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San Diego Launches Mobile Breast Exam Unit

La Maestra Community Health Centers CEO Zara Marselian speaks at the launch o...

Photo by Megan Burks

Above: La Maestra Community Health Centers CEO Zara Marselian speaks at the launch of a mobile mammography coach in City Heights on Oct. 5, 2015.

Bringing mammograms to the people who need them – that's the goal of a mobile mammography coach launched Monday in City Heights.

Photo credit: La Maestra Community Health Centers

San Diego's mobile mammography coach is pictured in this undated photo.

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Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

Community leaders celebrated San Diego's first mobile mammography coach Monday. It's a bus outfitted with state-of-the-art imaging equipment and will bring mammograms to women where they live, work and run errands.

Susan G. Komen San Diego reports local doctors see slightly more late-stage breast cancer diagnoses than doctors in other parts of the state.

La Maestra Community Health Centers and Community Health Imaging Centers launched the bus to eliminate some of the barriers that keep women from getting mammograms, including a lack of transportation, childcare and medical interpreters.

"We needed to take these services out on the road where women live and have the cultural competency that's required to make people feel comfortable," said La Maestra CEO Zara Marselian. She said La Maestra's patients speak 26 different languages.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer's wife Katherine said it's important to ease access to mammograms. She said her mother beat breast cancer thanks to early detection.

"People don't have to worry about — 'How am I going to get there? What am I going to do with the kids?' — all of that. People just know it's in their own neighborhood. They don't need an appointment. They can just come right in and get taken care of," Faulconer said.

The coach is scheduled to be at the Food-4-Less on Palomar Street in Chula Vista 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Organizers said they plan to also take the coach to neighborhing Imperial County.

The mammograms are free to women 40 years and older and take about 10 minutes.

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