Newswise — DALLAS – Feb. 18, 2015 – UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Moncrief Cancer Institute and Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center debuted the Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic – a custom-designed, $1.1 million, fully equipped 18-wheeler that can deliver follow-up and screening services to cancer survivors in their communities.
Starting in April, the Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic will offer 3-D mammography, colon cancer screenings, private exam rooms, exercise facilities for one-on-one training, and high-speed telemedicine links to cancer experts and counseling services at UT Southwestern’s Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth and the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dallas, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in North Texas and one of only 68 in the nation.
The bilingual cancer survivor services will target nine rural North Texas counties covering more than 7,000 square miles, where an estimated 15,000 uninsured and underserved cancer survivors often don’t have convenient access to cancer experts and related facilities.
“The Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic reflects UT Southwestern’s commitment to improve patient care and expand convenient access to the outstanding medical expertise available at UT Southwestern and its Moncrief Cancer Institute. We are committed to making it possible for even those who live at a distance from our facilities to benefit from the research, genetic counseling, and other services that would not otherwise be available in these communities,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O'Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.
The traveling clinic will serve Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Hood, Erath, Somervell, Johnson, Ellis, and Navarro counties – a region where 55 percent of the population is considered medically underserved and where one-third of cancer survivors are considered at risk of failing to adhere to essential follow-up care due to the lack of facilities, lack of transportation, and other factors.
“This new mobile clinic extends the reach of Simmons Cancer Center in North Texas,” said Dr. Keith Argenbright, Director of UT Southwestern’s Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth and Associate Professor of Clinical Science at the Simmons Cancer Center. Dr. Argenbright will serve as supervising physician for the Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic. “The clinic’s state-of-the-art telecommunication capability will enable UT Southwestern physicians in other locations to provide consultations for patients through secure videoconferencing technology,” he added.
Today, more people are surviving cancer than ever before – increasing the need for follow-up care. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has estimated that by 2022 cancer survivors will account for more than 5 percent of the U.S. population, or about 18 million people. Even after surviving the disease, cancer survivors face a range of issues including pain, difficulties with range of motion, depression, anxiety, fatigue, poor nutrition, and muscle weakness.
“Our collaboration brings the expertise of top physicians in the cancer field to those who have the most difficulty accessing services,” said Dr. James K. Willson, Associate Dean of Oncology Programs, Professor and Director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, Professor of Internal Medicine, and holder of The Lisa K. Simmons Distinguished Chair in Comprehensive Oncology. “Consistent follow-up and yearly cancer screenings enable the identification of new cancer diagnoses or recurrence at an earlier stage of disease, decreasing the financial burden and improving the potential for recovery and long-term survival,” he added.
The 13.5-foot-high, 75-foot-long Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic is equipped to address the challenges facing those recovering from cancer with custom-designed features that include a reception area, two private patient examination rooms, a 3-D mammography suite with dressing room, and an exercise room with a seated elliptical machine for one-on-one training sessions. Staff members include a physician assistant, a certified cancer exercise therapist, a registered dietitian, and a registered nurse navigator, who can help identify and coordinate needed resources.
Since its inception in May 2011, Moncrief Cancer Institute has provided services more than 6,000 times through its Community Survivorship Program in Fort Worth, and plans to provide services more than 5,600 times in surrounding rural and underserved areas over the next three years. Through the generosity of the William A. and Elizabeth B. Moncrief Foundation, the institute funds cancer screening and survivor services in Tarrant and 33 surrounding counties.
Moncrief Cancer Institute is an affiliate of UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, which includes 13 major cancer care programs with a focus on treating the whole patient with innovative treatments, while fostering groundbreaking basic research that has the potential to improve patient care and prevention of cancer worldwide. In addition, the Center’s education and training programs support and develop the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians.
The Simmons Cancer Center is among only 30 U.S. cancer research centers to be named a National Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Participating Site, a prestigious new designation by the NCI, and the only Cancer Center in North Texas to be so designated. The designation and associated funding is designed to bolster the cancer center’s clinical cancer research for adults and to provide patients access to cancer research trials sponsored by the NCI, where promising new drugs often are tested.
About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. Numbering approximately 2,800, the faculty is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to about 92,000 hospitalized patients and oversee approximately 2.1 million outpatient visits a year.