Cancer Liaison Physician Report 
 
The Cancer Center and its teamwork of physicians, nurses and staff have continued their progress in quality and service throughout the year 2011.  In addition to many outreach programs and events, I am pleased to share the reported quality and performance improvements projects.

Many patients experience an array of emotions, physical changes, and difficulty adapting to the changes inflicted by their cancer diagnosis.  Sometimes sharing feelings and thoughts about one’s cancer can be uncomfortable and difficult to describe.  The ideal person to discuss one’s emotional or psychosocial well-being may be your spouse, primary care doctor, oncologist, or a cancer survivor.  However, some patients may not rely on these resources and contacts, but instead may avoid discussion and could benefit from medical assistance and advice.  Our psychiatry physicians and staff helped develop a screening tool that has been implemented in some of our clinics.   With this tool, we may better assist all patients to identify those in psychosocial distress and with treatable conditions.  Our cancer survivors can then focus on their improved health through the journey and goal to cure.

With the addition of new faculty, we have incorporated more opportunities for multidisciplinary care and conferences.  Dr. William Helm has joined the Saint Louis University physicians and hospital to offer enhanced gynecologic oncology care to our patients.  Dr. Helm is a welcome addition to the team of caring and talented physicians of the Cancer Center.  With the help of our registrar staff, a separate regularly scheduled conference brings together surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists to focus on our patients with gynecologic malignancies.  Several conferences have already completed and guided our patient’s therapies.

Saint Louis University Hospital has many patients that are referred from nearby and distant facilities to receive the care by our talented doctors and nurses.  Typically, their pathologic diagnosis requires confirmation prior to any treatment.  The cancer committee reviewed recent surgical and radiotherapeutic cases to confirm the desired processing of this outside hospital information.  With an excellent compliance and agreement in pathologic review, we look forward to the continued success and monitoring of this process as well as facilitating access for patients to the talent and technologies available at Saint Louis University Hospital.

Our breast cancer patients continue to experience the higher level of care at the Breast Imaging Center and assistance in the early diagnosis and treatment through the Show Me Healthy Women Program.  This program is made possible by aid from the Hereditary Cancer Education Program and the St. Louis Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Our outreach efforts extended to more and more under-insured patients and those without insurance.  We have projected to assist nearly 25% more individuals this year.  We are also pleased to welcome our newest breast surgeon to the physician staff, Dr. Teresa Schwartz.

Inspiration is present all around us as we recognize the accomplishments of our staff and courageous patients.  Many patients participate in clinical trials to improve the therapies and options available to others in the future.  Our open clinical trials are described briefly on the website, cancercenter.slu.edu.  The volunteers and staff at the Grand Vision Information Center are also gratefully thanked for their service and helpful advice.    Please don’t hesitate to inquire about additional educational materials at the center located on the ground floor of the West Pavilion Cancer Center, or by calling (314) 268-7015.

As we approach 2012, we remain committed to growth and improvements in the exceptional services at Saint Louis University Hospital.  Our staff, nurses, and physicians are champions of compassionate patient care and talented in their expertise of oncology.

John Dombrowski, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Radiation Oncology

Cancer Liaison Physician