Americans’ risk of losing the battle with cancer continues to decline, and survival rates for many types of cancer are improving. In fact, fewer than half of the people diagnosed with cancer today will die of the disease. As word spreads that the single best way to survive this disease is to catch in its earliest stages, more people are talking to their doctors about life-saving screenings, genetic testing, and lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk.
Dallas’ growing medical community is not only prolonging, but saving, more lives of patients with cancer, thanks to faster and more effective treatments, up-to-the-minute technology, targeted therapies, and improved surgery outcomes. Some of the finest genetic testing clinics, groundbreaking research, clinical trials, and medical care in the world are well within your reach.
Here, you will learn more about some of the area’s leading hospitals and clinics that are dedicated to helping patients and their families cope with cancer, from diagnosis through treatment — UT Southwestern Medical Center, Northpoint Cancer Center, North Texas Institute for Advanced Cancer Center, Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging, Texas Health Dallas, and Texas Oncology. When you’re in for the fight of your life, Dallas is clearly a great place to do battle.
Cancer Care in Dallas
Where to Turn for Help
The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center is one of the premier centers in the nation for the study and treatment of cancer. Its commitment to furthering the science of cancer research has enabled the cancer program to achieve dramatic results in UT Southwestern laboratories and health care facilities.
The Simmons Cancer Center draws upon strong representation from physicians and researchers in medical, radiation, and surgical oncology, and specialists are respected by their peers as authorities in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer, including: brain and spinal cord, breast, childhood, gastrointestinal, gynecologic, urologic, head and neck, lung, melanoma, lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma. The commitment to cancer research and its translation into better treatment options affirms the center’s role as the primary academic medical center in North Texas. UT Southwestern ranks among the top medical centers in the world, and last year the Simmons Cancer Center provided more than 145,000 outpatient visits, as well as inpatient cancer care to more than 2,700 people.
A team approach to caring for people with cancer brings together specialists who diagnose complex illnesses and deliver advances in medical science to the people who will benefit most. The center’s mission is to reduce the impact of cancer today, while working to eliminate the threat of cancer in Dallas, North Texas, and the nation. In the past five years, 70 physicians and researchers have joined Simmons Cancer Center in this mission, increasing the team to nearly 200.
The commitment to making groundbreaking new discoveries in cancer research attracts the world’s best medical minds to UT Southwestern and drives exciting new options for diagnosis and treatment. The Simmons Cancer Center stays at the leading edge of medical technology through the development, acquisition, and use of the newest equipment, computer programs, and innovative procedures to evaluate and treat cancer patients. University Hospitals and the Simmons Cancer Center clinics not only have the leading cancer specialists, but they are staffed by the most highly trained oncology nursing and medical technology professionals in the region. For more information, visit simmonscancercenter.org.
Northpoint Cancer Center was designed from the ground up to treat cancer in a very unique way by allowing patients to live as normally as possible during treatment. Northpoint Cancer Center has been designed with the patient in mind. From its ground level facility (not the typical basement of so many locations) to its spa-like feel, Northpoint Cancer Center strives to make the patient as comfortable as possible during this stressful time.
A highly specialized team prides themselves on giving patients the time and attention they need and deserve. Physicians at Northpoint Cancer Center have trained at some of the nation’s most renowned medical centers. An oncology nurse/nurse practitiner has dedicated her career to helping cancer patients work through treatment and recovery. A well-qualified staff offers a broad range of state-of-the-art care for patients.
Northpoint Cancer Center offers a wide variety of cancer treatment services and an extensive array of the latest treatment techniques to provide state-of-the-art care for patients. While patients and referring physicians find it reassuring to have such credentialed, experienced physicians and support staff on their side, if you were to ask them what they appreciate most, they would probably say it was the people themselves. The caring, compassionate team never forgets that behind every chart is a person who needs words of encouragement as much as they need innovative care.
Northpoint Cancer Center offers the following cancer treatments: HDR and LDR Brachytherapy; Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS and SRT); External Beam Radiation (EBRT); Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT); Image-Guided Motion Management (IGRT); and 3-D, IMRT, and Stereotactic Treatment Planning. Northpoint Cancer Center works closely with primary-care physicians and other specialists involved in the patient’s treatment to ensure fully integrated care. They provide all involved parties with regular reports indicating the proposed treatment and the results achieved during and after the course of treatment — just another reason why Northpoint Cancer Center is the trusted choice of more than 100 area doctors for their patients’ radiation oncology needs. For more information, call 972.364.7880 or visit northpointcancercenter.com.
North Texas Institute for Advanced Cancer is the answer to those unsolvable problems about whether to proceed with aggressive, proactive treatment…or not. These treatment modalities include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, alternative therapy, palliative therapy, the use of clinical trials, and phase I and phase II studies.
While not all advanced cancers are treatable, 18 to 22 percent of all cancer patients are told they have no more treatment options and should proceed to hospice or “end-of-life” care. Unfortunately, many of these patients have never been offered all the available options in the oncology arsenal of treatment protocols.
The purpose of the North Texas Institute for Advanced Cancer is to make those options known to the patients and their families while maintaining a good quality of life. The underlying philosophy of the North Texas Institute for Advanced Cancer is this: To ignore those which can be treated is not fair to the patient, their families, and their loved ones. You may find that your second or even your third opinion should have been your first.
Through a multi-disciplinary approach, patients are given a thorough evaluation which allows them to make an informed choice on which treatment is best for them. Physicians trained at MD Anderson Hospital and the Tumor Institute will provide you with the necessarytools needed to help you make that decision and to treat your cancer.
North Texas Institute for Advanced Cancers is part of the Hematology/Oncology (THOC) network. The THOC Network is an independent group of hematologists/oncologists, with a 30-year legacy of serving cancer patients from North Texas and beyond. For more information, contact a patient navigator at 972.562.9222.
Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging provides the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology, exemplary service to health care providers, and unsurpassed, compassionate patient care.
SWDCMI specializes in PET/CT scans — a medical imaging tool which assists physicians in detecting diseases such as cancer. PET/CT scans produce digital images that can identify many forms of cancer and distinguish between benign and malignant disorders. A PET/CT scan can generally detect abnormalities in cellular activity before there is any anatomical change. Early detection is important in the treatment and management of diseases including cancer.
PET/CT represents an advanced level of diagnostic imaging power for oncology. PET detects metabolic signals in the body, while CT provides a detailed image of anatomy, revealing the location, size, and shape of cellular activity. This can help physicians pinpoint the source of cancer, and can also determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. PET/CT can show the extent of disease, called staging, and therefore help your physician start and monitor treatment.
There are tremendous benefits of having a combined PET/CT scan including earlier diagnosis, accurate staging and localization, and precise treatment and monitoring. With the high-tech images that SWDCMI provides, patients are given a better chance at a good outcome and can avoid unnecessary procedures. A PET/CT image also provides early detection of the recurrence of cancer, revealing tumors that might otherwise be obscured by scar tissue that results from surgery and radiation therapy, particularly in the head and neck.
SWDCMI offers convenient hours, often with same day appointments with a medical review, 24 hour report turnaround time, and verification of insurance benefits. SWDCMI participates in numerous clinical trials, such as the National Oncology PET Registry (NOPR) for Medicare beneficiaries. For more information about PET/CT, call 214.345.8300 or visit swdcmi.com.
Texas Health Dallas offers a full continuum of cancer care, including diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, education, support, prevention, research and long-term follow-up of patients. Knowledge is power in the fight against cancer. The physicians on the medical staff and employees of Texas Health Resources hospitals are dedicated to providing information to help you make sense of your cancer diagnosis and treatment options.
Cancer is exactly what it has always been, but technology is not. In fact, technology has advanced so much that cancer survival rates have significantly improved, and with each treatment comes new hope. You can do more than just survive cancer — you can fight back and overcome it.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is fully engaged in the fight against cancer. The Comprehensive Cancer Program provides advanced technology and personalized support services throughout a patient’s diagnostic and treatment journey. Programs focus on prevention, screening and survivorshipto help treat the whole person — body, mind, and spirit.
Special attention to personal service and patient comfort differentiates Texas Health Dallas’ Comprehensive Cancer Program from others in the region. The hospital offers a variety of services to support patients and their families. Patient navigators at Texas Health Dallas help educate and answer questions from patients and family members on a variety of needs, guiding them to reliable sources of information, such as making appointments, contacting a support group, accessing pain management, locating a hospice, managing insurance issues or simply finding clinical information about their diagnosis and treatment. The focus is to care for the whole person, as well as his or her family.
Cancer care at Texas Health Dallas brings a combination of skilled specialists and advanced services to the fight against cancer. Dedicated to oncology services facilities include a 28-bed inpatient center, 12-bed outpatient chemotherapy infusion center, the Radiation Oncology Center, the Women’s Diagnostic and Breast Center, and the Gamma Knife unit.
Texas Health Dallas is on the forefront of cancer detection and treatment technologies. Two of the latest life-saving technologies in the news are the new Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy and robotic-assisted surgery systems. Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy establishes new standards for radiation therapy treatment speed and dose-reduction to the patient. This enables physicians to visualize the tumor target at the time of treatment, for every treatment, and to guide therapy that both maximizes the radiation dose to the target and minimizes exposure to surrounding healthy tissues. Faster treatment times minimize the risk of missing the target tumor due to movement during the delivery. Most important, compared to other commercial arc therapy techniques, VMAT provides the oncologist with the greatest freedom of choice regarding how the optimal dose will be delivered. Combined with the efficient delivery of VMAT, optimizing the delivery configuration means patients receive the lowest possible radiation dose outside of the targeted area with the treatment. “We were the first medical center in the world to offer this new type of arc therapy for cancer treatment,” says Dr. Jerry Barker, Sr., a radiation oncologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. “It’s just one example of the investment we’re putting into new technologies aimed at improving the lives of our patients.”
Surgeons on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas are the first in North Texas to begin using the next generation of robotic-assisted surgery systems. From a remote command center just a few feet from the patient, surgeons direct the moves of the robotic system to navigate deep inside the body. Called the da Vinci Si, the system boasts three-dimensional, high-definition images, which provide superior visual clarity of target tissue and surrounding organs — with up to 10-times magnification.
The high-definition viewing system and robotic arm will assist surgeons in various specialties, including oncology, women’s services, cardiovascular, colorectal, thoracic, urological, and general surgery. The remote instrumentation command center provides dexterity and range of motion greater than even the human hand. Two separate HD optical channels are used to merge images for advanced depth perception. Minimally invasive surgery like this allows physicians to perform many kinds of major surgery with less patient trauma and pain, minimal scarring, faster recovery, and shorter hospital stays. The purchase of the $1.78 million da Vinci Si system was entirely underwritten by charitable gifts made to Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation. More than two dozen physicians on the medical staff of Texas Health Dallas will utilize the technology. “It’s about focusing technology and medical expertise on what’s best for the patient,” says Dr. Pat Fulgham, medical director of robotics and surgical oncology at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. “We are privileged in North Texas with the most technologically advanced, minimally invasive equipment and procedures forthe treatment of cancers. The thing that makes our program unique is the team-oriented approach to cancer management which emphasizes quality of life for the patient.”
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is also helping patients be proactive in their health care by offering a free, online breast cancer risk-assessment questionaire to determine a woman’s risk for breast cancer. The site also provides steps on what to do next if the results show a higher than average risk. “It only takes a few minutes, and it could save your life,” says Dr. W. Lee Bourland, a breast surgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas and medical director of the hospital’s breast care program.
The electronic questionaire combines four highly accepted risk calculators for breast cancer to create an advanced system that better predicts a woman’s individual risk of getting the disease. To take the questionaire, visit myhealthriskonline.com.
In 2008, Texas Health Dallas was again the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award by the American College of Surgeons, one of the highest honors for cancer programs in the United States. Only eight hospitals in Texas have received the designation. Texas Health Dallas offers treatment plans that care for the whole patient, not just the disease. Nurse navigators coordinate treatment schedules, help patients with medication needs, and most importantly are strong allies to guide the patient through the difficult journey ahead. Texas Health Dallas offers a multitude of support groups and opportunities for patients to join together and share their struggles, achievements, and hearts with each other. For more information, visit texashealth.org.
Texas Oncology is the world’s largest group of medical professionals devoted exclusively to cancer treatment and cancer research. With more than 300 physicians and 100 sites of service, Texas Oncology is a pioneer in community-based cancer care. It is the largest independent oncology practice nationwide and provides care to more Texans with cancer than any other cancer treatment and cancer care provider.
With Texas Oncology’s community-based services, patients have the convenience of receiving most or all of their medical services and support services under one roof, in the comfort of their own communities.
Texas Oncology medical teams specialize in medical oncology, hematology, gynecologic oncology, pediatric hematology and oncology, and radiation oncology. Patients are treated with today’s most advanced, effective cancer technologies, therapies, cancer treatments, and full-service pharmacies. This large oncology network also gives patients access to nationwide cancer research and clinical trials of promising new drugs and treatments.
Texas Oncology physicians are supported by talented and professional associates who are sensitive to the needs of cancer patients and their caregivers. Most cancer centers provide a wide range of supportive services and programs to address patients’ individual psychological and emotional needs - such as counseling, support groups, educational programs, and nutritional guidance.
With Texas Oncology’s comprehensive, community-based cancer treatments, patients can spent more time with their families during their time of need, receive all their care and support at one location, benefit from the best continuity of care with collaboration among their medical caregivers, participate in nationwide clinical trials and investigative drugs and therapies, and receive today’s most effective technologies in a warm and intimate surrounding — not a sterile, impersonal setting.
Recently, Texas Oncology–Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center became the first site in the country to be approved to enroll patients in the new FDA-approved Provenge® prostate cancer vaccine. The vaccine doesn’t prevent cancer, but prolongs life for patients with advanced prostate cancer, the most common cancer among U.S. males.
Provenge®, or sipuleucel-T, is a therapeutic vaccine that instructs the body’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells. A patient provides a blood sample, from which white blood cells are extracted. The white blood cells are then exposed to the substance found in prostate cancer cells. The process “trains” the immune system to react to prostate cancer cells when it is reintroduced to the patient’s body through an intravenous infusion. This process is then repeated two additional times, two weeks apart, so the patient receives a total of three doses of cells.
“Until now, we had very few treatment options for advanced prostate cancer,” says Dr. Thomas Hutson, medical oncologist at Texas Oncology-Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. “This vaccine provides us with an alternative treatment option for patients who otherwise have limited success with other therapies. It increases the survival rate when combined with other therapies, such as chemotherapy, and has no side effects. It’s first in class, and there is nothing else like it. It doesn’t replace traditional therapies, but is an effective complement to existing therapies. Hopefully, we will be able to offer similar vaccines for other types of cancers in the very near future.” For more information, visit texasoncology.com.