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Mobile unit helping screen for breast cancer across Central Texas

Advocates say the initiative helps address the needs in areas of Central Texas that may not have the same resources as Austin.

AUSTIN, Texas — October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but year-round people are working to improve research.

Organizations across Central Texas are banding together to make sure access to care is available without barriers.

"They'll come into the bus and they'll meet with our mammography technologist," said Rebecca Sorensen, the program director of Big Pink Bus. "They can be insured or uninsured, it doesn't really matter."

Rebecca Sorensen with the bus describes it as a mobile mammography unit.

Since its takeover by Lone Star Circle of Care in 2021, more than 2,200 mammograms have been provided and it has traveled over 10,000 miles across Central Texas.

"We go to places like clinics, churches, nonprofits, anywhere where we can get into the community to provide those services to the women who need it," said Sorensen.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many women skipping their annual checkups.

Sorensen said a lot of this also has to do with transportation needs and other factors at play.

"Taking that service to them where they are helps with accessibility, but we're also able to do it in an affordable way, which really helps a lot of the women that we serve as well," said Sorensen.

Big Pink Bus is one way of Addressing Cancer Together, better known as ACT.

"From outreach to screening to diagnosis to treatment for those women who have a positive identification of cancer and then getting them onto insurance so their whole health care needs can be covered," said Susan Dawson with the Austin Area Research Organization.

Advocates for ACT said the initiative is helping address the needs in areas of Central Texas that may not have the same resources as Austin.

"In a rural county like Bastrop, we don't have a lot of resources for people who are under-insured and uninsured. And to join this coalition means that citizens in our county have an opportunity to get screened for cancer and get treatment," said Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape.

Sorensen noted they want to make the process as quick and easy as possible.

"It's only four images. So most women just get four images. It takes just a few minutes to do," said Sorensen. "Women who fall in the sliding scale range or have grant funding would pay anywhere from nothing to maybe $10."

To schedule an appointment with Big Pink Bus, can call 1-844-PINK-BUS.

Another helpful resource mentioned by those addressing cancer together is by calling 2-1-1, where you can be connected with primary care and screening options that work best for you.

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