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Mammogram Bus Comes to Town

The St. John's Wellness On Tour Bus will be in Springfield Wednesday to give women mammograms. The bus gives women who can't drive into Springfield, or take time off of work (/) a chance to get screened for breast cancer. KSMU's Emily Nash got a tour of the bus, and files this report.

The 40 foot RV rolls into parking lots of area businesses and clinics giving mammograms to women who can't make it to the hospital.

On Monday morning the bus was parked in front of the St. John's Clinic in Ozark.

I got a tour from mammographer Karen Faifer and driver Kennon Lopez.

The two work together on the bus to see as many as 3,000 patients each year.

Faifer shows me a room about the size of 3 walk in closets where the mammogram machines are.

"It's the same lo-rad machine as they use in the breast center."

Faifer and Lopez say besides the small dressing rooms, most women like the bus.

They say it reaches women who can't drive into Springfield to get their mammograms.

Feifer: "I think we reach a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise bee seen. You know they can't get too far from their homes, or they are afraid to drive in the big city, but they don't mind doing the two blocks from their home to the bus, and coming on up."

Lopez: "I think probably every day that we go out, there's at least one patient that says, I am really glad you guys do this, if you didn't have this bus I would not be getting a mammogram done."

Carol Farel lives in Ozark and visited the bus Monday morning for her yearly mammogram.

She says it doesn't bother her that her mammogram is done on wheels.

"As long as it's done by a woman, I don't mind!....(laughter)."

She's used the bus before, and says she keeps coming back every year for the convenience.

"This is, St. John's is where my doctor is, and its so handy for me if the bus comes here, that way I don't have to drive to Springfield to get a mammogram or anything I can just come here to the bus, and kill two birds with one stone."

She says having the bus come to her saves on gas expenses.

The bus also visits local businesses.

Barbra Zimmerman is the Director of Mobile Health Services at St. John's.

She says the 15 minute mammogram appointments, make it easy for employees.

"This allows employees at whatever the particular business to come out to the bus, get a mammogram, on work time, go back in and what happens is we see a lot of people who would not normally have a lot of time go out an get a mammogram."

Zimmerman says mammograms can detect lumps up to seven years before they can be felt.

But she says having a yearly mammogram is no excuse not to see your doctor and do self-checks regularly.

"Mammograms can see a lot and things that are very small, but they can't see everything."

You must be 40 years old and have no pre-existing problems to get a mammogram on the bus.

The St. John's Wellness On Tour Bus will be at Missouri State University in Springfield this Wednesday starting at 9am in front of Freuenberger House.

To schedule an appointment you can call 820-2790.