Free breast cancer screening bus parked at Humboldt Canalta

HUMBOLDT — The Screen Program for Breast Cancer (SPBC) mobile bus is providing free mammograms to women 50 and older at the parking lot of the Canalta Hotel.

The mobile facility arrived on May 6, and is expected to stay until June 6, said Debby Boehm, early detection co-ordinator with SPBC. Although previously advertised that they would be parked in Humboldt until June 11, Boehm said the programs needs to leave earlier than planned for bus maintenance.

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Mammograms are free to all women 50 and older, Boehm said.  Prior to the bus’ arrival, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency sends letters to women between 50 and 74.

“Then it’s self referral” said Laurie Pearce, also an early detection co-ordinator. “They call our toll free number to book an appointment. They don’t have to go to a health care provider to get a referral.”

SPBC’s mobile mammograms provide women across the province a valuable and otherwise distant opportunity. Without it, the nearest SPBC location for breast cancer screening is in Saskatoon. The Canadian government recommends breast cancer screenings for women 50 and older every two to three years.

“Early detection does save lives,” Pearce said.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, earlier detection is one of the reasons for for the 44 per cent drop in breast cancer deaths since 1988, along with better treatment. The earlier the detection, the lesser the treatment and better the outcome, she said.

The bus is staffed by two technicians and is equipped with a digital mammogram machine, change rooms, a waiting room and a small office, Boehm said. It visits 42 sites across the province, as far north as La Loche and as south as Estevan.

“The people that come to visit us are grateful,” Boehm said. “They're always thanking the girls for being there and having the bus there.”

SPBC has offices in Regina and Saskatoon, and satellite sites in hospitals in Swift Current, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Lloydminster.

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