Putting Cancer Screening on Wheels
Dietz & Watson Funds Mobile Cancer Screening Program at Jefferson Health
PHILADELPHIA – Jefferson Health’s Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is launching a Mobile Cancer Screening program to better serve vulnerable populations in Greater Philadelphia. The mobile unit will deploy the latest imaging technology to detect cancers of the breast, prostate, head and neck, as well as melanomas. It will also provide patient education and connection to additional cancer center resources, such as the smoking cessation program and cancer clinical trials. The initiative was made possible by a $1.4 million gift from Dietz & Watson.
“The Mobile Cancer Screening program allows Jefferson to bring high-quality, preventive cancer screening directly to areas where health care is not easily accessible,” said Bruce A. Meyer, MD, MBA, president of Jefferson Health. “About 25 percent of households in Philadelphia don’t have their own transportation for health care appointments. By going directly to our neighbors who need help, we will increase rates of early detection throughout the city. We are incredibly grateful to Dietz & Watson for their commitment to the community and for partnering with Jefferson to make this possible.”
There are nearly 5 million people living in the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center’s catchment area, and cancer incidence and mortality rates there are higher than national and state (both Pennsylvania and New Jersey) levels. Cancer is second leading cause of death in region (after heart disease), and racial and ethnic minorities face particular challenges:
- African American men have 111 percent higher risk of dying from prostate cancer
- African American women have 39 percent higher risk of dying from breast cancer
- African American and Hispanic women are 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer
“There are scores of underserved people in our region, including in cancer screening and cancer care, so we jumped at the opportunity to fund this amazing Mobile Cancer Screening unit as soon as we heard about it,” said Cindy Yingling, CFO, and one of the fourth generation family owners of Dietz & Watson. “Jefferson Health is working hard to bring better health care to people in all of our communities and we are proud to support them.”
Dietz & Watson is a fourth generation, family-owned business and a trusted brand in Philadelphia. The company takes a caring and hands-on approach to their neighbors as well as their family business, supporting community initiatives in Food Insecurity, Cancer Research, Women’s Housing, Hunger Relief, LGBT Matters, and more. When COVID-19 surged, Dietz & Watson provided hot lunches to hospital workers, first responders, and public-works employees.
The Mobile Cancer Screening program plans to work with community and business partners who may have a sizeable immigrant or limited English-speaking workforce or patient clientele. There will be no fee to bring the screening unit to a business or organization. “We want their members to easily understand what we are and what we are there to do,” said Erik Soto, program manager for the Mobile Cancer Screening Unit.
The 45-foot-long vehicle will include private changing rooms and a mammogram area staffed by a certified mammography technologist from Jefferson Health. Equipped with the latest in advanced imaging technology, it will feature 3-D Screening Mammography, which takes multiple X-rays of breast tissue to recreate a 3-D picture of the breast.
“We absolutely must change the disparities in cancer deaths, and this is a critical tool that takes our expert care to the streets of Philadelphia,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. “Dietz & Watson is a true community champion as we pursue our vision of health care at any address.”