The Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic, a customized on-the-road initiative that will offer follow-up care and screening services to cancer survivors within the region of Texas, has been presented and will be fully operational in April. The creators of the initiative, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center‘s Moncrief Cancer Institute and the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center announced the opening date of the clinic in a press release.
Equipped with 18-wheeler private exam rooms and exercise facilities the Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic is expected to start providing 3-D mammography and colon cancer screenings. In addition, it will offer high-speed telemedicine to connect cancer specialists and counseling services at both the Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth and the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dallas.
The Harold C. Simmons center is currently the only cancer center in North Texas to hold the designation of National Cancer Institute and will now support the new clinic with its services. Innovative features of the Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic include bilingual services planned to reach patients from nine rural counties in the region, including 15,000 cancer survivors in a poor insurance situation or underserved care.
“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,” said the president of UT Southwestern, Daniel K. Podolsky. “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.”
The traveling clinic is a 13.5-foot-high, 75-foot-long unit, designed to fulfill the medical needs of patients recovering from cancer. In addition to a reception area, there are two private rooms for patient examination, a suite for the performance of 3-D mammography, an adjacent dressing room and a room for exercise with a seated elliptical machine for patients to do one-on-one training sessions.
Within the Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic a physician assistant, a certified cancer exercise therapist, a registered dietitian, and a registered nurse navigator are going to travel through the counties of Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Hood, Erath, Somervell, Johnson, Ellis, and Navarro to monitor patients. In these regions, about 55% of the population is estimated to be medically underserved, while one third of the patients who suffered from cancer are also highly likely to miss follow-up health care due to poor facilities or transportation.
“This new mobile clinic extends the reach of Simmons Cancer Center in North Texas,” stated the director of UT Southwestern’s Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth and Associate Professor of Clinical Science at the Simmons Cancer Center, Keith Argenbright, who will be the supervisor 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.
“Our collaboration brings the expertise of top physicians in the cancer field to those who have the most difficulty accessing services,” added the associate dean of Oncology Programs, professor and director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, James K. Willson. “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.”
The initiative was designed and supported by UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Moncrief Cancer Institute and the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in order to address the increasing medical needs of cancer survivors. While the number of cancer survivors is higher than ever, there is still a lack of follow-up care as a way of reducing further complications, such as pain, motion difficulties, depression, anxiety, fatigue, poor nutrition, and muscle weakness.