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Spectrum News 1: Upstate Medical University takes mobile mammography unit north

Melissa Berkman-Shaw knows she's getting older and she wants to start taking better care of herself — so she's doing something she never has before.

“This will be my first time getting a mammogram done, so I figured it's time to do it,” the Jefferson County resident said.

However, the self-convincing needed to take this step was not so easy.

Berkman-Shaw is certainly not alone when she tells us she is not a big fan of the traditional health care setting. And at times, circumstances would make it a struggle to get to the appointments that she had to go to.

So when she found out that Upstate Medical University was bringing its mobile unit to Watertown, she decided now was the time.

“Walking was sometimes more difficult than others, so definitely having the convenience coming to you is a lot easier,” Berkman-Shaw said.

She’s also concerned about the unknowns of what's on the bus and what those on the bus will tell her. However, once she physically took that first step, she would later say her fears quickly became comfort.

The bus is staffed with a number of permanent employees like Tiffany Caesar, a registered nurse, who has experienced it all.

“So it means something when someone takes the first step in making sure to manage their care in health care and not allow fear to prevent them from getting care,” Caesar said.

On the bus, Caesar says patients can receive mammogram screenings and breast examinations, and staff can see up to 20 patients a day.

The bus serves 11 counties throughout central and northern New York.

“I would rather know now than have complications later and be able to handle it before it gets too bad,” she said about her follow-ups.

Upstate, working with the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, plans to bring the bus back to the parking lot of the Salvation Army in Watertown on Thursday, November 16. Appointments can be made by calling 315-755-2020, extension 21.

To watch the full report on Spectrum News CLICK HERE.

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