Cancer Liaison Physician Report - Community Comprehensive Cancer Center 2011 Annual Report
Delivering optimal cancer treatment has become very complicated including multimodality care and neoadjuvant treatments. We believe that Camden-Clark Community Comprehensive Cancer Center provides cost effective high quality cancer care in a convenient setting.
The administration’s focus on technology expanded the number of novel therapeutics available to our patients. As an example, the radiation oncology department acquired a brand new Nucletron HDR after-loading brachytherapy system.
Selected breast cancer patients can be treated now in 5-days-only with Mammosite brachytherapy using the Nucletron-HDR system, instead of the 5-7 week long external radiation therapy. The availability of HDR for prostate cancer treatment expanded the indications for brachytherapy. Now I can treat in 2-days-only some of those patients who required 8-9 week long external radiation therapy in the past because they were not candidates for prostate seed implant. Brachytherapy for gynecological cancer is now an out-patient HDR radiation treatment, contrary to LDR brachytherapy that required 48-72 hour implants, strict bed rest and 3 days hospital stay in the past.
Our team approach is the key of a coordinated cancer care – our medical oncologists and radiation oncologists collaborate closely with the referring physicians. If a cancer patient is referred to us, an oncology expert can see the patient usually within 48 hours, but we are available anytime for cancer emergencies. We ensure continuity of care through excellence in communication with our referring physicians who stay involved in all treatment decisions. After the treatments are completed patients quickly return to the care of their referring physicians.
We review routine and complex cancer case management at the well attended weekly Cancer Conference (tumor board), including the applicable clinical trials that are available for our patients.
Our cancer survival data is periodically presented at the Cancer Committee Meetings to provide feedback from our tumor registry and to compare our results with other comprehensive community cancer centers. We are proud that our survival data is actually better then other centers for some cancer sites, including head and neck cancers.
Patients will notice a better patient flow thanks to the recent addition of a patient navigator to the oncology team. We are also recruiting an additional medical oncologist, and a thoracic cancer surgeon with expertise in minimally invasive techniques to complement our cancer care team.
In response to the challenges of a growing patient population, we are in the process of implementing a new paperless electronic medical records system to link seamlessly the Memorial and the St. Joseph campuses with the cancer center.
To explore the role of social media in community outreach, I launched the CancerForum on Facebook, networking with cancer patients, cancer survivors, their families and friends to promote cancer awareness, prevention and screening.
Our philosophy is to encourage patients to share their preferences in cancer care decision making after explaining their options. Our commitment is to provide cutting edge cancer treatment and a patient- and family-focused care.
Gabor Altdorfer, M.D.
Cancer Liaison Physician for the Commission on Cancer
Camden-Clark Medical Center