A Lee’s Summit outpatient clinic providing cancer care is changing its name to highlight its relationship to the University of Kansas Hospital and its cancer treatment programs.
One of 67 centers nationwide that have National Cancer Institute designations, University of Kansas Cancer Center Clinic gives Lee’s Summit residents access to clinical trial drugs not available to patients in other nearby facilities.
The clinic at 4881 Goodview Dr. opened in 2002 as the Kansas City Cancer Center, one of five facilities in the group which merged with the hospital system in 2011.
Mark Myron, medical director, said the clinic offers multi-disciplinary care affiliated with KU Hospital and the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Center Pavilion, although that facility in Westwood, Kan is still an option for patients.
It gives Lee’s Summit residents the convenience of being close to home but getting treatment equal to other nationally-recognized programs.
He said the medical group wanted the merger to provide a higher level of service made possible with the NCI designation.
“We really wanted to be a part of that,” Myron said. The clinics physicians are University of Kansas faculty members. The clinic had been active in research, participating in about 150 to 250 clinical trials on an annual basis, but with the merger has access to the earliest stage of new drugs.
During the first level of clinical trials the drugs are being tested for safety in humans.
“It’s an important benefit to people who have few other options,” said Dennis McCulloch, director of public and government relations for The University of Kansas Hospital.
Myron said that participation in those early treatment trials aren’t expected to provide a cure or extend life, although that might happen. But it does give the patient an opportunity to advance the science of fighting cancer, which many of them find is meaningful as they face their personal battle.
A Dartmouth Medical School study showed cancer deaths are 25 percent lower at NCI designated facilities, according to the hospital, partly because of the access to advanced drugs and treatments being developed, including those at KU.
McCulloch said that from the hospital’s point of view, the medical group was doing “top-notch” work and research and gave the hospital outreach to suburban communities. The clinic has a full compliment of equipment and the staff, oncologists (and sub-specialists in different cancers), a physiatrist, nurses, dietician, radiation therapists and imaging technicians, for treatment. On site services of a social worker and financial counseling and a retail pharmacy are also available. About 115 patients are treated daily at the Lee’s Summit facility.
University of Kansas Cancer Center Clinic in Lee’s Summit tries to give the clinic an atmosphere where patients feel supported by personnel and peers.
Cancer is one of the most frightening words patients hear, said John Davis, a doctor who practices at the clinic.
They give patients ceramic tiles to paint, which are fired and displayed on the wall. And patients who’ve completed their last treatments ring bells mounted on the wall outside the radiation and chemotherapy treatment rooms. They were donated by two surviving patients.
“Then there’s applause by other patients,” said Mindy Swayne, practice manager. “They give each other encouragement and support.”