For Immediate Release: February 7, 2013
Diagnostic innovations result in significantly reduced need for chemotherapy with some cancers; New treatment methods less invasive
Unless you know a woman with cancer, or are a woman who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, you might not know about the recent—and remarkable—advances in the diagnosis and treatment of women’s cancers that have happened in the past few years.
The AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute, a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner, is taking full advantage of these innovative resources, and women and their families in the Atlantic City area are directly benefitting, says Michael J. Kane, MD, FACP, medical director of Medical Oncology and Infusion Services at the AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute.
Kane is also an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center and has worked with cancer patients for 25 years. He explains how medicine has transformed from a “one-size-fits-all” approach when dealing with women’s cancer to a highly individualized one that involves less invasive treatments and better outcomes.
“We now have new ways to evaluate some cancers and can detect certain genetic abnormalities. This allows us to tailor the treatment to the individual and, among other things, means that we can spare many women from the chemotherapy treatment that they would have been given in the past,” says Kane. “This is something we have only been able to do for the past three to four years, and it is a dramatic improvement.”
Kane also points out that although most cancer prevention recommendations have not changed—such as having regular mammograms and PAP smears—there are new types of cancer screenings available. For instance, there is a new lung cancer screening for patients with significant smoking history that has been offered for the past year, known as low dose spiral CT scanning.
Every seven minutes, a woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, some of the new tools and therapies available to treat it are already in widespread use at the AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute.
“Today most women with breast cancer will be cured, most will not need a mastectomy and most will not need chemotherapy. In fact, about 50 to 60 percent of women who have been advised chemotherapy in the past can now avoid it,” says Kane. “However, if they do require chemotherapy, the course is usually much shorter. Additionally, far fewer women today experience side effects from chemotherapy because there are excellent drugs to prevent them.”
For those who ultimately do require chemotherapy, now there are new options related to that process.
“Many patients can receive chemotherapy at home through our Home Infusion Services—in fact, you’ve probably seen our patients when you were out shopping, and didn’t even know it. They wear a pump with an IV that can fit under their clothing, so they can get treatments anywhere,” he says.
At the Institute, the treatment area has been specifically designed to be serene and comforting, complete with recliners and televisions and the facility is Wi-Fi enabled. AtlantiCare encourages patients to do things that make them comfortable during treatments, such as bring their own food, have guests stay with them, or listen to their own music.
The AtlantiCare Cancer Care Center staff work together as a multidisciplinary team to develop the best approach to a woman’s treatment as well as her follow-up care. The team, which includes both on-site staff as well as experts available through the Institute’s partnership with the Fox Chase Cancer Center, includes physicians, radiologists, pathologists, nutritionists, social workers, genetic counselors, nurse practitioners and others, as well as a nurse “navigator” who guides each woman through the treatment process.
A wide range of support services is available for patients, during treatment and after treatment is complete, at the AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute—from individual, group and pastoral support to nutrition therapy to transportation services and more.
“Our team meets on a formal basis every week—and informally every day—to evaluate and discuss each patient,” says Kane. “We are excited about these new diagnostic and treatment advances that directly benefit our patients. But we also want patients and their families to know we are also here to support them throughout their journey to better health.”
For more information about the AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute, a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner or other AtlantiCare programs and services, or to find an AtlantiCare physician, visit www.atlanticare.org, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1-888-569-1000 or find AtlantiCare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlanticare.
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