The cancer specialists at Einstein’s Cancer Center are dedicated clinicians and researchers committed to providing the highest level of cancer care. These experts take a multi-disciplinary team approach and provide the latest cancer care, from prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, through palliative and end-of-life care. The Cancer Center is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Einstein's Breast Program recently received full accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. Einstein patients receive care at three locations: the Cancer Center at Einstein’s main campus on Old York Road in Philadelphia, the Center One campus in northeast Philadelphia, and the Einstein at Elkins Park campus in Elkins Park, Pa.
It can be one of the scariest words patient will ever hear from their physician. A diagnosis of cancer begins a journey that includes a myriad of physicians and treatments, not to mention emotional and physical challenges. It can also be a financial hardship for the patient and his or her family. The cost of cancer is estimated by the National Institutes of Health to be approximately $263.8 billion, of which $102.8 billion is for direct medical costs.
With the American Cancer Society's estimate of over 12.4 million cases of cancer diagnosed in 2008, there is a clear need for the medical community to come together and find new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat this menacing disease.
The Cancer Center at Einstein, which has been a regional leader in cancer treatment, is about to get that opportunity to make a difference on the national stage. Through a competitive process conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Einstein has been selected to participate in the second phase of NCI's Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) and was awarded $2,386,000. With 14 hospitals from around the nation chosen to participate in this phase of the study, the project will now include 30 healthcare institutions nationwide.
"This grant will enable us to raise the bar in the care we can provide to our patients," says Dr. William Tester, Medical Director of Einstein's Cancer Center. "Einstein has a long tradition of being very strong as both a teaching and community hospital. We are now in a position to be a premier cancer center in the region."
The two-year grant will underwrite 15 new positions for nurses, social workers, patient navigators and lab technicians, who will focus on eight distinct yet inter-related areas. These focus areas are mobilized into subcommittees, with key Einstein leaders and staff responsible for achieving their respective goals.
The intensity of undergoing cancer treatment can often lead to a strong bond between patients and their doctors and oncologists.
"Once patients complete their course of treatment, they sometimes feel lost and at odds because they don't see their oncologists very often," explains Dr. Tester. Cancer survivors often return to their primary care physician once their treatment is complete. Most patients feel a great deal of anxiety about possible reoccurrence, warning signs or ongoing health management that would best be answered by an oncologist.
"By creating a continuum of care that includes patients' follow-up visits with their oncologists and doctors, there is a comfort level for patients who can continue to be evaluated by physicians they know and trust. This will also enhance the physicians' ability to track their patients recovery and monitor their conditions."
An important element of the grant also includes screenings for patients' high-risk family members.
"Some cancers, such as colon cancer, show up with higher frequency in some families. A diagnosis for one person could mean the family has a genetic predisposition and therefore is at higher risk," says Dr. Tester. "We already conduct screenings for high-risk families but our NCI selection will allow us to expand our scope of services."