SAN CARLOS, Calif. and PINEHURST, NC –The Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) has awarded the Chest Center of the Carolinas at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, North Carolina, the official designation as a Community Hospital Center of Excellence. The ALCF Centers of Excellence award recognizes community hospitals for their individualized care and treatment of lung cancer patients.
“Right now 80 percent of all cancer patients are treated at community hospitals,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a stage 3B lung cancer survivor and ALCF founder. “Our multidisciplinary, patient-centric Centers of Excellence Program raises the bar on the standard of care for lung cancer patients.”
As a Community Hospital Center of Excellence, the Chest Center of the Carolinas has implemented the standard of care required in the ALCF’s Centers of Excellence Program. The program’s hallmark standard ensures all patients receive genomic testing to monitor for specific disease states and to determine potential options for precision medicine and targeted treatment. Additional standards include an individualized approach to care, patient access to new diagnostic tools and therapeutic techniques, and an emphasis on early detection and patient follow-up.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation,” said Michael A. Pritchett, D.O., medical director of the Chest Center of the Carolinas. “This is an organization whose mission is to increase survival among lung cancer patients. It is unique as it was founded by a brave lung cancer survivor.”
According to Dr. Pritchett, the ALCF designation recognizes the efforts the Chest Center of the Carolinas has made throughout the years with its multidisciplinary approach to lung cancer.
“Such collaborative teams are most common in the university-based academic medical centers, so this type of an approach is unique in a community setting,” he said. “All members of our Chest Center team are focused on applying the most current guidelines, including taking a personalized approach to lung cancer by using molecular analysis for genetic mutations when appropriate. The ALCF recognition validates our current approach to treating patients with lung cancer.”
The goal of the ALCF screening program is to identify individuals who might be at an increased risk for lung cancer. To meet criteria, participants must be:
- Between 50 and 75 years old
- A current smoker or former smoker
- Quit for less than 15 years
- A smoker with a 30-pack-year smoking history (calculated by physician)
The Chest Center of the Carolinas follows the ALCF’s successful pilot program at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. Preliminary metrics from the 2013 pilot program highlight that patient outcomes improved dramatically during the first year of the pilot stage when 100 percent of pilot program patients received molecular testing with the following results:
- The time from diagnosis to treatment improved 77 percent, from a national average of 45 days down to 10 days
- 62 percent of program patients underwent tumor board review
Twenty-six percent of treated patients were diagnosed at stage 2B or lower, and the program reported 100 percent patient satisfaction.
While the understanding of lung cancer’s diagnosis and treatment has improved, additional work needs to be done. More than 221,200 new lung cancer cases will be identified in the U.S. in 2015 alone, and the American Cancer Society estimates more than 158,000 Americans will die of the disease. In addition:
- Lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. It accounts for 27 percent of all cancer deaths and is the second leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in every ethnic group. Since 1987, it has killed more women every year than breast cancer.
- The five-year lung cancer survival rate has changed little in nearly 40 years – from 12 percent in 1970 to 17 percent today.
This staggering loss of life has gone unnoticed for too long. The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation mission is to change that prognosis. The ALCF funds clinical research that leads to life-saving discoveries and treatments and provides critical support services and educational programs to empower patients and create hope.
“The ALCF is focused on initiatives that empower patients to take a seat at the table wherever discussions are being made about their care,” said Addario. “We are committed to improving the standard of care and believe genomic testing and targeted therapy is the future of lung cancer treatment and the pathway to increasing the survival rate for all lung cancer patients.”
About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through research, early detection, education and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006, as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised nearly $25 million for lung cancer research and related programs.
About FirstHealth of the Carolinas
FirstHealth of the Carolinas, a private, not-for-profit health care network, is headquartered in Pinehurst, North Carolina. With nearly 4,000 + employees, FirstHealth serves 15 counties in the mid-Carolinas and is made up of four hospitals, primary and convenient care clinics, dental centers, home health, hospice & palliative care, fitness centers, community outreach programs, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, EMS and critical care transport, and an insurance plan. With its Magnet recognition for nursing and robust philanthropic foundation, FirstHealth demonstrates a commitment to treating the whole patient and to providing quality health care for the entire community. Its cancer program has been accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons since 1995 and has received the Outstanding Achievement Award four times or every time for which it has been eligible. It is the only cancer program in N.C. to attain this achievement to date.