Starting Monday, the B.C. Cancer Agency will be offering the services of one of its mobile screening mammography vehicles in Merritt for the week.

“It’s a state-of-the-art vehicle that has a walk-in clinic, so you just come right on board the vehicle and there’s a  state-of-the-art, digital mammography system on board,” said John Lowrie, BC Cancer Agency mobile operations manager.

Free screening mammograms will be available all week from Jan. 23 to 28 outside the Extra Foods on Forksdale Avenue.

“Our program [screens] women from age 40 to 74, and we recommend that if you have a first degree relative like a mother or sister who’s tested positive for breast cancer that you should be screened every year, otherwise [being] screened every two years is sufficient,” said Lowrie.

Screening mammograms consist of multiple x-rays of the breasts that looks for hidden cancer in women who have no symptoms and have never had breast cancer.

The images are taken private by a specially-trained technologist.

On its website, the B.C. Cancer Agency states that screening mammograms are the best method of detecting breast cancer early.

Walk-ins will be accepted, but it’s recommended people book an appointment.

About 300 screenings will be accommodated during the week, and about 225 people have already signed up.

A mobile visit will also be available in Lower Nicola at 181 Nawishaskin Lane after the stop in Merritt. The BC Cancer Agency is also offering them on Jan. 31 at the Upper Nicola Wellness Centre located at 7055 Hillside Road in Upper Nicola.

To book an appointment call 1-800-663-9203.

Technologists take the images and then send them to the BC Cancer Agency where radiologists will examine them before sending the results to patients in the mail.


This story was updated on Jan. 25 to include details about other stops the BC Cancer Agency’s mobile mammogram facility is making in the Nicola Valley.