43-year-old Carmen Gonzalez of Parlier is doing something she’s never done before. She’s having a mammogram. She joined 39 other women climbing aboard this big pink bus– a mobile mammography unit called “Life Saving Images.” Inside looks like a medical office, but it’s on wheels bringing this potentially life saving test to women who can’t go get it themselves. “It’s good they come over here because Parlier is, you know, the field, the workers. So they don’t have a lot of money to pay for the exams, the mammograms,” Gonzalez says.
Life Saving Images teamed up with Komen Northern & Central California, Central California Legal Services and United Health Centers to provide this free screening event. Parlier was selected because of the large percentage of late stage breast cancer diagnoses in the area. “Many of these women have cultural disparities. Language, financial, travel problems. So the fact that they can bring Life Saving Images here, our education, and they have everything on the same day,” says Sharon Johnson. Johnson, a two time breast cancer survivor herself, is the Director of Mission and Grants for Komen Northern & Central California. She says offering the education and free screenings could be a life changer. “Early Detection is the key to surviving breast cancer. The Percentage of surviving with a stage one is 99%” Johnson says.
This was Carmen Gonzalez first time having a mammogram. While she says she has no family history of breast cancer, she got the test to stay healthy for her three children. “I think this is a good idea. It’s important for women to prevent cancer,” Gonzalez says.
Future free screenings events are planned for Mendota, Huron and Orange Cove.