Teresa Argenbright Wordsmith

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Professional Pieces & Personal Musings 

Professional/Community Report - Excerpts

Excerpts from the 2012 Community Report for Moncrief Cancer Institute, an affiliate of UT Southwestern Medical Center of Dallas

At the time of its founding, Moncrief Cancer Institute was on the leading edge of community cancer care. Through the years, our leadership has ensured fidelity to the original vision by providing the best, most inclusive and innovative care to cancer patients in North Texas.

Our reciprocal relationship with UT Southwestern Medical Center affords us participation in research that provides not only novel approaches to caring for widely varied populations, but also the first insights into the constantly evolving world of medical advancement and health care delivery.

At present, Moncrief Cancer Institute is involved with numerous projects that offer patient care and/or assessment, as well as information bearing a potential impact on the future of cancer care and its delivery.

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Screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) can lower death rates and even prevent some cancers from developing. However, national CRC screening rates are low for the uninsured, resulting in a higher-than-average death rate. In Tarrant County, of the patients enrolled in JPS Health Network, the county’s safety-net health system for the uninsured and underinsured, just 39% have been screened for CRC, and the majority of patients who develop colorectal cancer have an advanced stage at the time of diagnosis.

Moncrief Cancer Institute and JPS Health Network established an alliance to develop and test a colorectal cancer outreach program for the uninsured patients of JPS Health Network. The program began in 2010 and is funded by CPRIT grants of almost $1,000,000. In addition to screening more people, the program sought to measure the participation rate for two modes of CRC screening, as well as compare the cost-effectiveness of this prevention program.

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From the perspective of one who has never been diagnosed with cancer, the completion of active treatment would appear to be a cause for celebration. But to the cancer patient, the end of treatment sometimes seems like reaching the end of a lifeline. This bleak outlook is due to anxieties ranging from questions about how to resume a “normal” lifestyle to confusion about ongoing surveillance and the fear of recurrence.

These very concerns were at the forefront of the design process for ProComS, the Fort Worth Program for Community Survivorship. The program grew from the recognition that while survivorship services were available to cancer survivors in the Fort Worth area, they were fragmented and typically offered only at select hospitals and clinics.



Teresa Argenbright