At a Glance: The Latest in Cancer Services From achieving accreditations and awards to offering the latest advanced procedures and treatment options, Texas Health hospitals are dedicated to delivering the cancer care you need — right in your community.
Beginning treatment as quickly as possible is a key element in effective cancer treatment. To keep both patients
and physicians on track with treatment, a cancer care coordinator oversees each case.
Leanna Barrett, cancer care coordinator at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, explains it’s her responsibility to serve as a liaison for both patients and physicians. When a patient’s oncologist sends orders for a certain test or procedure, Barrett contacts the department, gets the appointment scheduled and then delivers information to both patient and physician.
“An otherwise healthy person who has been thrown into a whirlwind of appointments can quickly become overwhelmed,” says Barrett. “It’s my job to keep that patient informed about what’s going on and what to expect. Having a cancer care coordinator has been an innovative way to keep patients less stressed and more informed.”
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle now offers colonoscopy services for the detection of colon cancer. Colonoscopy uses a small, lighted scope with a small video camera attached to look at the interior of the colon. For those who opt for the colonoscopy screening method, the American Cancer Society recommends a colonoscopy every 10 years after the age of 50.
According to Ben Horsley, R.N., nurse manager for endoscopic services at Texas Health Fort Worth, colonoscopy is the leading method of detection for colon cancers. By utilizing the most advanced equipment and technologies, physicians and staff at Texas Health hospitals are able to get a clearer image and thereby reduce the chances that a polyp could be overlooked in a colonoscopy.
“We have new equipment available called the Third Eye® Retroscope®, which enables us to look backward at
the same time we are looking forward during a colonoscopy,” says Horsley. “Approximately 20 percent of colon polyps are located behind folds in the colon, so having this technology ensures we’re not missing any during the examination.”
Other unique endoscopic services provided at Texas Health Fort Worth include ablation for Barrett’s esophagus,
gastrointestinal endoscopic ultrasound and bronchial ultrasound.
Texas Health Fort Worth was recognized by the Commission on Cancer as an Outstanding Achievement Award winner this year. Only 20 percent of cancer programs in the nation are accredited by the Commission on Cancer, and just 4.5 percent have been distinguished as Outstanding Achievement Award winners.
“There are 36 standards that have to be met for a cancer program to be considered for accreditation by the Commission, and there are seven that can be met at a higher level than is required for accreditation,” says Susan Shields, R.N., director of the Cancer Care Program at Texas Health Fort Worth. “If all seven of those standards are met at the commendation level, the Outstanding Achievement Award is given. We hope patients will take comfort in knowing we’re delivering the highest quality of care available.”
Just two months after Texas Health Fort Worth received its Outstanding Achievement Award, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford received accreditation from the Commission on Cancer.
“We have a cancer committee that oversees our cancer program to ensure it meets standards of the Commission on Cancer -- revered as the gold standard,” says Alice Landers, vice president of Operations and Support Services at Texas Health HEB. “This accreditation not only assures patients that Texas Health HEB provides high-quality cancer care, but also allows us to utilize a national database so we can better evaluate our treatments and patient outcomes.”
The nursing staff of Texas Health HEB’s Oncology Care Unit (OCU) was distinguished as “Best Nursing Team of 2010” by ADVANCE for Nurses magazine in response to a submission made by Tammy Quattrochi, R.N., OCU nursing supervisor.
“To be considered for the award, I wrote a 1,000-word essay explaining why our team was the best in the region,” says Quattrochi. “I discussed how we function in many ways as a family and how each member of our
team brings unique characteristics that allow us to maintain expertise in many different areas, among other topics.”
To celebrate their recognition as the Best Nursing Team, the OCU nurses were featured on the cover of the May 3, 2010 issue of ADVANCE for Nurses and were honored by the hospital in April. Each eligible nurse in the OCU has maintained status as an oncology-certified nurse since 2007.
A new treatment option at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth makes it possible for patients with early-stage colorectal cancer to undergo a simpler, less-invasive procedure to remove polyps, thanks to the addition of a new colorectal surgeon on the medical staff, Augustine Lee, M.D.
Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) allows physicians to remove colorectal polyps and early-stage cancers through the body’s natural orifice. Since the procedure eliminates the need to make incisions in the abdomen, patients experience reduced recovery times, less postoperative pain and a lower risk of complications.
“Some early cancers or benign tumors can be removed with great precision using TEM compared to the traditional method,” says Dr. Lee. “The goal of TEM is to improve the patient’s long-term outcome after tumor removal, while also enhancing the surgical experience.”
For more information about cancer services at Texas Health hospitals, visit TexasHealth.org/Cancer.