On Wednesday, Sept. 15, CalvertHealth announced it is enhancing its community cancer program through a new cancer affiliation with Duke Health. “This affiliation offers our patients access to cancer research, treatment advances and clinical trials only available at the best cancer hospitals in the country,” said CalvertHealth Cancer Program Director Dr. Theodore Tsangaris. “This is an exciting chapter in cancer care at CalvertHealth,” said Dr. Tsangaris. “The affiliation with Duke Cancer Network is the centerpiece of bringing the best oncology care available today to Calvert.”
He added, “I see this collaborative effort as a strategic step that builds upon the robust program already in place at CalvertHealth Medical Center.
Medical Director of the Duke Cancer Network, Dr. Linda Sutton, said, “CalvertHealth’s affiliation with the Duke Cancer Network is an opportunity to build on its existing strengths and provide robust new treatment options for patients. We are excited to work with CalvertHealth to make the highest level of cancer care accessible close to home.”
Building on a Solid Foundation
“This is a truly multidisciplinary program that compares positively to what you would find in an academic center,” said Dr. Tsangaris, whose 30-year-career in oncology has included leadership positions at some of the nation’s most prestigious academic institutions.
Cancer care at CalvertHealth has evolved considerably over the past three decades – from the addition of cutting-edge technology, and multidisciplinary teams focused on specific tumor sites to the introduction of genetic testing and the rapidly expanding role of immunotherapy, which has been a game-changer in producing more favorable outcomes with fewer side effects.
“At the core of what is happening,” said Dr. Tsangaris, “is how these cancer initiatives impact the lives of the people who rely on us for their care … the hundreds of newly diagnosed cancer patients we treat every year and the thousands of cancer survivors who need our ongoing care and support.”
Targeting a Pressing Need
The statistics are sobering. For over ten years, cancer care has ranked among Calvert County residents’ top three health care needs. According to the State Cancer Profiles provided by the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Calvert County has higher rates on average than both the U.S. and the state of Maryland for: Breast cancer deaths; lung and bronchus cancer deaths; prostate cancer deaths; bladder cancer incidence and deaths; and colorectal cancer incidence.
“One of the largest healthcare issues we have in this county is cancer,” said CalvertHealth President & CEO Dean Teague. “While we are proud of our entire cancer team and our oncology program, it will take more to meet this pressing need.
“This was the impetus for joining with the Duke Cancer Network,” said Teague. “With more than 30 years working with affiliates throughout the Eastern United States, the Duke Cancer Network is backed by the resources of the Duke Cancer Institute, ranked among the top four percent of U.S. centers designated as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center.”
Quality Cancer Care Close to Home
He added, “Our mission is to build a world-class cancer program right here in our community. This affiliation allows us to receive the most current training and staff education regarding cancer care. Plus, we now have access to the latest cancer research.
“What is especially important,” said Teague, “is the pivotal role the Duke Cancer Network will play in guiding the development of our clinical trials program. Their experts will be collaborating with the clinical teams treating patients locally. All of this adds up to an enhanced quality of cancer care close to home.”
CalvertHealth medical oncologist Dr. Arati Patel underscored this point, “The positive impact of this collaboration on direct patient care is going to be felt almost immediately.”