Feasibility of Mobile Cancer Screening and Prevention


Many areas have high cancer mortality rates and medically underserved populations. This study describes the feasibility (acceptability and costs) of an urban multiphasic (multiple cancers) screening van. Feasibility was evaluated by literature review and informant interviews. Costs were estimated by resource use from urban mobile screening units; decision analysis estimated the costs per cancer detected for breast, cervix, colorectal, and prostate cancer screening. Acceptability of a multiphasic van varied by the informant's perspective. Feasibility and costs were most sensitive to four parameters: age, prior screening history, risk factors, and volume of simultaneous examinations. Subsidized mobile screening facilities may have the potential to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality if they target hard-to-reach underscreened groups, maintain high volume, coordinate with primary care providers, and build on an infrastructure that provides diagnostic and treatment services regardless of ability to pay. It is unclear whether the investment required will translate into a reasonable cost per year of life saved.