The Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma is acquiring a mobile CT scanner that can screen for lung cancer. The scanner will be housed in a large RV and driven to rural communities to provide potentially life-saving scans. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, but early detection greatly improves survival rates. The mobile scanner aims to make screening more accessible and convenient, especially for underserved populations. By going into local communities, people who otherwise may not get screened due to cost or distance barriers can now get this potentially lifesaving test close to home. The scanner is expected to be operational in 2023 following staff training and test runs. This initiative aligns with the cancer center’s mission to reduce the burden of cancer statewide.

Brian D. King | The Norman Transcript

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a $1.7 million gift from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust that will create a mobile lung cancer screening vehicle.

Mark Doescher, director of Community Engagement and Outreach at OU’s Stephenson Cancer Center, said the university would match funding to pay for clinicians and maintenance of the unit.

The center has developed the Oklahoma Mobile Lung Cancer Screening Action Network, or LUNG SCAN, an organization that will oversee the mobile unit.

“We’re building the state’s first vehicle that can go to rural communities, tribal communities and other high need communities where the rates of lung cancer are high,” Doescher said. “It’s really important because in rural locations where there have been hospital closures, or where distances are just long to get to the nearest facility with a CT scanner, people are less likely to get screened.”

He said between 75-80% of Oklahoma women are getting scanned for breast cancer, but only 5% are getting scanned for lung cancer.