PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Early detection is the key to beating breast cancer.
However, Hispanic and Latina women are less likely to be diagnosed early, and a lack of screening is one factor causing this.
In Philadelphia, a new program is bringing screening to women to help them beat the odds of breast cancer.
Every day the clinic at Congreso de Latinos Unidos provides primary care, including many lab tests for residents in a Hispanic and Latino community.
But getting a mammogram means a long trip, usually by public transit, outside the community.
Now, four times a year a Temple Health/Fox Chase van comes to Congreso in partnership with the hospital and the American Cancer Society.
"The van can usually do up to 20 people per day. And so, we're doing about 100 people per year," says Judith Emmons, the vice president for healthcare services at Congreso.
Latina and Hispanic women account for about 29% of new breast cancer diagnoses annually, but rates vary depending on genetic mutations linked to their country of descent.
Rates of very aggressive, triple-negative breast cancer are higher and it is diagnosed at an earlier age in non-Hispanic white women.
Emmons says the van's presence in the community not only eases transportation but encourages participation.
"For people who are uninsured and oftentimes uninsurable, it can be challenging and scary for them to go and get their mammogram in a large health system," she says.
"Not only are we alleviating a gap in care, but we're literally saying, 'This is an important thing and you're important,'" says Rebecca Carper, the associate director of community partnerships for the American Cancer Society.
For treatment or follow-ups, Congreso and the American Cancer Society each help with transportation.
The American Cancer Society also has additional bilingual services.
"Like a 24-hour hotline where patients can either call or chat online and get all their questions answered. We have different support services that link them with other patients or survivors that understand the experience," says Carper.
Congreso says the partnership ensures Hispanic women can go from mammograms all the way through treatment to long, healthy futures.