Marshfield Clinic using mobile mammography units to serve women in rural areas

Updated: Aug. 1, 2023 at 6:00 PM CDT
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WASHBURN COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - For some women living in rural areas, it can be difficult to schedule routine exams like a mammogram.

Marshfield Clinic has three mobile mammography units that travel across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

Dr. Kriste Guite is a radiologist with Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield and the medical director for the hospital systems mobile mammography services.

She says over 7,000 women were screened in the mobile units over the past year.

“In 2022, I believe 45 breast cancers were found in those 7,000 women,” Dr. Guite said.

Dr. Guite says the units can screen women with or without symptoms.

“They also have the capability to do some initial workup for women that have, let’s say a lump in the breast or other areas of concern,” Dr. Guite said.

Dr. Guite says they also are able to send images in real-time to radiologists.

“It takes about 20 minutes to have the exam complete and be dressed and back out to wherever they go,” Dr. Guite said.

In 2018, Trisha Saletri helped bring a mobile unit to the Washburn County Offices.

“Here we have a health and wellness program, and so what we decided to do was reach out and see if we could get the mobile unit involved here at the county for the citizens and also the workers, for female workers,” Saletri said.

Saletri says she doesn’t have a family history of breast cancer, but after getting screened she got a call that some of her scans weren’t quite right.

“I was a little disappointed at first in the mobile unit,” Saletri said. " I was thinking it didn’t do it justice and now I had to go into the hospital and do another one. Needless to say, it actually caught the ADH cancer-causing cells in the mobile unit.”

Thanks to the mobile unit catching the cells early enough, Saletri was able to get ahead.

“What we did after that is some appointments up in Duluth. They did some biopsies and they determined that, yes, we do want to get that cluster of cells out of there. They did the biopsy, the removal, and they put the radiation in. We’re going to shoot for five years of clean scans.”

Saletri is coming up on five years of clean scans and looking back she says it’s amazing the units are serving rural areas.

“Our population has increased since COVID,” Saletri said. “So when you call to make an appointment, it’s five, six, seven, eight months out just for a regular check-up. So being able to have that mobile unit and being able to have people there is amazing.”

Being able to see 10 to 15 patients per day, Dr. Guite says the mobile units offer the same care as in a clinic.

“The mobile mammography units are the exact same type of equipment that we have in the clinic, so they can perform both just the standard mammogram and the 3-D mammogram,” Dr. Guite said.

To learn more able Marshfield Clinic’s mobile mammography services, click here.