FLINT, Mich., June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- During National Women's Health Week, RMI (Regional Medical Imaging), a leading women's imaging provider based in Flint, announced that they would offer free screening mammograms to up to 50 area women who had been impacted by unemployment or were otherwise unable to pay for a mammogram.
Forty-one patients took RMI up on the offer, scheduling appointments for the May 14 event at RMI's Lennon Road office. RMI radiologists, including breast imaging expert Nanci Mercer, M.D., donated time to interpret mammograms.
Patients were greeted with some unexpected surprises, including "goody bags" for each woman to take home, filled with items donated by local businesses. Other vendors had staff on-site to provide spa-like services, including massages, paraffin hand treatments, and mini manicures, as they waited for their exams.
While the patients appreciated the amenities, their understanding of the health implications of a free mammogram was much deeper. Some said they had gone for years without a screening.
"Out of the 41 screening mammograms we performed, roughly 10 percent required additional followup tests such as breast ultrasound or a diagnostic mammogram," said Dr. Mercer, adding that one patient needed a breast biopsy.
"Helping 41 patients may not seem like a lot in the context of the total number of unemployed or uninsured, but it was all-important to these patients," said Dr. Mercer. "The number of suspicious findings illustrates just how crucial screening mammograms are to identifying treatable cancer or other breast disorders that might otherwise go undetected."
Dr. Mercer stressed that, even though times are tough, women can't afford to skip their annual mammograms.
"There are options in the community for those who can't pay or have a limited ability to pay," she said. "As a widely recognized and respected imaging provider in the area, RMI put together a high-visibi