Algarve’s long awaited mobile mammography unit is here!

news: Algarve’s long awaited mobile mammography unit is here!

After more than four years of dedicated fundraising, the Associação Oncológica do Algarve (AOA) has taken delivery of the long awaited mobile digital mammography unit, and the high tech van is currently on display outside the Modelo shopping centre in Portimão.

With the aim of raising awareness about the new screening programme that will begin in September, the mobile mammography unit will be parked at the entrance to the shopping centre until August 4, and an enquiry desk is situated on the first floor in front of the escalators. As well as wishing to raise the profile of the new service, the AOA is eager to show the people of the Barlavento area (the area where the majority of funds have been raised) exactly what the funds raised through the Mamamaratona fun runs have been spent on.

The Resident visited the shopping centre and saw that the AOA enquiries desk was flooded with visitors, all of them keen to hear more about the screening programme and how they can be included. Until now, quite surprisingly, there has been no breast screening programme in the Algarve, a situation that has been of great concern, particularly to the AOA. Judging by the response received at the shopping centre on Monday, women are extremely enthusiastic to hear that this crucial service will now be available.

The AOA had hoped to take delivery of the mobile unit earlier in the year, but bureaucracy caused unforseen delays. Speaking to The Resident, AOA volunteer Maria de Lurdes Santos Pereira said: “It has been such a rush to have the vehicle here for display. The mobile unit arrived in Faro at midnight on Thursday, and on Friday it had to be sent to have the logos and contacts put on. Work continued until very late on Sunday night so that it could be here in Portimão today.

“There was not even enough time to finish installing all the equipment. Anyway, the most important thing is that, finally, the Algarve has a mobile screening unit to fight against this cancer!” she said proudly.

60 women will be examined daily

For the moment, the service will purely be offered to users of the national health service in the Algarve. Women between the ages of 45 and 70 will automatically be called to take part in the screening programme, and it is foreseen that around 60 women will be screened at the mobile unit every day.

The mobile mammography unit is staffed by two radiologists and two technicians, and the screening programme is set to begin in Alcoutim in September. Travelling from East to West, working its way along the coast, the unit will be parked outside the Centro de Saúde (health centre) in each area for the duration of the screening.

Have you registered at

your local health centre?

Patient lists are compiled from records held by the Administração Regional de Saúde (ARS), the regional health authority, at its network of health centres throughout the Algarve. It is, therefore, essential to register for a Cartão de Utente (health card) at your nearest centro de saúde, if you have not already – or you will not be called up to be screened.

Early detection is very important

It is medically proven that early detection of cancer increases the survival rate and the life expectancy of the sufferer. As well as regular screening, self-examination is very important to make sure no changes or abnormalities have occurred.

Hard work has been worthwhile

The new screening service will help greatly to ensure the health and wellbeing of women in the Algarve, and it is a triumph for the AOA and for all those who have worked so devotedly to raise the funds to make it possible. Caroline Cunha