Lone Star Circle of Care’s mobile mammogram unit, the Big Pink Bus, recently moved into a new bus to continue to provide free or low-cost mammograms for preventative breast health care.

A closer look

The Big Pink Bus has provided free or low-cost 3D digital screening mammograms to Central Texas residents since July 2021. In November, the team decided the 10-year-old bus was due for an upgrade, program Director Rebecca Sorensen said.

“The prior unit was less reliable than we liked it to be, and part of that was because it was an older vehicle,” Sorensen said. “We were fortunate enough to get funding to purchase a new one.”

The new Big Pink Bus was completed in February and still offers the same 3D mammogram services. Sorensen said it typically operates 4-6 days a week with at least two Saturdays a month.

Additionally, mammogram costs are based on family size and income, but there are staff members who screen patients for eligibility for certain discounts or grant funding.

“Women who might need follow-up services after [the mammogram]—so if they need diagnostic services, for example—we connect them with our partners at ARA [Diagnostic Imaging] or at Seton,” Sorensen said.

The bus travels to Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties within the Austin metro. Since the program’s inception, Sorensen said over 4,800 patients have received mammograms on the bus.

About 40% of its services are provided in Williamson County—the bus is stationed in Georgetown—but Sorensen said Bastrop County is “always a hot spot,” and the team tries to get to areas such as South Austin more frequently.

“I think [the bus] is a little bit novel,” Sorensen added. “Sometimes people want to make an appointment on the bus because they’re curious about it. Like, it’s a little weird and odd, so the novelness of it is appealing to people when they do come on the bus and it looks like a clinic, but it’s on wheels.”

Quote of note

“The biggest thing is that breast cancer, if it’s caught early, is so treatable,” Sorensen said. “Women have a more likely time of having a longer life expectancy if they can catch the cancer earlier. We always say that early detection is the best prevention.”

What you need to know

According to LSCC, to be eligible for a mammogram screening on the Big Pink Bus, you must:
  • Be 40 years old or older
  • Be uninsured, or have coverage from Central Health’s Medical Access Program or some commercial insurance plans
  • Have not had a mammogram in the last 365 days
  • Not be pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Not be experiencing any breast issues, such as lumps, discharge or pain
  • Be able to walk independently up and down stairs
To make an appointment or for more information, call 1-844-746-5287 or email [email protected].