By: Kendall Louis
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, heightening our focus on prevention of the disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2016. An estimated 600,000 people will die of the disease this year.
On the bright side, we have more knowledge and tools than ever to prevent and detect cancer. Regular screenings are the greatest defense, and with early detection, treatments are more likely to be successful.
For some, however, mammograms are not an option. Lack of insurance or proximity to screening facilities can act as deterrents. That’s where the Moncrief Cancer Institute steps…or rolls…in.
Its $1.1 million mobile clinic hits the road bringing free mammograms and cervical screenings to the uninsured and those who qualify. In addition to mammograms and pap tests, the mobile clinic offers specialized help for those who have survived cancer (both men and women). Services include one-on-one fitness training, nutrition counseling and visits with nurses and psychologists. If questions can’t be answered on-site, patients are directed to specialists at Moncrief and its partner UT Southwestern Medical Center via telemedicine links.
“We don’t turn any cancer survivors away, and we don’t send anyone a bill,” said Tracy Mazour, RN, who leads the institute’s survivor program. “The mobile clinic allows patients in Tarrant and eight surrounding counties to get the same survivor services offered at our headquarters in Fort Worth.”
Moncrief Director Keith Argenbright, M.D., says the Mobile Cancer Survivor Clinic is the first of its kind in Texas. “Our goal is to restore cancer patients back to health and prevent recurrence, no matter where you live in North Texas,” Argenbright said. “Even after surviving the disease, cancer survivors face a range of issues including pain, difficulties with range of motion, depression, anxiety and poor nutrition. We can help.”
Moncrief patient and breast cancer survivor, Angela Johnson, says, “I had Stage 3 breast cancer, no insurance, and I didn’t know what I was going to do to prevent cancer again…Then I heard about Moncrief.” Johnson lost 40 pounds after working out with Moncrief’s exercise trainer. Like other survivors in the program, she received personalized exercise sessions and nutrition counseling.
The Moncrief Cancer Institute serves patients in more than 30 counties and provides nearly 10,000 mammograms a year. It does this through grants from organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, Centers for Disease Control and Texas Department of State Health Services.
For mammograms and pap tests, women may call 800.405.7739. To enroll in the free Cancer Survivor Program, go to moncrief.com/survivors or call 800.405.7739. If you’re interested in bringing the mobile clinic to your workplace, church or a community event, call 817.288.9878.
Moncrief Cancer Institute
400 W. Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth 76104
By: Kendall Louis