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Partnerships Effective Communicators of Cancer Advances
Date:5/16/2008

Treatment guidelines quickly disseminated to community physicians, audit finds

FRIDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Partnerships between major academic cancer centers and community hospitals are a quick and effective way to spread cancer treatment advances, say researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Most new cancer treatments are created at major academic centers and most cancer care is provided at community hospitals, noted the researchers, who conducted a quality control audit of hospitals associated with Fox Chase, a U.S. National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The 26 hospitals that are part of the Fox Chase Partners Program have access to the most recent cancer treatment guidelines developed by Fox Chase and other member institutions of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

"When research leads to significant changes in treatment, it can take years before community oncologists are able to fully adopt the new guidelines. What's unique about the (Fox Chase) Partners program is the timely transition of advances. The audit we conducted shows that our Partner physicians are highly compliant in incorporating recent advances in cancer treatment," Margaret O'Grady, director of care management and clinical operations of Fox Chase Cancer Partners, said in a prepared statement.

She and her colleagues reviewed the medical charts of 124 patients, age 65 or older, treated for stage III colon cancer at Partner hospitals between 2003 and 2006, and found high compliance with NCCN treatment guidelines, including obtaining a minimum of 12 lymph nodes at surgery, and the addition of oxaliplatin to adjuvant chemotherapy.

Almost all patients (123) received adjuvant chemotherapy, although only 76 (61 percent) received oxaliplatin, a chemotherapy agent shown to extend survival in this group of patients.

"At first glance, this number looked low, but as w
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