Cancer Center Annual Report

Annual Report Offers Recent Accomplishments in Cancer Care at St. Luke's

“St. Luke's University Health Network (SLUHN) realized significant progress and accomplishments over the past few years. The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) granted a three-year approval with commendation through 2013 to our Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program. St. Luke's also earned the Outstanding Achievement Award – the top distinction attainable by cancer programs across the country.”

Lee B. Riley, MD, PhD
Committee, Co-Chairman
Surgical Oncology

Subhash C. Proothi, MD
Committee, Co-Chairman
Medical Oncology


2011-2012: Highlights of Our Accomplishments

- To serve our cancer patient population, their families, and the community, prevention and early detection programs, health fairs, and community education programs are offered continually throughout the network.

  • Prevention Programs included “Overexposed: The Sun and Your Health,” “Breathe Easy: Keeping Your Lungs Healthy,” “Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Health and Disease,” and “Your Immune System: Self-defense against Cancer.”
  • Skin screenings held each May at Bethlehem, Allentown, and Quakertown campuses had over 64 participants in 2011, with 24 referred for biopsy. In 2012 there were 107 participants, with 35 referred for biopsy and an additional 14 referrals for follow up. Oral cancer screenings are held annually; recent screening participants had normal results.
  • Various fundraising events also are held throughout the year to raise cancer awareness. Some recent events included “Makeovers and Martinis for a Cure,” “The Annual Outback Cancer Research Fundraiser,” the 5K run and 1-mile walk “Run for the Ribbon,” “Bethlehem Fire Fighters Go Pink” campaign, “Basket Bingo” and the “Pink Rose Celebration.”

- St. Luke's University Health Network is hosting enrollment for the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Cancer Prevention Study-3 together with the ACS and First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem. The purpose of this landmark research study conducted by the ACS is to better understand lifestyle, behavioral and other factors which may prevent and/or cause cancer.

- SLUHN participates annually in the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) call for data and utilizes the Cancer Program Practice Profile Reports (CP3R) for Breast, Colon and Rectal cancers as a mechanism to assess and monitor concordance with standards of care.

  • Accountability and Quality Improvement Measures show the average performance rates for Bethlehem, Allentown and Quakertown facilities are all above 98%, showing that our patients are routinely treated according to evidence-based national guidelines.

- St. Luke's Cancer Connection, an e-communication, was introduced so joining members can take part in activities that will help ensure people living and working in our neighborhood have easy access to the most advanced and comprehensive cancer treatments available. Cancer Connection supports research locally and champions programs designed to improve the quality of life for people living with cancer.

- A core multidisciplinary team consisting of surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists meet as a group to review individual cases. Thirty percent of new cancer cases were provided multidisciplinary consultative services during these site-specific meetings.

  • Frequency, case presentation and attendance were monitored quarterly to ensure consultative services for patients as well as education to physicians and health professionals. Goals for Bethlehem, Allentown and Quakertown were met throughout 2011.

- The Pathology Department along with the Genomic Testing Subcommittee has developed “Lab Test Maps” for site-specific cancers to be used as a guide in correctly receiving, processing, and sending-out molecular tests.

- St. Luke's Personalized Breast & Ovarian Health Program continued to help patients evaluate their risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and provide options available to reduce these risks.

- St. Luke's Family Cancer Risk Evaluation Program provided support and counseling to individuals concerned about an elevated risk of developing cancer due to an inherited gene mutation, and facilitated genetic testing and disclosure as appropriate.

- Cancer Grand Rounds continued at St. Luke's Cancer Center-Allentown on the first Wednesday of each month with the goal of keeping everyone up-to-date on what is currently available within our Network.

- We are involved in national clinical trials for a variety of cancers. Studies cover virtually every major cancer and are sponsored by National Cooperative Groups such as ECOG, SWOG, CTSU, NSABP and RTOG as well as pharmaceutical company studies.

- Marketing initiatives for the Oncology Service Line include TV/Radio commercials, booklets and newsletters, cancer brand ads, informational displays and materials, and press releases.

- A multidisciplinary Performance Improvement Steering Committee has been formed within the Oncology Service Line to improve overall quality performance; increase knowledge and utilization of publicly reported data; establish comprehensive oversight and reporting processes; and to focus our quality efforts in the most meaningful way.

- An internal performance standard was implemented in the Pathology Department for second opinion review of malignant pathology. We reached 100 percent for FY 2012.

- St. Luke's University Health Network's Cancer Center employees coordinated services with the American Cancer Society and participated in the Relay for Life held annually in May/June.

- The MarginMarker® color-coding system was established as a new standard of care in the treatment of breast cancer. The operating surgeon color-codes the entire excised breast tissue specimen for a precise and accurate way of orienting the tissue and ensuring cancerous tissue was completely removed to help improve outcomes following breast cancer surgery.

- The Gynecologic Oncology Program expanded in 2011. Women with female pelvic malignancies are offered state-of-the-art surgery and innovative cancer treatments including radiation therapy, chemotherapies, hormonal therapies and a variety of investigational protocols.

- The St. Luke's Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship was started to recruit outstanding primary care physicians to train in the evaluation and management of clinical issues in end-of-life care. Two Fellows start in July of each year and do rotations in Radiation Oncology and Surgical Oncology and participate in Tumor Board.

- Oncology related educational opportunities were held throughout 2011 to provide specialized oncology knowledge to SLUHN professional staff.

- Radiology locations throughout St. Luke's University Health Network are offering an innovative CT scan to detect early-stage lung cancers.

  • This program was inspired by the NCI study that found screening current and former heavy smokers using spiral CT scans can reduce lung cancer mortality risk by 20 percent. The test costs $400 and is not covered by most insurances; St. Luke's is making the test available for $49 to those who meet the criteria.

- The new St. Luke's Cancer Center at St. Luke's Anderson Campus opened in the Fall of 2011 and welcomed its first patient on 9/12/2011.

- “Jessica's Hope & Healing Room” was opened in the Cancer Center at St. Luke's Anderson Campus with money raised through “Jessica's Race against the Sun” – a 5K run/walk in memory of Jessica Coleman who bravely battled melanoma. Jessica's room focuses on the emotional and spiritual aspects of healing.

- Our Radiation Oncology department at St. Luke's Cancer Center-Anderson Campus features a revolutionary new cancer technology known as TrueBeamTM, which allows delivery of the most efficient, high-dose radiation possible to even the most difficult tumors with speed and accuracy.

- St. Luke's was one of 20 organizations nationwide to receive The Creative Center: Arts in Healthcare award from LIVESTRONG. This award was used in partnership with ArtsQuest to provide the Artist-in-Residence program, referred to as “Inner Artist,” for St. Luke's cancer patients.

- St. Luke's Cancer Social work fund was awarded a grant from the Women's 5K Classic to help underserved patients receiving care through St. Luke's Cancer Center. In its first six months, the fund had given more than 20 patients help with medications, mortgage or rent payments, and paying utility bills.

- St. Luke's Cancer Center hosted Cancer Survivor's Day May 19th at the Lehigh Valley Zoo with over 1,200 registered guests attending. This is the 6th consecutive year we have hosted a survivorship event. Invitations also included cancer survivors from St. Luke's Warren Campus.

- The Journey of Hope Club was launched in May 2012. This monthly meeting is designed for patients living with cancer and features a different topic each month, to assist patients and loved ones during their treatments.

- In an effort to improve access to St. Luke's Oncology services, the St. Luke's HOPE line was launched in May 2012. This dedicated telephone line was created for patients and physicians and is managed by knowledgeable cancer program navigators. The number to call is 484-503-HOPE (4673).

We have continued to work both within our walls and also in the community to elevate the quality of cancer care, prevention and awareness. The content of this report detailed these efforts and provides testimony to our commitment in establishing and maintaining high quality cancer care. The expertise of our large team of specialists and the collaborative spirit we all share continues to positively impact the level of oncology care.

We would like to thank the St. Luke's University Health Network Cancer Committee, the medical staff, the oncology service line staff and the hospital administration for their continuing dedication to our patients and for their ongoing efforts to provide the excellent, compassionate care that our patients receive.

See 2011 Analytic Cases - Frequency by Site