Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women in Chile, but the populous municipality of Puerto Montt is fighting back with a new mobile mammography clinic. Equipped with the sophisticated Planmed Clarity™ 2D digital mammography system, the clinic travels to even the remotest areas to deliver screenings to the locals.
In remote, rural regions where distances are long and the roads winding, help can be hard to find. Health care services are often concentrated in urban areas, and making the journey there can be both time-consuming and difficult. In Southern Chile, however, the municipality of Puerto Montt is bringing change to its residents with Clínica Mamográfica Móvil, a mobile screening clinic equipped with a top-of-the-line Planmed Clarity™ 2D digital mammography unit.
Starting as an initiative of Puerto Montt, Clínica Mamográfica Móvil works in conjunction with the municipality’s mobile gynecological clinic to serve up to 50 patients per day in an effort to combat breast cancer. With Planmed’s direct digital mammography machine installed, the mobile clinic travels through the countryside offering breast cancer screenings to the locals.
Puerto Montt is a port city and municipality located ca 650 miles south of the Chilean capital Santiago. The mobile mammography clinic moves around the rural communities that span the municipality according to a monthly calendar through which the visits to Family Care Centers (Centros de Atención Familiar or CESFAM) are scheduled. This way, the mobile clinic is able to facilitate examinations in areas where access to care is limited.
“Previously, there was a mammography unit at the CESFAM Padre Hurtado, and all the customers were referred there,” explains Carla Ascencio, Medical Imaging Technologist and coordinator of the mobile clinics. “But because so many patients were missing their appointments, we decided to develop a mobile strategy that would bring the examinations closer to people.”
Thanks to a generator, the mobile clinic is able to go almost anywhere, while a universal ramp and wide doors ensure access even for people with mobility problems. At the same time, the advanced technology of Planmed Clarity 2D provides exceptional image quality, offering improved diagnosis and superior visualization of smaller lesions compared to analog technology.
Together with a mutual aid agreement with the municipality of Chiloé, the mobile clinic works with the CESFAM care centers in the area in order for up to 100,000 people to have access to screenings and subsequent diagnosis.
"Thanks to the two mammography units that we now have, we are able to cover the needs of the region," says Ascencio. As a result, Puerto Montt is one community able to battle against breast cancer in a country where the disease is the leading cause of death among women.
This article has been edited from Diagnóstico Journal March 2019.