December 1, 2021 314 PM
TRI-COUNTY — The Big Bend Regional Hospital District is once again partnering with El Paso’s Desert Imaging to bring a mobile mammogram unit to the region. The Mayo Clinic recommends that women begin yearly mammogram screenings for breast cancer at age 40. “Prevention is the key word here,” said Maria Urias, senior patient advocate at the Presidio County Medical Clinic. “When cancer is detected at an early stage—that can save a life.”
Though the mobile unit can only assist one or two patients at a time, it’s a relatively speedy procedure. “I’ve heard that you’re in and out in 20 to 30 minutes,” she said. Desert Imaging’s team is bilingual and ready to assist first-timers who may not be familiar with the mammogram process. Patients with abnormal results will be sent to Midland or El Paso for further testing.
Mammogram screenings are covered under most types of insurance as a preventative healthcare service, but patients worried about covering the $145 out-of-pocket cost are encouraged to reach out to their local branch of the Big Bend Regional Hospital District for assistance. In Presidio, that number is (432) 229-2151 and in Alpine, it’s (432) 837-7051. “We can do lots of things to assist,” Urias said. “If you can’t come to the office, we’ll find a way to get you an application.”
Desert Imaging does not require a referral from a physician in order to see a patient, so those interested can call and “self refer” for an exam. To make an appointment, call Desert Imaging at (915) 577-0100. At that number, those interested can also be pre-screened to see if you qualify for a non-insured program or a grant from Desert Imaging.
South county residents should be advised that there will be only one day for local testing—high demand in Alpine led the Mammos on the Move team to reschedule one of their previously announced Presidio dates. Testing will be held at the Presidio Activity Center (PAC) on December 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Alpine residents can sign up for appointments held on December 7 to December 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Big Bend Regional Medical Center. Marfa screenings will be held outside the Presidio county courthouse from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 10.