The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center
Chief of Surgical Oncology and Hepatobiliary Surgery
I am honored to present this progress report from The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center at Englewood Health. The past three years have been a transformative time for the cancer center, a time in which we have harnessed the power and promise of precision medicine to improve the care we provide to our patients.
When I entered the field 30 years ago as a surgical oncologist training at the National Institutes of Health, I could not have imagined where we would be today. We can now detect cancer earlier, target treatments more appropriately, and manage adverse side effects more effectively to enable patients to live better, more fulfilling lives. Incredibly, today the majority of the patients with cancer are alive five years after diagnosis, up from 50 percent in the 1970s. Thanks to this progress, our patients are witnessing important family milestones that we all deserve and cherish.
The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center at Englewood Health recently received two national accreditations. We were granted a three-year accreditation with commendation by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. Of the 1,500 hospitals accredited by the Commission on Cancer nationwide, only a small percentage of hospital cancer programs receive this commendation status. We also received a full three-year accreditation with commendation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, another program of the American College of Surgeons. What do these accreditations mean for our patients in the community? Simply put, these designations validate the outstanding care and patient outcomes achieved within our cancer center. They also give our referring physicians confidence that the individuals practicing within our cancer center emphasize the highest level of commitment to the care of people with cancer. And these accreditations also reinforce the concept that collaboration is the path to conquering the unknown — and groundbreaking discoveries are able to be translated within a community teaching setting that also prioritizes the patient and family.
Precision medicine may mean something different to each of us caring for patients. My own definition includes subspecialized expertise among our disease management teams that allows oncologists to spend most of their waking day thinking about a particular cancer such as lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, or prostate cancer. Individuals trained at the finest cancer centers deliver a recommendation for a patient's care that is both evidence based and balanced by the patient's quality of life. I think this stresses the importance that precision medicine is about improving our patients' lives, so that they cannot only live longer, but can live much better. This is the commitment of everyone working within The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center.
Precision medicine that uses targeted therapies and immunotherapy has been incredibly successful in treating some of the most complex cancers such as lung cancer, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. These successes are based on decades of research conducted by basic scientists and clinicians working together, many times within the construct of clinical trials, enabling us to translate these advances into clinical success. Our team prioritizes this translational aspect of bench-to-bedside research. We not only have programs studying early transformation of how normal cells become more aggressive (owing to an ongoing collaboration with the NIH), but we continue to expand our portfolio of clinical trials that utilize the most advanced approaches to immunotherapy and targeted therapy for cancers such as lung cancer, lymphoma, breast cancer, and male genitourinary malignancies.
In the pages that follow, you will note innovative work being accomplished by our cancer site-specific disease management teams that are employing the following cutting-edge areas of medicine:
The delivery of care in our cancer center stresses personal treatment and integrated programs, but we are always propelled forward by the important pillar of technology. You will read about our recent investments in technology such as precision radiology and radiation oncology equipment. You will also learn about the recent renovation of our facility and the important aspects of our value-added programs such as patient navigation and integrative medicine. And you will read about some of the generous benefactors who are helping to make our success possible.
In my office at The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center, I have a photograph of individuals I have had the honor and pleasure of caring for over the years, and they are now long-term cancer survivors. This is perhaps the most important reminder for me about what our teams are seeking to achieve. In a similar fashion, in this report you will meet nine amazing individuals, who were gracious enough to share their stories of ongoing challenge and success after treatment within our cancer center.
On the whole, progress from one year to the next is incremental. It builds upon the extraordinary commitment that each of our cancer center physicians and health care professionals bring to the bedside. As you can see in this report, every year brings new knowledge and insight that helps direct further treatment and ultimately improves the outcome for our patients. I believe we are on a trajectory for extraordinary advances and success within The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center at Englewood Health.
Steven T. Brower, MD, FACS
Medical Director, The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center
Chief of Surgical Oncology
This report is dedicated to our many patients and families who entrust us with the opportunity and honor to be part of their incredible lives.
The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center at Englewood Health is a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program, accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons. Accreditation allows programs to demonstrate the high quality of care that they provide and their commitment to continuous quality improvement.
To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet or exceed certain quality care standards and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care, as demonstrated every three years during a rigorous on-site survey.
As a CoC-accredited cancer center, we take a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer. Surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists partner in a multidisciplinary approach to improve patient care. The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for us to improve our quality of patient care with a focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care. When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling, and patient-centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan.
Like all CoC-accredited facilities, The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society. This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care. CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.
Our cancer center diagnoses and treats approximately 1,200 patients each year. In addition, we offer screenings to detect early-stage cancers and we participate in cancer-prevention programs to raise awareness of risks and early intervention approaches.
Philanthropy is rarely accidental. Just ask the almost 5,000 individuals who purposefully gave to Englewood Health in 2017 — among them, many grateful past patients who credited their positive hospital experience to a physician.
Such was the case with the late Ronald Lefcourt, a local businessman and long-time patient of Herbert Dardik, MD. In honor of his beloved and trusted physician and in recognition of exceptional care received at Englewood Health, Mr. Lefcourt made a lead gift to Englewood Health Foundation's $50 million capital campaign, Transforming the Future. The gift would name our new cancer center, The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center. Thanks to the generosity and legacy of Ronald Lefcourt, patients in our region have benefited from a stronger clinical team, new services and programs, and enhanced diagnostics and treatment, all centered on the humanistic care our patients expect.
Grateful patient giving like Mr. Lefcourt's stems from the ongoing stewardship support of physicians at Englewood Health, including members of Physician Partners.
Since 2013, the Physician Partners Program has inspired a culture of philanthropy and plays an essential role in delivering next-generation health care. The program enables physicians at Englewood Health to pledge annual support to benefit our health system. Participation has increased each year since its inception, and in 2017, physician giving exceeded $1.3 million.
"I started my career and training as an engineer, so I tend to look at everything in a process-oriented way," says Richard Goldweit, MD, chief of interventional cardiology, who helped champion the launch of the Physician Partners Program. "I think it is a very natural process to want to support Englewood Health and the local community. Most people are passionate about the place in which they work, and they care about the people that they surround themselves with. To me, it is a very balanced equation. You want to promote the very best that the environment can provide."
We reached, and exceeded, our capital campaign goal by December 2017, thanks to the generosity of community members such as Ronald Lefcourt. Our own physicians pledged their leadership support with nearly $6 million in philanthropic gifts to benefit Transforming the Future.
Mark Shapiro, MD, chief of radiology, served as vice chair for the campaign and led physician giving. "If the physicians show the community that they are standing by the institution and want to see it succeed, it makes a big statement. We want to show that we are here for the community and that we are providing the best medical care. To do that requires a lot of financial resources. An MRI machine, for example is $2 million, and recently we were lucky enough to purchase a state-of-the-art MRI. The most successful institutions are those that the community stands by and contributes to within their means."
Thanks to purposeful philanthropy and conscientious stewardship by physicians at Englewood Health, patients are enjoying greater access to state-of-the-art care and are on a path to better health each day.
Elise Winters and her husband, Woody Rudin, named the Dr. Michael Schleider Grand Rounds in 2018. "As former teachers, Elise and I are caregivers by nature and firmly believe in the importance of helping others through education," says Mr. Rudin. "For our estate, we wanted to carry on that idea and support an institution that takes care of people and fosters continuing education for its caregivers."
Eva Gans, a long-time patient of Nimesh Nagarsheth, MD, chief of gynecologic oncology, made a gift in recognition of her physician and the care she received. Her gift helped support the expansion of The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center, and an outpatient oncology room is named in her honor.
Walking has its benefits, especially when you join Englewood Health's Walk for Awareness. This annual fundraiser encourages participants to raise funds for The Leslie Simon Breast Care and Cytodiagnosis Center. Patients like Patricia Ianni chose to support this event in recognition of care received. "I am here today," she insists, "because of [Englewood Health's] nursing care and the incredible team of physicians. They were there for me. One held my hand until I fell asleep. Another would take lotion and heat it in warm water. Who does that?"