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Partnership on mobile breast cancer screenings has twofold purpose

On Friday, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart and Stony Brook University School of Medicine announced a partnership to provide mobile breast cancer screenings. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

Stony Brook Medicine and Suffolk police are partnering to use a mobile unit to provide breast cancer screening, and it’s personal for Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart.

“This partnership is particularly important to me because breast cancer affects so many women throughout Long Island, and it has also directly impacted me,” Hart said Friday. The partnership will offer Island residents 3D-digital mammograms in a custom-designed, 40-foot mobile mammography van.

Hart, a breast cancer survivor, recalled the time her friends and family encouraged her to get screened at age 50.

“Life gets so busy between raising our children and juggling a busy career that sometimes we don’t prioritize what we know we should be doing — getting a mammography,” Hart said. She was treated at the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center at Stony Brook.

Hart and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced the partnership on Friday at the Fourth Precinct in Hauppauge. Suffolk police Chief of Department Stuart Cameron believes the program will help his department and the overall community.

“If people have a more traditional way to engage with law enforcement, they’ll probably be more comfortable with us and realize that we really are here to help people,” said Cameron. “Our job goes beyond fighting crime. It’s about finding new ways to connect with residents of Suffolk County.”

Dr. Patrick Dineen, the mobile mammography van coordinator, thinks the vehicle is a great way to raise awareness.

The van will stop at 23 sites, including churches, businesses, schools and health fairs, said Dineen. The first stop will be at Diamond in the Pines on June 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The all-female Stony Brook staff expects to see about three patients a day, and for anyone leery of a screening on a van as opposed to a hospital, Dineen said, “It has the same equipment as a hospital, and it is the only mobile unit in Suffolk County that houses a 3D screening unit as opposed to 2D.”

Insured women can be screened at no cost and without any out-of-pocket expenses or deductible. Uninsured or undocumented, persons will be screened at no cost.

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