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Baylor Garland’s nationally recognized cancer care program is a strong ally to have when you’re fighting cancer.
In decades past, if someone facing a cancer diagnosis was determined to seek “the best” treatment, that usually meant traveling to Houston or to another specialty medical center in the Midwest or Northeast.
That’s not the case anymore. Today, thanks to efforts by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), a program of the American College of Surgeons, advanced, comprehensive cancer care is available at many community hospitals across the country, including Baylor Medical Center at Garland.
In April, Baylor Garland underwent an evaluation and on-site review as part of the process of earning CoC accreditation. In addition, the Baylor Garland Breast Center went through an on-site review to become certified by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).
“These accreditations assure patients that they’re receiving cancer care according to the latest national standards,” says Ethel Randall, director of breast imaging for Baylor Health Care System.
Hospitals that voluntarily participate in CoC accreditation deliver cancer care from a multidisciplinary team of specialists—primary care doctors, oncology nurses, pathologists, oncologists, surgeons and diagnostic radiologists—who work collaboratively to ensure each patient receives individualized treatment.
“There are so many levels of care for the cancer patient, and we want to make sure we excel in every aspect of their care. Our multidisciplinary cancer committee meets each month to make sure that all angles have been addressed and no stone left unturned,” says Jennifer McNeill, MD, a breast surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Garland.
“Patients should have the confidence that Baylor Garland is following appropriate quality standards in cancer treatment,” says Sashidhar Reddy, MD, a hematologic oncologist on the medical staff at Baylor Garland and chair of the Baylor Garland Cancer Committee.
For women with breast cancer, keeping track of their medications, imaging exams and appointments can be a daunting task, especially if they’re not feeling well or require services like transportation or translation. But when someone can lift that burden off their shoulders, they can concentrate on feeling better.
That’s why one requirement for the NAPBC accreditation is having a breast cancer nurse navigator on staff to serve as a partner and guide for women on their journey through breast cancer treatment. “I started in December and am following 42 patients now,” says Sue Johnson, RN, MBA, the breast cancer nurse navigator at the Baylor Garland Breast Center. Every day, she:
Johnson follows up with her patients regularly throughout their treatment and recovery, always willing to answer questions, pat someone’s back or hold a hand. She has already followed several women from their initial diagnosis through successful surgery and radiation therapy.
“When I started working as a nurse navigator for breast cancer, I just knew this was something the patients were going to love,” Johnson says. “I love it, too.”
Earning these accreditations is just the beginning for cancer care at Baylor Garland.
“Having CoC and NAPBC accreditation pushes us to constantly improve delivery of cancer care by investing in quality measurement, continuing education and efficiency,” says Dr. Reddy. “We continue to strive to improve ourselves so we can better care for our patients.”
And when your care is local, your family members and friends can be there to support you. “I don’t think any of those places offer anything that Baylor doesn’t offer,” says Randall about cancer centers in other states.
“We are dedicated to our patients, and we want to ensure that they feel safe, comfortable and confident with their care,” says Dr. McNeill. “I have found the patients who come to Garland for their cancer care to be strong, courageous, generous and inspirational. They are the reason I get out of bed and come to work each day.”
To learn more about oncology services offered at Baylor Garland, visit our cancer page.
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