Mobile breast screening unit coming to Morinville

By Staff

Morinville – While it is not uncommon to see tractor trailers travelling through Morinville and surrounding area, few have the high-tech equipment of Unit One, the 53-foot mobile mammography unit operated by Alberta Health Services’ Screen Test.

Screen Test will be in Morinville for three days over the coming week – Aug. 14, 16 and 17 – offering area women an opportunity to have a mammogram, a screening procedure that
Screen Test Manager Joan Hauber said can help save lives by detecting breast cancer early on.

“With earlier detection, there’s a better chance of cure [and] there’s more treatment options,” she said. “That’s really our goal, to screen as many women as we possibly can. If there’s a woman out there with breast cancer, we want to find it early.”

Screen Test’s target group are women aged 50 to 69 – a group Hauber said should be tested every two years. The Screen Test manager said they do see women aged 40 to 49, but they will need to bring a doctor’s referral on their first visit. Subsequent visits do not need a referral and Hauber recommends that women in that age group should be tested every year.

“Even though that age group is less likely to develop breast cancer – if they do develop one, they tend to be a little faster growing,” Hauber said, adding that the program also sees women older than 69, the far end of the target age group. “At that point we do ask women just to talk to their doctors to make sure screening mammography is right for them.”

Alberta Health Services has been operating the mobile Screen Test program since 1990, but recently upgraded its mammography equipment from film to digital.

“The woman herself is not going to notice a difference,” Hauber said. “The machine is still very much the same. Her breast is put on a plate and it’s compressed. The difference is in the image. With the old system, it used to go onto film. So once the x-ray went through the breast, there was a film on the other side. Now the image is electronic, so that means it’s read on a computer.”

While the image processing method may have changed, one thing that hasn’t is the recommendation that women phone to book an appointment. Hauber said that Screen Test does welcome walk-in visits but priority is given to women who have booked a mammogram.

“If we have space, we will definitely see women who walk in, but if we don’t have the extra appointments then we can’t,” she said.

The Screen Test trailer will be parked on the north side of the Morinville Clinic on 100 St. Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. All mammograms will be done inside the mobile unit which has change rooms. Screening will be done Saturday from 10:20 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday’s hours of operation are from 9:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Appointments can be made by calling 1-800-667-0604.

Additional information on the program can be accessed at:

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