Kenneth L Abbott, MD, FACP  |  9/16/2022

A New Era in Calvert Health Oncology

An experienced gardener, or anyone who cares for houseplants, knows the value of beneficial change. A plant may grow only so large or luxuriant in a small pot, or it may need its soil replaced or a nutrient stick added to give it new materials to thrive, expand, and attain its full potential. Cancer care services are not potted plants, but the principle of organic improvement and growth applies all the same. So, with great enthusiasm and anticipation, the oncology service at Calvert Health announces the next big step we take forward to help meet the needs of our community: affiliation with the Duke Cancer Network (part of the Duke University Health System and the nationally ranked Duke Cancer Institute).

For all the several excellencies of the current service—a dedicated, multidisciplinary care team; an award-winning infusion center; national accreditation with commendation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer; a regional leader Breast Center helmed by a nationally-respected breast surgeon; future-oriented, proactive health system leadership—limitations of size and available resources will naturally constrain the effectiveness of a community cancer care program, unless it can grow. For several years, Calvert Health System has sought to create a partnership with a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center. We explored several possibilities. After a diligent search, taking into careful consideration the various strengths and potential advantages, we have affiliated with Duke Cancer Network (DCN), the lead institution of a robust network of similarly situated community cancer care programs distributed across several states.

What does a professional partnership with DCN do for Calvert Health? It brings the skills, experience, and expertise of a front-rank academic cancer center to southern Maryland residents. Oncology experts based in Durham, North Carolina, can participate by teleconferencing in Calvert’s cancer management discussion boards, working alongside our care providers to ensure every cancer patient seeking treatment here has all the advantages of consultative care at a large, dedicated oncology center. Access to cutting-edge protocols, continuing education, current thinking on the best application of the various cancer treatment techniques will enhance care excellence and patient confidence. Already in the planning stages is a long-sought-after local program for participation in clinical trials, which promises the ability for patients to receive investigational treatments in their home community rather than forcing arduous and often expensive travel to a physically distant center.

We trust the residents of southern Maryland will be as excited as we are about this giant leap into the future of cancer care access and delivery in our community. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or use the comments feature below.
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