|Achievement reflects quality of program in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and patient support.
LANGHORNE, Pa., July 10, 2008 – St. Mary Medical Center announced that it has earned recertification approval with commendation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) – a distinction bestowed upon the best cancer programs in the United States. The St. Mary Regional Cancer Center opened in 1988 and earned the certification approval for the first time in 1991. The St. Mary cancer program has maintained this prestigious designation consecutively for the past 18 years, and has earned approval with commendation for the last six years. Applying for and maintaining ACoS approval is a significant voluntary commitment to a quality program that ensures patients have access to a comprehensive range of services required to diagnose, treat and support patients with cancer and their families.
The ACoS Approvals Program recognizes that cancer is a complex group of diseases and sets standards that advocate consultation among surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary focus results in improved patient care designed to meet the individual needs of each patient.
Just 25 percent of hospitals nationwide receive the ACoS cancer program certification. Approval is given only to cancer centers that voluntarily commit to providing the best in diagnosis and treatment and submit to a rigorous evaluation process and performance review.
“Approval with commendation signifies we are exceeding national standards and is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our physicians, nurses, tumor registrars, and support staff,” says Oncology Program Director Bill Trojan.
As outlined by the ACoS, receiving care through a cancer program approved by the Commission on Cancer ensures that a patient will have access to: quality care close to home; comprehensive care offering a range of state-of-the-art services and equipment; a multispecialty team approach to coordinate the best treatment options available to cancer patients; information about cancer clinical trials, education, and support; lifelong patient follow-up through a cancer registry that collects data on the type and stage of cancers and treatment results; and ongoing monitoring and improvement of cancer care.
St. Mary Radiology/Oncology Service Line Administrator Sue Monte explained the importance of this achievement to the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center, which ultimately serves as an extraordinary asset to the southeastern Pennsylvania region. “St. Mary has worked tirelessly to achieve and maintain this distinction from the ACoS through its seamless integration of services that offer high quality care and support to cancer patients throughout the diagnosis, treatment, and
recovery processes,” Monte says. “St. Mary is committed to investing in the latest technology and recruiting highly trained and skilled doctors that allows the medical center to continually grow in serving the needs of the community, offering the most comprehensive services to patients and their families.”
In the past year, St. Mary has further demonstrated this strong commitment to cancer care in implementing new state-of-the-art services and treatment options. More than $13.2 million was invested in five highly specialized technologies that aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. These advancements include a Wide-Bore Computed Tomography (CT) to enhance precision in radiation-treatment planning; High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy that targets tumors internally; Positron Emission Tomography combined with Computed Tomography (PET-CT) to stage and assess the effectiveness of treatment; Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) Rapidscreen™ for early detection of lung cancer; and TomoTherapy Highly Integrated Adaptive Radiotherapy (HI-ART) combining the most precise radiation treatment with the most advance imaging modality. Since the previous ACoS survey in 2005, the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center also added Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and digital mammography to its advanced technologies to serve patient needs.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 1,440,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2007. Further, cancer is the second leading cause of illness in Bucks County, and the demand for cancer services is expected to increase over the next decade as the area’s population in the 45+ age demographic continues to increase. Concurrently, the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center has experienced a growth of more than 40 percent over the past two years in the number of patients using its cancer center services.
Currently only about 1,400 cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico have earned approval from the Commission on Cancer. This group, representing roughly 25 percent of all hospitals in the United States, diagnoses and treats nearly 80 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients each year.