Today Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah unveiled the Cancer Screening and Education bus. This new, state-of-the-art mobile outreach clinic brings HCI's clinical and educational expertise and the latest screening technology to residents across Utah, including those who live in distant geographic areas and rural communities.
The mobile outreach vehicle is a collaboration between HCI and University of Utah Health (U of U Health) and will offer health education and screening services for breast cancer and skin cancer.
All Utahns should have an equal opportunity to attain their full health potential. This new service extends our commitment to addressing the cancer-related needs of Utah by proactively bringing high-quality, convenient services directly to our neighborhoods and families."
Mary Beckerle, PhD, HCI CEO
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 11,600 Utahns will be diagnosed with cancer in 2019. Of those, 1,600 will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Utah has long been listed among the states with low breast cancer screening rates, regardless of insurance coverage. In addition, Utah leads the nation in melanoma incidence rates, a trend that continues to rise. In 2019, more than 1,100 Utahns will be diagnosed with this dangerous form of skin cancer that begins in the pigment-producing cells of the skin. Risk factors include a lighter natural skin color, skin that burns and freckles easily, high altitude, and time spent outdoors.
Finding cancer early is one of the most important ways to increase a person's chance of survival. "Routine cancer screening is the best way to identify and detect cancers early," said John Ward, MD, HCI interim physician-in-chief and breast oncologist. "Efforts to increase access to routine breast and skin cancer screenings are top priorities. We recommend that all women 40 and older receive a mammogram each year, and all adults should visit a dermatologist once a year for a total-body skin exam."
The 45-foot-long, custom-designed RV includes exterior photos of Utah's diverse residents and was inspired by community members, including HCI's Community Advisory Board. The interior reflects the inspirational and healing space of HCI's cancer hospital and is equipped with the latest in 3D mammography equipment, an exam room for skin cancer screenings, private changing rooms, and a waiting/education area. It also includes an ADA-approved wheelchair lift to guarantee accessibility to all.
Certified mammography technicians will perform the mammograms and board-certified radiologists will interpret the results and provide follow-up, if necessary. HCI and U of U Health dermatology providers will perform the skin cancer screenings.
Patients will also be able to speak with health educators about the importance of cancer prevention and screening and lifestyle strategies that can reduce their risk of developing cancer. Patients who require follow-up care will be referred to one of HCI's hospital or community clinics in Salt Lake City, Farmington, South Jordan, and Sugarhouse (opening Oct. 2019).
"We have an enormous opportunity to bring HCI-level care into areas that are unable to connect to our brick-and-mortar locations," said Don Milligan, MBA, senior director of program and business development for HCI's cancer hospital. "We are taking this bus on the road year-round and partnering with community health clinics and dozens of community organizations, including the Utah Department of Health and American Cancer Society, to meet people where they live and work and make it convenient for them to be screened."
The bus will hit the road in September, visiting disadvantaged populations in urban areas, businesses, church groups, and rural communities. To learn more or request mobile cancer screening and education services, visit huntsmancancer.org/screening.