Cancer is a big, scary word for many, and understandably so – the physical and emotional toll cancer takes on patients and their loved ones is undeniable. However, we’ve made huge strides in the way we think about and treat cancer. Community partnerships, like the one between Washington Hospital and UCSF Health, are a big part of that.
Perhaps more than any other field of medicine, cancer care is probably the fastest evolving. If you think about something like lung cancer, even a decade ago, the treatment options were fairly limited. Years of research and clinical trials have given doctors new therapies that are far more advanced and able to target an individual’s specific form of cancer. We can craft treatment plans that, not only improve longevity, but quality of life as well – but that’s only possible if it’s detected in time.
While anyone can get cancer, not everyone’s cancer is the same. Age, ethinicity and genetics can have a hand in how and when it presents itself, but time and time again, it’s access to screenings and quality care that most significantly affects outcomes.
As co-medical directors of the UCSF-Washington Cancer Center, my partner, Dr. Bogdan Eftimie, and I have helped bring highly specialized, comprehensive cancer services to the people of southern Alameda County. This community-based approach gives residents convenient access to more frequent screenings, which leads to earlier detection, as well as a whole slew of post-diagnosis support services, while our affiliation with UCSF Health means, should they receive a diagnosis, they’ll receive the very latest in cancer therapies and care.
This kind of community-based, coordinated care means cancer outcomes – and outlooks – are improving every day.