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100 Years of Caring

Spotlight on Cancer Care at CalvertHealth

Cancer care at CalvertHealth continues to evolve and change every day – from the addition of cutting-edge technology and multidisciplinary teams focused on specific tumor sites to the latest in genetic testing and immunotherapy.

“Cancer research discoveries are forthcoming at a rapid pace,” said Board-Certified Medical Oncologist and CalvertHealth Cancer Committee Chairman Dr. Kenneth Abbott. “New and specific ways of targeting the vulnerabilities of cancer cells produce, in many cases, more favorable outcomes with fewer problems. As a result, our community has access to this revolution in cancer care.”

In 2001, there was only one medical oncologist in Calvert County. Today, CalvertHealth Medical Center has developed an Oncology Service line, marshaling the health system’s resources into a single team that includes physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians, palliative care professionals, genetic counselors, community outreach workers, and partners from tertiary hospitals. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that patients have the benefit of a comprehensive team of experts working on their behalf.

Multidisciplinary Expertise Benefits Patient Care

CalvertHealth Medical Center hosts treatment planning meetings called tumor conferences on a weekly basis. There are conferences for specific cancer types – like breast and thoracic – and general tumor conferences where all different types of cancers are discussed. These meetings bring together all the specialists involved in the care of a patient- medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pulmonologists, urologists, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors and more to discuss specific cases of recently diagnosed cancers.

This is the team that delivers care to the patient. They share their expertise from years in their related field, and together, discuss the best options for each individual patient. And, because they are a team, the patient doesn’t have to start at the beginning for every new doctor or specialist they see. Their ‘team’ of cancer care specialists is already familiar with their individual situation and can hit the ground running.

Providing State-of-the-Art Technology

Diagnostic imaging is a critical component of cancer care. When cancer is found at its earliest stages, it is typically easier to treat. Since its opening in 2000, American Radiology Services | Calvert Medical Imaging Center (CMIC) has been at the forefront of technological advancements in imaging. The first in Southern Maryland to offer 3D mammography, CMIC is a designated “Breast Imaging Center of Excellence” by the American College of Radiology. This accreditation is the gold standard for excellence and is only given to facilities with proven best practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs. Additionally, all screening mammograms are read by specialized breast imagers, who exclusively read breast images.

A partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine brings Johns Hopkins breast imagers onsite for diagnostic studies and procedures.

Keeping Pace with Medical Advances

CalvertHealth is proud to offer full-time genetic counseling and testing services to our community. Genetic testing can play an important role in a patient’s personalized cancer treatment program. A genetic counselor can help assess your risk, explain your options and address how the results can impact your care.

“The field of genetic testing for hereditary cancers is rapidly evolving, resulting in more comprehensive information than we’ve ever had before,” said Dr. Arati Patel, medical director for the Sheldon E. Goldberg Center for Breast Care at CalvertHealth. “This testing is having a positive impact on patient care and medical decision-making.”

She went on to add, “Although there are various avenues for testing, we strongly encourage patients to meet with a certified genetic counselor who can help them understand the process and what steps to take based on their results.”

Breakthroughs in immunotherapy are giving new hope to cancer patients through cutting edge treatments that enlist the body’s own immune system to fight the disease. According to Dr. Bilal Ahmed, immunotherapy is one of the most exciting things to happen in cancer treatment in the last 30 years.“These drugs are more targeted,” he said, “which means the collateral damage to other parts of the body is limited in comparison to other types of cancer treatment like radiation and chemotherapy. They may also lead to a persistent immune response, helping to keep the cancer in check over time.” There are many studies ongoing, but immunotherapy has been approved for treating cancers of the lung, colon, bladder, head and neck, as well as lymphoma and metastatic melanoma. These drugs offer great potential for effectiveness and longer survival with fewer side effects, even for people with stage IV cancers.

Know Us Now for Cancer Care in Calvert County

“Our cancer care program combines multidisciplinary expertise and dedicated support staff with stateof- the-art technology and evidencedbased treatment protocols,” said Kasia Sweeney, who oversees oncology services at CHMC. “And, as a community hospital, we are able to provide care in a personalized way that our patients tell me they really appreciate.”

CalvertHealthMedicine.org/CancerCare, a new website, was launched this year to help patients and families navigate treatment options. “We’re always looking for new ways meet the needs of our community,” said Dr. Abbott. “Our patients told us they wanted an online resource, so we spent the better part of a year developing new online tools to complement our clinical program.” The new, 54-page website provides information on all cancer types treated at CalvertHealth as well as information on treatment options and the resources available.

“If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed, but you won’t take this journey alone,” said Abbott.

Get to know the new CalvertHealth as we fight cancer together.

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