Cancer Commission Oks Saint Marys Program

June 7, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — St. Mary’s Mercy Medical Center reported late last month that the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons has approved the hospital’s cancer treatment program.

According to Mercy, the approvals program — established by the college in 1932 — sets standards for the nation’s cancer programs and every three years conducts an on-site review at each to ensure that it continues to conform to those standards.

The commission is composed of fellows of the college and other representatives of 36 national cancer service organizations.

The commission develops postgraduate courses, symposia and other cancer therapy programs for professionals who deal with the disease.

“Recognizing that cancer is a complex group of diseases,” the hospital told the Business Journal.

“The program promotes consultation among surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists and other cancer specialists.

“The multidisciplinary cooperation results in improved patient care.”

According to the American Cancer Society, slightly more than a fifth of the nation’s hospitals have cancer programs approved by the commission, and more than 80 percent of patients newly diagnosed with cancer are treated in such facilities.

The hospital said that receiving care at a hospital approved by the college’s commission on cancer ensures that patients will have access to:

  • Quality care at home

  • Comprehensive care

  • A team approach to treatment options

  • Information about education, support and clinical trials

  • Continued monitoring and improvement of care

  • Permanent follow-up through a cancer registry collecting data on types and stages of cancer and treatment results.

The Cancer Commission establishes and monitors standards for cancer registry data collection used in approved cancer programs.

Too, the organization tracks national, regional and local cancer care patterns and trends through the National Cancer Database, a joint program with the American Cancer Society.

Beyond that, the commission also conducts national quality management and improvement studies which grow out of patterns disclosed by the data.

Also in tandem with the society, the commission conducts a liaison operation in which more than 1,500 volunteer liaison physicians are involved in supporting local cancer-control programs.

The Cancer Society estimates that by the end of this year, nearly 1.3 million cases of cancer will have been diagnosed in this country.

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