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On the bus for early detection screenings

On Sunday, over 30 women were screened for breast cancer at the Dignity Health Community Wellness Program mammogram bus.

"The purpose is to bring free health screenings to women who cannot drive outside of town," supervisor Angelica Montano said.

The program serves uninsured women from underserved communities.

"If we didn't come, many women wouldn't be able to get their annual mammogram. We screened four women over 60 today that had never had a mammogram."

The bus travels throughout all of Kern County.

"We try to reach communities that don't have access to health care. It helps them by hopefully giving them peace of mind if they come back clean; they know they are cancer free."

Juan Gomez, technician assistant, said, "It's a wonderful service. I wish more organizations would put on more events like this."

"I love my job because we get to help women, especially those without the resources to get these types of exams."

The screening results are mailed to the patient's home in two to three weeks.

"If something pops up, we give you a phone call," Gomez said. "Our clinic will refer them to the nearest diagnostic center if there is a problem. If it is determined there is something there, they would go in for a biopsy."

Followup care for women without insurance can be provided through the Everyone Counts program, paid for by California's Healthcare Services Department.

Lou Robesk, an x-ray technician, said the traveling bus is great.

Women need to get their mammogram screening every one to two years after age 40 for early detection. "This is important because if you get breast cancer and they find it early, your chances of survival are higher," she said.

She said the breast cancer death rate is high.

"Especially if you have a family history of breast cancer. If you do on your mother's side, it's very hereditary. Early detection is key for survival."

Patricia Hernandez came to the event.

"I'm over 40, and my last breast exam was three and a half years ago. It was very convenient. I don't have health insurance; without this, I would otherwise not have access."

Soledad is 44 years old and has never had a mammogram.

"Because this is free, it really helps me. I feel a little nervous about the results but glad I had the test."

Leticia Rodriguez said she needed the exam to ensure she was breast cancer-free.

"I had my last mammogram five years ago. I think everything is going to turn out all right, but I'm happy I came nonetheless for that assurance."

For more information on the next time the mammogram screening bus will come to Wasco, call Angelica Montano at 661-323-3238 or visit


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