January - April 2008 Issue
Person-Centered Cancer Care
J. Frank Wilson, MDMedical College of Wisconsin Radiation Oncologist
Chair, Radiation Oncology
Named one of the “Best Doctors in America®” 2007 by Best Doctors, Inc.
When it opens in May 2008, the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center will be more than a new building. It will offer a new way of providing care. Dr. J. Frank Wilson explains how this new care environment will benefit residents of southeastern Wisconsin.
Q. Why are Froedtert & the Medical College building a new Clinical Cancer Center?We’re building a new Cancer Center to accommodate the growing number of patients who need expert cancer services, and to enhance the interdisciplinary model of care required in the care and support of patients with cancer.
Q. What is different about the physician expertise at the Clinical Cancer Center?At the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center, the cancer specialists have organized themselves into disease-specific groups of physicians and support staff who are focused on treating only one or certain types of cancer. This is unusual; most non-academic medical centers simply don’t have the breadth and depth of cancer expertise needed to organize in this way. At the Clinical Cancer Center, we’re fortunate to have the complete array of specialists needed to provide that kind of care. I don’t think there is any type of service we cannot offer to our patients. We have the complete array of technology and expertise to provide the best care.
Q. Aren’t all oncologists cancer care experts?Oncologist is very generic term. There are surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, orthopaedic oncologists, gynecologic oncologists and so on. These specially trained individuals have chosen to become experts in these specific fields. So the term “oncologist” is not a term that really has any specific meaning, beyond that it’s someone who takes care of cancer patients. In our system, expertise is defined by the training and experience of the individual. As part of an academic medical center, all of our physicians are oriented toward advancing the missions of research and education, and would be the first to agree that the ultimate conquest of cancer is only possible through research and education.
Q. Why is a team approach so important when treating cancer?The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society recently reported that the cancer death rate in Americans is progressively falling. It is believed that much of that very encouraging decline is the result of doing the right thing at the right time in the management of patients with cancer. A team approach facilitates this because 85 percent of all cancer patients require multidisciplinary care, or the involvement of more than one type of specialist to get the best results. In the new Clinical Cancer Center, we’re going to put the patient at the center of those interdisciplinary activities, rather than having patients go from clinic to clinic to get the opinions and care they need. In the new Clinical Cancer Center, the patient will be central to care.
Q. What is a disease-specific cancer program?When we say we have a group that is focused on head and neck cancer, this means that there is a specialty group that is prepared to offer patients with head and neck cancer everything that appropriate care calls for. A similar situation exists with the orthopaedic oncology team, which focuses on malignant and benign tumors of the musculoskeletal system. We have 13 different disease-specific programs ranging from the eye to the gynecological tract, genitourinary tract and so on.
Q. Why is a single treatment environment important for people coping with cancer?People need to have rapid and easy access to the specialty care they need. In an interdisciplinary context, that can mean setting up appointments with many different clinics and many different specialists, and that can lead to inefficiency in getting rapid access to the best care. The hub concept, which we will be using in the new Clinical Cancer Center, does away with that. The hub will take over the coordinating role, so that the patient only needs to make one contact. Our motto is to do the right thing at the right time in the right way — every time. Our new care environment will help us live our motto.
Source: Every Day
Date: Jan - April 2008 Issue