Driving Access to Care

New Mobile Unit Brings Lung Cancer Screening to Rural Patients

Levine Cancer Institute Mobile Cancer Screening

It’s a common challenge that underserved patients living in rural areas have long faced: How to access quality care often found only in cities that are seemingly a world away? 

Now, thanks to the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and the Levine Cancer Institute, lung cancer patients in rural parts of North and South Carolina not living near a major cancer research center have the opportunity to receive quality lung cancer screening services and care.

On Wednesday the Foundation and the Charlotte-based cancer center launched the first mobile lung computed tomography (CT) unit in the U.S. to address lung cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival disparities for rural populations across North and South Carolina.

The mobile lung unit is the first-of-its-kind to link rural populations to lung cancer education and treatment interventions through integrated mobile technology, traditional treatment facilities and medical staff.

Levine Cancer Screening Mobile Unit

A Roadmap to Extend Survivorship

“It is our belief that this mobile screening program could lead to a new industry standard for how initial diagnosis and care for lung cancer patients should transpire to ensure quality outcomes and extended survivorship,” said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

The mobile CT scanning unit will be deployed into vulnerable communities in North and South Carolina where access to care is limited. By eliminating the transportation, financial, and resource barriers to care that prevent patients from accessing early diagnosis and, intervention, this initiative will help improve the quality of life and enhance survivorship for lung cancer patients in the Carolinas.

Historically known as the Tobacco Belt, North and South Carolina share some of the highest incidence and mortality rates from lung cancer nationwide. Lack of transportation to medical facilities, inability to secure the support resources necessary for adequate preventive care and poor understanding of risk factors block thousands of Americans from receiving necessary testing.

Since 2014, the Foundation’s Bridging Cancer Care™ initiative has been working to help expand the current limited scope of community-based resources and survivorship support programs to the underserved populations in the U.S.

In addition to the mobile unit, the grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation provides funding for a comprehensive education, navigation and clinical intervention program, known as the Lung B.A.S.E.S. 4 Life program. The program will help improve early identification of lung disease as well as provide comprehensive education, navigation and clinical intervention.

“We are proud to partner with Levine Cancer Institute on the Lung B.A.S.E.S. 4 Life comprehensive screening program to demonstrate that cutting edge cancer screening can happen in the most rural communities in our country,” Damonti added. “We hope this will move the needle in terms of lung cancer survival and will provide a template for other states and organizations to follow.”