Blum Resource Van brings cancer education and resources to local communities

December 7, 2020
Blum Resource Van

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is committed to reducing the burden of cancer in medically underserved communities. Our Blum Family Resource Center Van is a centerpiece of this commitment—bringing Dana-Farber expertise and services, free of charge, directly to people in the communities and neighborhoods where they live and work. The Blum Van focuses its efforts in two areas—skin cancer screening and prevention as well as HPV education to prevent cervical and oral cancers.

Skin Cancer Outreach

Because skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, with an estimated 1 in 5 Americans developing the disease in their lifetime, skin cancer education is a primary pillar of the Blum Van’s mission. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall months, the Blum Van travels to beaches, schools, universities, and community health centers across Massachusetts to deliver its Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention Program. Participants can receive free, on-site, full-body skin assessment from a dermatologist, learning immediately whether follow-up care is recommended.

Studies show that despite the higher incidence of melanoma in Caucasians, overall melanoma survival for people of color is significantly lower. This disparity is due, in part, to later-stage diagnosis of the disease in patients of color and disproportionate access to cancer care and treatment.

The Blum Van also partners with community organizations to provide screenings to letter carriers, fishermen, homeless populations, and other vulnerable groups, and has referred some of these patients to follow-up care for early stage skin cancer. In 2017, of the 706 individuals screened for skin cancer, 206 were referred for follow-up evaluations.

HPV Outreach

Cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are on the rise, with an estimated 80 million Americans living with the virus. The Blum Van is instrumental in Dana-Farber’s efforts to reduce barriers to care and provide accurate, culturally appropriate education to communities that are disproportionately affected by HPV.

Latina and Black women have the highest rates of HPV-associated cervical cancer locally and nationally, and they are typically diagnosed at a later stage. Initiatives like the Blum Resource Van’s aim to help reduce these types of medical disparities.

Based on the innovative nature and success of the HPV outreach program, Dana-Farber’s model has sparked interest at other cancer centers around the country, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Your support of the Jimmy Fund helps Dana-Farber Cancer Institute support educational programs in medically underserved communities. Dana-Farber is committed to offering quality, lifesaving, cancer care to people of all backgrounds, and your donations make this type of outreach possible.