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Abramson Cancer Center has recently sought to improve equitable access to health care resources in Philadelphia.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

As part of efforts to eliminate disparities in cancer detection, Penn Medicine will offer free breast cancer screenings to women over the age of 40 in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October.

Screenings will be available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 18 to Oct. 29, Penn Medicine News reported. The screening event will be located across from the Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School in the West Lehigh neighborhood of North Philadelphia. While walk-ins are welcome, Penn Medicine staff encourage potential patients to call and register in advance for a mammogram.

The event will feature a Siemens Healthineers mobile mammography unit to provide participants with 3D mammograms, Penn Medicine News reported.

Staff will also offer individuals 10-minute screening exams with a private changing room available. Participants do not need insurance to be screened, and translation services will be available for Spanish speakers, Penn Medicine News reported. Penn Medicine radiologists will review the mammograms and counsel participants on further evaluation or care options if needed after the screening event.

The event will also host educational sessions for students at Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School to teach the importance of annual mammography and how to become an imaging technician, Penn Medicine News reported.

A recent study by Penn Medicine found that Black women are three times more likely to have triple-negative breast cancers — the most aggressive and least diagnosed form of breast cancer. Black women are also less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages compared to white women, Penn Medicine News reported.

Penn's Abramson Cancer Center also runs the Penn Medicine Breast Health Initiative, which provides free mammograms screenings, diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, breast biopsies, and other services. The center previously increased Black participation in clinical trials through a five-year community outreach program

“This mobile mammography initiative is one of many efforts we have committed for engaging underserved communities with access to important healthcare resources and education,” Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion at the Penn Department of Medicine Carmen Guerra told Penn Medicine News.