Rochester General Hospital will be taking a new mobile mammography center on the road starting this month.
Does where you live increase your chances of getting and ultimately surviving certain cancers?
It's a topic Messenger Post's news partner, News10NBC has been investigating for more than a year after our analysis of state data revealed some of our local counties have the highest rates of cancer in all of New York State.
Now, hospitals are stepping up to try and reach out to more people and get them screened early.
Rochester General Hospital will be taking a new mobile mammography center on the road starting in August.
It was funded through a New York State grant that aims to improve access to breast cancer screenings.
A few years ago, Ilonka Tumerlaire found a lump in her breast, "I felt like oh, I can handle this, a little lump. It's radiation. I can go in for radiation and get on my bike everyday and cycle afterward and I thought okay, I can just cycle through this, peddle through this," she recalls.
And that's exactly what she did. After her treatment was complete, she fell back into her normal routine.
A few years later, "I remember at the time, we had a wedding in the family, a shower happening, life was really busy and I thought about canceling my mammogram," Tumerlaire recalls, but she didn't and that decision may have saved her life.
"It was a different breast and the whole thing felt different and it was a different kind of breast cancer," she says.
Tumerlaire had to have surgery this time. She just wrapped up her treatment, the "Get Well Soon" cards still line the doors to her living room.
According to data obtained by News10NBC from the NYS Department of Health, the rate of breast cancer in Wyoming, Monroe, Wayne and Livingston counties is much higher than the state-wide average.
That's why RGH is planning to make it easier for women who live there to get screened.
"With a mobile center, we have the ability to come where women live or work, cutting down on the time that she needs to carve out of her very busy day to get screened," says Katherine Rogala, vice president of operations at RGH.
But what happens after that screening?
A News10NBC investigation late last year showed that access to follow-up care can be an issue for people like Tumerlaire who live in outlying counties.
"We are committed to providing comprehensive care to women who choose us for their breast health," Rogala says.
That means, if there's an issue, a case manager will be assigned to ensure that the patient has transportation, emotional and financial support when it comes to treatment.
If the mammogram results don't show any problems, the folks working on the mobile unit can still make connections for those who need them.
"We will connect her with primary care, internal medicine or OBYGN, so that she can be taken care of, other needs, other health concerns," Rogala adds.
Tumerlaire says if there is one piece of advice she can give to other women it's to make sure they have regular screenings, "breast cancer can be beaten if it's caught, particularly, not if but particularly when it's caught early enough," she says.
The mobile unit's preliminary schedule can be found here.
Those interested in setting up an appointment can call 922-PINK.
Most insurance companies cover the screening but if you're underinsured or uninsured, you can get a free screening.
For more information on support for breast cancer patients, click here.