Mobile Units Drive Cancer Screening Program in Workplaces

The Prevention on the Go program has detected more than 50 cases of cancer over a 4-year period.

Cancer prevention and early detection efforts are needed in many communities across the country. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases in the United States this year as well as 608,570 deaths from cancer. Louisiana alone may account for 27,880 of those new cases, and 9380 cancer deaths.1

Seeking to address cancers at their earliest stages, the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Louisiana launched a workplace cancer screening initiative in 2016 that has since proven successful. An overview of this initiative, part of the Prevention on the Go program, was provided during a session of the virtual Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) 47th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit.2

Presenter Renea Austin-Duffin, MPA, vice president, Cancer Support and Outreach at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Louisiana, discussed the origins of the Prevention on the Go program and how it has evolved.2

“When we began the program, we were targeting uninsured and underinsured individuals. Now, we are [also] targeting workplaces,” Austin-Duffin said.

The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center was opened in 1971 to provide a community-owned, nonprofit radiation facility for the Baton Rouge region. The center has since grown to include services at 9 sites in Louisiana. These services focus on cancer prevention and education, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and palliative and supportive care.2

The program began offering mobile cancer screening services, then dubbed “Early Bird,” in 2006. Rebranded “Prevention on the Go” in 2013, the program added its workplace initiatives, including prevention education, several years later to address the health care needs of many more adults.2

“In discussions with employees, we found that it was just too difficult and challenging to leave [work], go to the doctor’s office, and go back to work, to get those cancer screenings,” Austin-Duffin said. “Our mobile clinic drives right up to the [workplace] door and provides services.”

A typical visit to the mobile clinic takes no more than 10-15 minutes, she added.

According to Austin-Duffin, the mobile clinics are equipped with several exam rooms. Health care professionals on board will immediately address abnormal findings with patients and provide further instruction to those individuals who need additional care. The program also connects individuals to cancer navigation support services and provides genetic risk assessments.2

The mobile program detected 51 cases of cancer and removed 150 precancerous lesions from 2016 to 2020. In one case, a woman’s cancer was detected through cancer screening during a workplace visit.2

“She had a pretty significant skin cancer on her nose. Had we not visited her site, she never would have gotten [care for it],” said Austin-Duffin.

According to Austin-Duffin, outreach has been limited since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, as many employees have been working in remote locations.

“We are not able to get their screenings on site,” she said.

The mobile clinics visit many different types of workplace locations, and not only office buildings. According to Austin-Duffin, a local car dealership that has repeatedly hosted the clinics for employees is an example of a unique location.2

The program currently operates mobile clinics at 40 worksites. According to Austin-Duffin, 57% of the 3767 employees who were screened from 2016 to 2020 had never had a cancer screening prior to the Prevention on the Go visit.2

The mobile clinics are also available to spouses and children of employees at their workplace locations.

“We want to make sure that their family members are covered as well and understand what their risks are,” Austin-Duffin said.

Ultimately, the goal of the Prevention on the Go program is to improve quality of life and outcomes for individuals and their families. The mobile units are currently being deployed in 30 Louisiana parishes, and Austin-Duffin said the center is receiving inquiries from other parts of the state that may offer expansion opportunities.2


REFERENCES

  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Statistics Center. American Cancer Society. 202 Accessed March 2, 2021. https://cancerstatisticscenter.cancer.org/#!/
  2. Austin-Duffin R. Prevention on the Go—Workplace. Presented at: Association of Community Cancer Centers 47th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit; virtual. March 1-5, 2021.