February 11, 2019 — Mount Sinai Hospital recently launched the Mount Sinai Mobile Mammography Program (MMP), bringing essential breast cancer detection services and education to women in New York City. It is the only van equipped with digital breast tomosynthesis – high-quality, state-of-the-art, digital 3D mammography technology — serving women in all five boroughs.
Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) produces images of breast tissue in 1-millimeter-thin layers, and allows radiologists to better detect breast tissue abnormalities. The Mount Sinai van also is equipped with an information system that incorporates a breast cancer risk assessment tool, and makes intake and follow-up communications available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French and Haitian Creole.
According to Laurie Margolies, M.D., system chief of breast imaging, Mount Sinai Health System and professor of radiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: “Annual screening mammography beginning at age 40 has been shown to save lives. Our goal is to help women understand the benefits of mammographic screening and early detection. We want to break down as many barriers as possible, and encourage women to participate in screening mammography. By reaching women right in their communities, Mount Sinai’s Mobile Mammography Program helps reduce disparities in breast cancer detection and survival in those disproportionately burdened by this disease.”
One out of four women age 40 and older in New York City is not regularly screened for breast cancer. (1) Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, except for skin cancers, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. (2) New York State has one of the highest breast cancer incidence rates in the country (3) and in New York City alone, there are approximately 6,000 new cases of breast cancer each year, and more than 1,000 breast cancer-related deaths. (4)
Minority women face significant disparities in breast cancer screening and outcomes. Nationally, less than 50 percent of all Asian, Latina and Native American women aged 40 and older had a mammogram within the past year. (5) While black women have the highest screening rate among minority women at 55 percent, they also have the highest breast cancer mortality. (5)
Minority women face interwoven cultural, language, social and economic barriers that prevent them from obtaining mammograms regularly, which leads to poorer breast cancer-related outcomes. Commonly documented barriers include lack of health insurance, limited English proficiency, fatalistic beliefs about breast cancer and lack of breast cancer screening knowledge.(6, 7)
To address these issues, the Mobile Mammography Program provides culturally targeted educational workshops discussing the importance of mammography screenings. These are offered in multiple languages including English, Spanish, French, Mandarin and Cantonese. Mount Sinai also offers workshops tailored to the Muslim and LGBTQ communities.
Multilingual patient navigators with access to language interpreters are available to assist participants make screening appointments and access follow-up services.
The program is made possible with funds from Health Research Inc. (HRI) and the State of New York.
“By bringing screening mammography to New Yorkers via this mobile unit and using culturally-based education, we will help save lives,” said Margolies. “This is our overarching goal. Yearly screening mammography reduces, as much as possible, a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer. Mount Sinai’s new ‘care on wheels’ will make it much easier for many New Yorkers to be screened. We are humbled and honored to play a role in improving women’s health, and to be welcomed by so many community organizations that are hosting Mount Sinai screening and education events.”
For more information: www.mountsinai.org
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Breast cancer screening (mammography), 2014 (Age adjusted). https://a816-healthpsi.nyc.gov/epiquery/sasresults.jsp
New York State Department of Health. Cancer incidence and mortality for New York City, 2011-2015. https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/cancer/registry/vol1/v1rnyc.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. United State Cancer Statistics Data Visualizations. Female Breast, All Ages, All Races/Ethnicities, Female Rate per 100,000 Women. https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/DataViz.html
New York State Department of Health. Female breast cancer incidence and mortality by year, New York City, 1975-2015. https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/cancer/registry/table2/tb2breastnyc.htm
American Cancer Society. Breast cancer facts & figures 2017-2018. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2017. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures-2017-2018.pdf
Gray TF, Cudjoe J, Murphy J, Thorpe JW, Wenzel J, Han H. Disparities in cancer screening practices among minority and underrepresented populations. Seminars in Oncology Nursing. 2017;33(2):184-198.
Moy B, Park ER, Feibelmann S, Chiang S, Weissman JS. Barriers to repeat mammography: cultural perspectives of African‐American, Asian, and Hispanic women. Psycho-oncology. 2005;15(7):623-634.