Skip to main content

Tarrant County Awards $9 Million to Moncrief Cancer Institute for Cancer Screening Program for Underserved Residents

Submitted by tracy.greene on

FORT WORTH, Texas—The Tarrant County Commissioners Court voted on Tuesday, January 18 to award a $9 million grant to Moncrief Cancer Institute to develop a comprehensive cancer screening program for underserved residents throughout the county served by all members of the Commissioners Court. The program will include large-scale education and outreach efforts and provide screen-eligible residents the opportunity to receive free breast, cervical, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer screenings on Moncrief’s 18-wheeler Mobile Screening Clinic. The grant will be awarded over three years and is part of the approximately $400 million Tarrant County is receiving from the American Rescue Plan, the federal package designed to aid in the country’s recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent study conducted by the Epic Health Research Network, screening rates for common cancers continued to plummet in 2021 despite a brief recovery in late 2020. By June 2021, weekly volumes for breast cancer screenings were 29% below the historical average, colorectal cancer screenings were 36% below, and cervical cancer screenings were 35% below (compared to pre-pandemic levels in early 2020).

“These numbers are concerning as even temporary disruptions in cancer screenings can cause long-term increases in cancer incidence and mortality,” said Keith Argenbright, M.D., Director, Moncrief Cancer Institute and Professor, UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. “With this program, we are working to avoid a post-pandemic cancer crisis by providing free cancer screening services to the most vulnerable residents in Tarrant County. The earlier we can detect cancer, the more options we have for successfully treating it. This grant allows us to serve tens of thousands in our community, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have a big impact on the health of our neighbors.”

Because this newly-funded program is an expansion of Moncrief Cancer Institute’s existing screening efforts, Moncrief is ready to provide screenings for Tarrant County’s underserved community on its Mobile Screening Clinic, which is equipped with the latest medical technologies including digital 3D mammography and high-speed telemedicine links to cancer experts. The multilingual education campaign and community outreach begins next month.

“As a cancer survivor, I am thrilled with the opportunity for Tarrant County to partner with the Moncrief Cancer Institute to bring comprehensive cancer screening to underserved residents throughout Tarrant County,” said Tarrant County Precinct 1 Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks. “It has been proven that many cancers, if detected early, respond better to treatment and produce life-prolonging results.”

Moncrief Cancer Institute is a nonprofit, community-based early detection and support center, and part of UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in North Texas. Moncrief Cancer Institute offers an exceptional level of academic medical expertise in cancer services.