Fighting Breast Cancer, One Mile at a Time

October 19, 2012

In Just One Year, Healthy U Express Mobile Mammo Unit Has Already Made a Huge Impact

Seven months ago, 55-year-old Gloria Mata decided to go the Family Service Association to receive a mammogram on the new University Health System Healthy U Express mobile unit. At the time, she had no idea how this seemingly minor decision would change her life. Within hours of her test, she was told she needed further evaluation and within weeks she was being treated for stage II breast cancer. Today, she is proud to say she is a breast cancer survivor and she was grateful to spend this Friday afternoon celebrating with the people who brought this lifesaving program to her community.

University Health System’s state-of-the-art Healthy U Express Mobile Mammography unit has been on the move throughout Bexar County for one year and the results of this initiative, aimed at saving lives through early breast cancer detection, are impressive. Since October of 2011, 1,922 women have received screening mammograms on the unit. Of those ladies, 370 required further diagnostic testing. Four ladies were diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia (pre-cancer) and nine with breast cancer. These nine ladies all received treatment at University Health System.

Of the first eight cases identified through the mobile unit, one patient was diagnosed early with stage I breast cancer, five were at stage II, and 2 were at stage III. Staging on the most recent patient is not yet available.

The mobile mammography unit travels to area businesses, schools, churches and health fairs to make it easier than ever for women to get their annual mammograms. Over the past 12 months, the Healthy U Express has screened women at 63 different locations throughout Bexar County. “The women who are taking advantage of this service are really pleased with the convenience,” said Katherine Diaz, University Health System director of Health Care Services. “They don’t have to take off work or travel across town, and they get their results quickly.” The unit is equipped with the latest in advanced digital mammography to assure the images are of the very highest quality.

Because of University Health System’s partnership with UT Medicine San Antonio, the physician practice plan of the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine, images are read by CTRC radiologists who specialize in mammography. And women with abnormal findings can be seen quickly at the Breast Center at CTRC. “This is a tremendously important initiative,” adds Pamela Otto, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Radiology at the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine. “We are committed to making mammograms accessible for more women in this community, because early detection is the key to better outcomes for breast cancer patients.”

The Healthy U Express is working every day during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so Ms. Mata and organizers of the program marked its first “birthday” Friday during a breast cancer screening event at Dillard’s La Cantera.

Area businesses and organizations with a large number of women employees over the age of 40 are encouraged to contact University Health System to learn more about bringing it to their workplaces at no cost to the employer. Information is available online at or by phone at 210-358-3720.