Cancer patients and their families will no longer have to travel long distances to receive treatments thanks to a new partnership between Conway Medical Center and the Duke University cancer network.
CMC held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to celebrate the opening of its new oncology department.
CMC President and CEO Brett Barr called the occasion a “game changer” for people impacted by a cancer diagnosis.
“Often cancer treatments can last months, even years, and now patients and their families can stay right here in our area,” said Barr.
The CMC Cancer Center, headed by Dr. Najla Itani, opens for business Tuesday morning.
Dr. Harry Phillips, chief medical officer of network services for the Duke University cancer system, said the collaboration will help save lives.
“Despite great progress, cancer is the second leading cause of death in South Carolina and accounts for one out of every four deaths,” said Dr. Phillips. “This is a huge challenge, but also a great opportunity. I am fully convinced more lives are going to be saved in the region because of the new services right here in Conway Medical Center and I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to be part of that team.”
Being able to treat cancer patients is a new venture for CMC, according to Barr.
The oncology team headed by Dr. Itani includes five nurses certified in cancer care, an experienced nurse practitioner and an oncology pharmacy.
“I can’t say enough about the role of nurses in cancer care,” said Dr. Phillips. “All of the nurses in this center have been trained and certified for cancer care, and that’s very unique today. It is going to be a tremendous benefit to your patients.”
As a Duke Cancer System affiliate, the CMC cancer unit will have a direct line to the Duke Hospital system. Duke will be responsible for providing training, oversight and reviewing the quality of care and follow-up treatments.
“They have 457 very highly-defined protocols depending on the situation,” said Barr. “They will be intimately involved in making sure all of those protocols are followed to their standards.
The CMC Cancer Center will provide infusion services for patients in need of chemotherapy, intravenous medications and other blood products.
Equipped to offer the latest technologies in a single convenient location, the CMC Cancer Center will provide blood and platelet transfusions, blood draws, hydration therapy, injections, oral chemotherapy, as well as traditional intravenous chemotherapy infusions.
The space will feature a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for patients who may be receiving treatment at the center frequently for many hours at a time, said Barr.
CMC is also a Duke Heart system affiliate.