Kim Sikes, store manager of the Aiken Belk, has a family history of breast cancer.


So, when the BelkGives on the Go Mobile Mammography Center – in partnership with Charlotte Radiology and Foundation for Carolinas – stopped at the Aiken Mall on Friday, Sikes thought it was a good time to get another screening done.


“I was the first one in the store to make an appointment,” she said.


Her 10:15 a.m. appointment was her third time having the screening done.


“The very first time (I did it), I was apprehensive,” she said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I encourage all ladies to have this done.”


And that she did. Once Cathleen Bates, assistant director of the Mobile Mammography Center, contacted her about coming to Aiken, Sikes was psyched. She told her employees, and the store passed out flyers and business cards.


“I think this is so innovative,” she said about the operation. “It helps the community.”


Friday was the first time the Center had come to Aiken, Bates said.


“We just wanted to reach out to as many communities (as possible),” she said.


Aiken is the second stop of the tour. This year, Belk aims to cover every store in North and South Carolina, while also traveling to Tennessee.


Charlotte Radiology female mammography technicians conduct the screenings in the digital mammography examination room in the back of the vehicle.


The radiology company holds a status of being a national leader in breast health services, according to a release.


“We are strongly committed to bringing life-saving mammography screenings to communities with limited access,” said Dr. Matthew Gromet, one of the company’s physicians and section chief of mammography services.


The mobile center treats women 40 and older.


“The American Cancer Society recommends screening begin at 40 with a follow-up every year after,” Bates said.


Other requirements to be screened are for a woman to have no current breast concerns, to not have had a mammogram done within the last year and to have current standing with a physician.


“If a patient has had breast cancer (previously), etc., they are going to know if they are going to need to have a screening or a diagnostic,” Bates said. And its important to have a physician for “follow-up care.”


A patient must also submit prior images and answer questions on medical history.


Once the patient is seen, results are processed and mailed to her and her physician.


Booking an appointment ahead of time is highly recommended.


Rhoda Burns, owner and director of Burns Dance Studio, not only made sure to schedule an appointment, but that she was the first person in Aiken to be seen.


“I like to be the first person in the morning so you do not wind up waiting too long,” she said.


Burns has been through the screening process before, and understands its importance due to her mother’s medical past.


“My mother has had several lumps removed,” Burns said.


A customer of Belk, Burns sees the mobile center as convenient.


The mobile unit will be parked in front of Belk today from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. They are booked up for the day, though there is a cancellation list. Those on the list who are able to get an appointment will be notified in sufficient time, Bates said.


To make an appointment, call 855-655-2662.


To track the bus or for more information on the center, visit www.belk.com/pink or www.facebook.com/belk/events.