Mobile cancer survivor clinic to hit the road

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

By: Janet St. James


A custom-built million dollar big rig is a first-of-its-kind Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic.

Dr. Daniel Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, said the clinic will “bring access to vitally-needed services to many who are otherwise Road underserved in our community.”

UT Southwestern and the Moncrief Cancer Institute debuted the travelling clinic Wednesday morning.

The 75-foot long trailer contains a 3-D mammography unit; exercise equipment for personal training; two patient exam rooms; and secure telemedicine links to give patients free access to essential follow-up care.

The travelling clinic will serve nine rural North Texas counties, where 15,000 underserved and under-insured cancer survivors live.

“They frequently can’t come in,” explained UT Southwestern oncologist Dr. Theodora Ross. “They’re 60 miles away. They have disabilities. They work three jobs. And so we can do a house call.”

Moncrief Cancer Institute director Dr. Keith Argenbright noted that cancer patients often have a difficult time moving around. “So what we want to be able to do is take this care to them — where they live — where it’s most convenient for them.”

More people are surviving cancer than ever before, increasing the need for follow-up care. According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer survivors will account for more than 5 percent of the U.S. population by the year 2022. That’s roughly 18 million people.

Many survivors face a range of ongoing medical and mental challenges, including anxiety, pain, and poor nutrition. The Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic will aim to address all of those needs through personal appointments and seminars.

Linda Mansky, a breast cancer survivor who lives in Mansfield, believes a house call will relieve a huge burden for those who can’t travel.

“I just think it’s a real important thing for their well-being,” she said.

The Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic is funded by a federal grant, and is considered a first of its kind because it is not designated for pre-cancer screening, but rather follow-up care. It will hit the road in April.