The state of Florida has designated the Memorial Cancer Institute and Florida Atlantic University partnership as a Cancer Center of Excellence. While there are 80 cancer centers in the state, only five have this designation — highlighting the quality and comprehensive cancer care that this partnership offers patients.
“We have been working close to 10 years to achieve this level of care,” said Luis Raez, MD, co-director of the Cancer Center of Excellence and medical director of Memorial Cancer Institute.
The Cancer Center of Excellence combines clinical expertise, advanced research including more clinical trials and patient- and family-centered cancer support services to provide comprehensive care for the cancer patient.
A Leader in Cancer Care
Cancer Center of Excellence physicians are experts in treating many kinds of cancer including breast, head and neck, lung, blood, gastrointestinal (GI), and thyroid. The world-class care they provide includes giving patients access to cutting-edge cancer treatments, from clinical trials to novel drugs.
That’s the benefit of combining Memorial clinical expertise and FAU advanced research.
Some of these advances have come in treating lung cancer. For example, Mark Block, MD, chief of Thoracic Surgery, notes that Memorial is able to give lung cancer patients ultra-specific care, even matching specific drugs to an individual patient’s tumor.
“We do a lot of cancer research to try to bring these new medications, potential exciting drugs, earlier to the patients so the patients can have access to these new, promised therapies,” Dr. Raez says.
Caring for the Whole Patient
Cancer does much more than ravage the body. It can completely upend the lives of patients and their families. Memorial Cancer Support Services is there to help patients and their loved ones at each step along the way.
Cancer Support Services help decrease burdens for the patient and their families, but also help remove barriers to care by assessing needs and providing services to help manage symptoms, coordinate care, address emotional distress and improve the overall quality of life. We provide patients with cancer support services for the:
- Patient Navigators to coordinate care
- Quick Care Clinic for management of symptoms and side effects
- Nutrition counseling
- Palliative care
- Integrative holistic medicine for management of symptoms and side effects
- Cancer rehabilitation
- Emotional support and help managing mental health challenges
- Social services and resources for managing employment and finances
- Support groups for encouragement and community
- Next Step classes
- Spiritual care from interfaith chaplains
- Boutique & Salon for spa-like services and products — from wigs to skin care to specialty garments — that can help you look and feel your best
Moving Health Forward
Memorial is continually working to move health forward for the community, and that includes pushing cancer care even farther.
Candice Sareli, MD, vice president and chief medical research officer, notes that Memorial's Cancer Center has plans to expand cancer screening in South Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as to grow survivorship programs.
“In the next three years,” she says, “the MCIFAU Cancer Center of Excellence really hopes to expand the scope of research that we are able to bring to our communities in both South Broward and Palm Beach counties.”