National Jewish Health and SCL Health Honored for Excellence in the Care and Treatment of Lung Cancer Patients

 DENVER (August 16, 2018) –Today the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) awarded National Jewish Health, the nation’s leading respiratory hospital, and SCL Health, a $2.6 billion health system in Colorado and Montana, the official designations as community hospital Centers of Excellence (COE) for lung cancer treatment. The designation applies to National Jewish Health and the 10 hospitals within the SCL Health System, including Saint Joseph Hospital, the clinical partner of National Jewish Health. The ALCF Centers of Excellence award recognizes hospitals for their multidisciplinary and patient-centric care. National Jewish Health and SCL Health are the first hospitals in Colorado and Montana to receive this designation.

“Across the U.S., the majority of lung cancer patients are treated in a community hospital near their home,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a lung cancer survivor and founder of the ALCF. “The community hospital Center of Excellence program is rooted in the belief that the best way to treat lung cancer is by providing patient-focused, coordinated, multidisciplinary care with the expertise of a nurse navigator.”

“We are excited to join forces with the ALCF to address lung cancer prevention, early detection and treatment, helping lung cancer patients in our communities live longer,” said SCL Health Chief Medical Director of Oncology Alan Miller, MD.

ALCF identifies hospitals that meet rigorous qualifying criteria and works closely with COE hospital staff to ensure the highest quality of lung cancer care with a patient-centric approach. These criteria put COE member hospitals on par with leading academic and research institutions and provides patients with access to the latest innovations across the lung cancer care continuum. This multidisciplinary care model includes:

  • Early screening and nodule follow-up programs
  • Tumor genetic testing to ensure appropriate treatment options and access to clinical trials
  • Minimally-invasive biopsy, surgical and radiation therapy techniques that reduce risk and improve patient quality of life
  • Access to new targeted therapies and immunotherapies
  • Access to clinical trials for all stages and types of disease
  • Extensive patient education and support 

The Centers of Excellence partnership will enable our lung cancer team at National Jewish Health and SCL Health collectively to deliver more educational and support resources to patients and caregivers that help them through diagnosis and treatment,” said Jeffrey Kern, MD, Lung Cancer Center of Excellence Medical Director for National Jewish Health and SCL Health. “Our individual approach to lung cancer patients has improved countless lives, and we are honored to receive this honor for our high standard of patient care.” 

Even with the advances in lung cancer diagnosis, and treatment improvements, additional work is still needed to advance the treatment options and improve survival statistics. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 234,030 new lung cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018, with 3,390 new cases in Colorado and Montana where National Jewish Health and SCL Health provide care. 

  • Lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. It accounts for 25 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 18.6 percent today.

The mission of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is to transform lung cancer into a chronically managed disease.  ALCF will accomplish this through four strategic objectives: providing patient support and education; increasing early detection; improving consistency and quality of care; and increasing treatment options and effectiveness.   “ALCF is focused on empowering patients and caregivers to take an active role in the treatment decision process,” added Addario. 

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