NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A bright pink van is making access to mammograms easier.

One in 8 women will receive the heartbreaking news that she has breast cancer.

“I have to give this diagnosis to my patients too often,” said Dr. John Plemmons, medical director for the McLeskey Comprehensive Breast Center.

Patients like Cheryl McLeskey.

In 2017, she noticed a lump.

“It was very traumatic when you first heard the words, ‘You have breast cancer,'” she said.

McLeskey admitted she was more than a year late on her mammogram.

“Because of the businesses of life, I did not have time to go get my mammogram,” McLeskely said.

Thanks to research, the development of new drugs and amazing doctors, she lived.

Just like McLeskey, many of us are busy. It’s easy to push off important doctor’s appointments.

Now, cancer detection technology is coming to your doorstep.

“This 3D Mammography van is going to save lives,” McLeskey said.

The van is called “Pinky.”

“This van will come to the community, come to the businesses, schools where teachers don’t have time to get their mammogram,” she said, “so this is going to serve so many people who don’t have time in their life to get mammograms.”

Inside the van is state-of-the-art technology that can see and detect smaller tumors.

“3D is much more in-depth, especially for dense breast tissue,” said Darlene North, the Sentara team lead for the mobile mammography unit. “It gives a much better image of the breast. It enables them to catch breast cancer sooner.”  

Pinky’s technology will reach Hampton Roads and communities in northeast North Carolina, including those who may not have access to care.

“We are about to put that in the streets in communities that may not have had the opportunity to have that,” said Iris Lundy, Sentara senior director of health equity.

Insurance isn’t a barrier. Sentara offers financial assistance for people without insurance.

Pinky will head on the road Monday. You won’t be able to miss her bright pink exterior, something McLeskey hopes people pay attention to.

“The access of the Mammo van,” she said, “can possibly save your life.

Book an appointment

To book an appointment with Sentara’s 3D Mammography van, click here.