Mid Coast Cancer Program Receives National Recognition for Advanced Care
The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons has granted Mid Coast Hospital’s comprehensive cancer care program a Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation. A national organization, the CoC is a team of experts dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

With this new accreditation, Mid Coast joins an elite group of just 30 percent of hospitals in the U.S. and the good company of ten other Maine cancer programs that have voluntarily achieved this status. The commendation level of compliance is a special designation that indicates that the Mid Coast program not only met, but also exceeded benchmarks that represent the full scope and quality of cancer care available.

“Given the complexity of cancer, there are many considerations and decisions that patients are faced with when selecting care,” said Ira Bird, MD a surgeon with Mid Coast Hospital. “Those with cancer living in the Midcoast region can now feel reassured that the same high quality standard of cancer care available at larger institutions is available right here in our community.”

The cancer care program at Mid Coast Hospital includes preventative care, treatment programs, and educational resources that are offered in collaboration with Maine Center for Cancer Medicine, the American Cancer Society, and other community partners. The program focuses on coordination among providers and specialists through all phases of cancer treatment and recovery, as well as integration with other cancer programs throughout the state to allow for a seamless transition of care at such a critical time.

Dr. David Benton, Chairperson of Mid Coast’s Cancer Care Committee commented, “As a community hospital, Mid Coast provides a supportive and comforting environment close to home, resulting in more positive outcomes for patients with cancer.” He added, “This achievement shows that we have made a commitment to exceptional patient experiences and the highest level of care.”

Receiving care at a CoC-accredited cancer program ensures that a patient will have access to: quality care close to home, comprehensive care with state-of-the-art services and equipment, a multi-specialty team approach to coordinate the best treatment options available, information about cancer clinical trials and new treatment options, access to cancer-related information, education and support, ongoing monitoring and improvement of care, and lifelong patient follow-up through a cancer registry that collects data on type and stage of cancers and treatment results.

Dr. Bird noted, “This nationally recognized achievement culminates many years of staff dedication to coordinating and improving the programs and policies of our cancer program. This new stamp of approval outlines the standards and programs that we already have in place and allows us to work together to take advantage of new opportunities for accessing national studies and clinical trials that will further improve patient care.”

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2012 and according to the Maine CDC, Maine’s incidence rate is higher than the national average when compared to other states. The most common types of cancer diagnosed at the Mid Coast Hospital cancer care program are breast, prostate, lung, bladder, and colorectal.

Terry Baker, Community Executive for Health Initiatives at the American Cancer Society points out that by minimizing factors such as smoking, obesity, and sun exposure, the risk of developing cancer can be reduced. “As part of our commitment to the health of our community, we strive to provide opportunities to decrease these risk factors through outreach education and early detection,” she said. This was an area in which the Mid Coast Hospital cancer program exceeded quality standards.

Approximately 80 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients are treated in CoC-approved cancer programs. Due to the comprehensive approach that focuses on preventative measures, advanced treatments, and coordination of care, survivor rates will continue to increase.

With strong affiliations and the highest standards of excellence for local care, Mid Coast Hospital is well positioned to contribute to better outcomes for cancer care, not only in the Midcoast region, but for Maine overall.

For more information about cancer care at Mid Coast Hospital, visit http://www.midcoasthealth.com/cancer.