Empowering communities: Penn Medicine's annual mammogram event and health fair

Penn Medicine will once again join with community partners and Siemens Healthineers to host a free mammogram clinic and community health fair in June, giving the West Philadelphia and Upper Darby communities convenient access to health screenings right in their neighborhoods. The annual events are part of Penn Medicine's commitment to making cancer screenings and preventive health care more accessible and equitable, particularly in underserved areas of Philadelphia.

Women do not need insurance to obtain a free breast cancer screening mammogram during the event, which runs from Monday, June 3 through Friday, June 14, 2024. A Siemens Healthineers 45-foot-long mobile mammography unit will be stationed in the parking lot of The Fresh Grocer of Upper Darby, located at 421 S. 69th Street to provide state-of-the-art imaging services to those age 40 and older. On Sunday, June 9, all ages are invited to participate in a free community health fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community of Compassion CDC at 6150 Cedar Avenue. The event will include a wide range of health screenings, educational activities, information on STEM careers for students, and family-friendly entertainment, plus free transportation between the fair and the mammography unit.

Participation in the mobile mammogram clinic and community health fair has grown each year, and we hope to make the experience even more valuable – and fun! – for our neighbors in West Philly and Upper Darby this year. The breast cancers detected through these free mammogram events indicate that we're providing a needed service for women who can't make it into a traditional health care setting for their annual mammograms."

Linda White Nunes, MD, MPH, lead organizer,  vice chair of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity for the department of Radiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

The goal of cancer screening exams, including mammography, is to detect cancers at early stages, when they're most likely to be treated successfully. Eight breast cancers have been detected out of the 654 mammograms performed since the free screening events began in 2021. Physicians from Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center help navigate women with abnormal results on their screening mammograms for follow-up care, additional testing, and treatment, if needed.

"Our commitment to pioneering breakthroughs in healthcare for everyone, everywhere, drives Siemens Healthineers to address the disparities many women face when attempting to access high-quality 3D mammography," said Felicia Kurz, senior vice president of Advanced Therapies and executive sponsor of Healthcare Access, Siemens Healthineers North America. "By collaborating with health organizations such as Penn Medicine to bring our mobile mammography unit to local communities, we break down these access barriers to help ensure quality care for all."

The community health fair will provide free screenings for other types of cancer and chronic health conditions, including take-home screening kits for colon cancer, PSA screening (blood test) for prostate cancer, lung cancer risk assessments, throat cancer screenings, vascular ultrasound for carotid artery disease, liver ultrasound for fatty liver disease, and health insurance counseling. Family-friendly activities will round out the festivities, with free food, raffle prizes, giveaways, and a special appearance from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the team's Box Out Cancer initiative.

The team chose West Philadelphia, a neighborhood near the Penn Medicine main campus that faces disproportionate barriers to health care. According to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Community Health Needs Assessment, this community has a higher cancer mortality rate compared to the larger Philadelphia county.

"At Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, one of our priorities is to improve health equity by reducing disparities in access to cancer screenings, beginning right here in our backyard," said Carmen Guerra, MD, vice chair of Diversity and Inclusion in the department of Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate director of Diversity and Outreach at the Abramson Cancer Center. "We value the groups and organizations that have been crucial partners in bringing events like this to their communities year after year. We're encouraged by the growth of these efforts and look forward to helping more people live healthier, cancer-free lives."

Cancer screening and health fair event details

No insurance required.

Free Breast Cancer Screening

  • Location: The Fresh Grocer (parking lot), 421 S. 69th St., Upper Darby, PA 19082
  • Date and Time: June 3-14, 2024, beginning at 9 a.m. daily. Closing times vary:
    • Monday, June 3 through Friday, June 7: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Monday, June 10 through Thursday, June 13: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Friday, June 14: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Details: Open to individuals aged 40 and above; private changing rooms available; registration encouraged (call 267-414-2205 to register), but walk-ins are welcome.

Free Community Health Fair

  • Location: Community of Compassion CDC, 6150 Cedar Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143
  • Date and Time: Sunday, June 9, 2024 – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Details: Open to all ages; free food, raffles, and giveaways. Health screenings include take-home colon cancer screening kits, PSA (blood) tests for prostate cancer, lung cancer risk assessments, vascular health assessments, and more. Special appearance from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the team's Box Out Cancer initiative.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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