(June 14, 2011)
East Carolina University and University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina have launched a collaboration to provide coordinated outpatient cancer services through the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center.
Services that UHS and ECU are jointly providing include oncology clinics (lung/thoracic, breast, gynecologic, medical, radiation and surgical), staffed by ECU Physicians, and radiation therapy.
The cancer center oncology clinics are the starting point for cancer treatment, and all services that a patient might need will be carefully coordinated on behalf of the patient and family.
The cancer center is governed by a board of managers that has equal representation from UHS and ECU. Dr. Peter Kragel, professor and interim chair of the department of oncology at the Brody School of Medicine, is the director.
"This joint effort will enable us to increase access to top-rate cancer care in a multidisciplinary setting. Our providers are passionate about our patients. This passion and focus on the patient and family will continue and flourish under our new structure," Kragel said. "We have already engaged patients in our planning sessions and will continue to engage patients and providers as we further develop our plans for a new facility and personalized cancer care."
Other cancer services that a patient may need are provided by Pitt County Memorial Hospital. These include chemotherapy, radiosurgery (CyberKnife and Gamma Knife) and inpatient care.
"This collaboration truly represents a new day in cancer care for the patients and families we have the privilege to serve," said Steve Lawler, president of PCMH. "It aligns the strengths of PCMH and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in cancer care and enables each to work to their fullest potential to create a system of care for our patients and families who are dealing with the challenges of this disease."
Chemotherapy services have moved to an expanded outpatient infusion center on the first floor of PCMH. Typically, patients go first to their cancer doctor's office in the Leo Jenkins center and then to the chemotherapy center. As an added convenience, the cancer team will coordinate moving patients for treatments so they won't have to be concerned about logistics.
The expanded outpatient infusion center can accommodate 44 patients at a time. It is furnished with comfortable chairs for patients. There may be up to two visitors at one time, and children are welcome to visit as long as they are free from infectious illnesses. Private rooms are available for pediatric patients and for adults needing special accommodations.
Outpatient infusion center operating hours also have been extended. It's open 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
The N.C. Division of Public Health recently reported that cancer is now the leading cause of death in North Carolina. In 2009, cancer claimed the lives of 17,476 people. The most deadly cancers were lung and throat cancer, colorectal cancer and breast cancer, making up 46 percent of the total cancer deaths.
More information about the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center is available online at http://www.leowjenkinscancercenter.com