Sharon Barden, 66, goes every year - "religiously" she says - to Baptist's Mobile Mammogram Unit for her mammogram. It used to come out to her workplace but now she goes when it's at Saddle Creek Mall.
In 2010, though, Barden almost didn't go.
"My friend and I go together and I said, ‘Oh, let's not go. We're fine every single time we go. We've been going for years,'" she says.
That was the year her mammogram came back abnormal. It was breast cancer.
"I never would have thought at my age I would get it. And I still think almost every day, ‘Could it come back?'" says Barden.
It was a 1.8-centimeter tumor, which she says her nurse could not even feel. Barden says, "She asked me, ‘Did you not ever feel it?' and I said, ‘No, I've never felt it.' She felt around and said, ‘Well you know what? I don't really feel it either.'"
She says she now advocates for her friends to go every year, especially with the convenience of Baptist's mobile mammogram unit. Baptist says women are so busy with their lives –from family to work – that they don't have time to go for a mammogram; so they bring the mammogram to them.
"Last year we screened 2,300 patients, and of those patients about ten percent had their very first mammogram here on the mobile," says Mandy Payne, the Clinical Manager at Baptist Women's Health Center.
Convenience is one reason women don't get mammograms. Another reason is fear, which the mobile unit tries to ease.
"It's not like walking into a doctor's office," says Payne, "It's a little bit faster, you're in and out in about 15-20 minutes and it's maybe not as intimidating."
Three years later Barden is cancer free and says she feels wonderful.
"I did have to go in twice because she didn't get enough, but it's fine. And I recuperated just fine. No problem. No pain, but I'm lucky, and all I had to do was radiation. No chemo," says Barden.
She adds she has thought about if she had not gotten that mammogram three years ago, and is grateful she didn't skip it. She says, "I'm so grateful I had it done or it would have been maybe stage two or three, maybe four. I don't know."
Those interested in having the mobile unit come to your facility, you can call them at 901-226-0832.