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The Mammovan

mobile mammography Providing breast screenings

side view of GW Cancer Center Mammovan

The GW Medical Faculty Associates Mobile Mammography Program makes early detection for breast cancer accessible to underserved women across the metropolitan Washington, D.C. region. The Mammovan provides screening services where women live and work, and offers screenings without regard to women’s ability to pay.

The Mammovan breaks down barriers to lifesaving mammography access by partnering with community leaders and alleviating financial constraints. Early stage breast cancer has nearly a 100 percent cure rate, and therefore it is critical to assure that all women, regardless of socio-economic status, have access to lifesaving mammography and early detection. This self-contained mobile van travels to corporate and community sites offering one-stop breast cancer screenings performed in a comfortable, convenient environment. The program is committed to making this service available to all women.

The Mammovan is both disabled- and wheelchair-accessible. The Mammovan is accredited by the American College of Radiology and is certified by the FDA to perform screening mammograms. The Mobile Mammography Program meets all the requirements of the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA).

If you represent a corporation, church, or civic group and wish to schedule a site visit with the Mammovan, please call 202.741.3274.

If you're a woman who would like an appointment to get your mammogram on the Mammovan, please review our online calendar and refer to the contact information listed.

Program Description

The Mobile Mammography Program began in 1996 with a generous grant from the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Its goal was to make early detection of breast cancer readily available to the women of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Dedicated to providing area women with education and support, this self-contained mobile unit travels to corporate and community sites offering one-stop screening performed in a comfortable, convenient environment. The program is committed to making this service available to every woman, regardless of her ability to pay.

The Mammovan is both disabled- and wheelchair-accessible. The Mammovan is accredited by the American College of Radiology and is certified by the FDA to perform screening mammograms. The Mobile Mammography Program meets all the requirements of the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA).

Click here to view information regarding Mammography Screenings and the Affordable Care Act.

Latest Technology

The GW Medical Faculty Associates Mammovan was the first mobile breast imaging center to offer 3D mammography, or Tomosynthesis, in the Washington, DC area.

What is 3D Mammography?

3D mammography is another technology to aid in the fight against breast cancer. It allows doctors to examine your breast one layer at a time. 3D mammography uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or ‘slices’ – building what is essentially a 3D mammogram.

A good analogy for 3D mammography is like thinking of the pages in a book. If you look down at the cover you cannot see all of the pages – but when you open it up, you can go through the entire book page by page to see everything between the covers. 3D mammography is designed with the same concept in mind.

A 3D mammogram is very similar to a traditional mammogram. Just as with a digital mammogram, the technologist will position you, compress your breast under a paddle and take images from different angles. During the 3D mammography part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images in just seconds.

There is no additional compression required with 3D mammography and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view. 3D mammography can offer better visualization for radiologists who are helping certain groups of patients - particularly those with dense breasts.

This improvement in visualization can result in fewer callbacks which equals less anxiety for patients and better detection of smaller cancers. Most insurance plans now cover the cost of 3D.

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Patient Stories

  • Breast Cancer Survivor

    Cara Scharf majored in English in college, so she's always been good with words. But right after graduation, she discovered she would have to deal with four letters: BRCA. Cara was just 22 when she tested found out she was BRCA 1+ positive. It wasn't a complete surprise—her mother died of breast cancer when Cara was three, and her grandmother died of ovarian cancer. But Cara says she had never really thought about getting cancer ...

  • The GW Mammovan Saved My Life

    Brenda talks about her experience being diagnosed with breast cancer on the GW Mammovan. The vehicle, which makes early detection for breast cancer accessible to underserved women across the city, is outfitted with 3D mammography technology, the most comprehensive mammography system available; a spacious setting for patients; and two individual changing rooms and private waiting areas. This video played at the GW Blush Lunch event ...