book or on an iPad or Kindle.

“This technology allows us to essentially see through the breast, one millimeter at a time,” Appleton said. “This has been shown both to reduce false alarms and to help reveal more breast cancers.”

Each exam takes about 20 minutes, and the exam fee is billed to the patient, her insurance company or Medicare. Results are reported to the patient and her physician within seven to 10 days.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 26 of the nation’s leading cancer centers, recommends yearly mammograms for women age 40 and older with an average risk of developing the disease.

The Siteman Cancer Center van is certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is sponsored in partnership with Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, whose board-certified radiologists review all digital mammography images.

To make an appointment, call 1-800-600-3606 toll-free. Women should bring their insurance card to the appointment. For those without insurance, assistance is available. Call 314-454-8466 for more information.

For more information about mammography van dates and locations, visit