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Association of Community Cancer Centers

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Cape Cod Healthcare, Cape Cod Regional Cancer Network
27 Park St
Hyannis, MA 02601-5203
Phone: (508) 862-7575
Type: Hospital-based

Delegate Representative:

Ms. Rebecca Robke


According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Cape Cod has a statistically higher rate of cancer than the state as a whole. MDPH records from 2007-2011 show the incidence in Barnstable County to be 547/100,000 residents, compared to 502/100,000 across Massachusetts. Prostate and breast cancer are the most common, while lung cancer results in the highest incidence of death. This, combined with the continued aging of Cape Cod’s population and the chronicity of many types of cancer, has resulted in cancer screening, prevention and treatment being identified as top priorities for CCHC resources in this year’s Community Health Needs Assessment.

Expanding access to new technologies and treatments

Cape Cod Healthcare Regional Cancer Network strives to meet the needs of those who are affected by cancer, either as a patient or as a caregiver. In 2016, multidisciplinary collaboration between Radiology, Surgery, Medical Oncology and Radiation Oncology brought multiple new opportunities for expanded screening, diagnosis and treatment on Cape Cod. In addition to the new services offered through the Radiology Department and CUDA Women’s Health Center (see Radiology), a new surgical approach has been introduced at CCH that helps minimize the disfigurement that can be associated with some breast cancer surgery.

Hidden Scar™ Surgery CCH is the first hospital in Massachusetts to offer Hidden Scar™ Breast Cancer Surgery, an advanced approach to breast cancer care. In Hidden Scar™ surgery, a single incision is made along the natural folds of the skin to remove cancerous tissue, sparing the nipple, areola and surrounding breast tissues. This procedure minimizes scarring and helps to preserve the natural breast shape with the aim of preserving a woman’s physical appearance and minimizing the emotional impact of breast surgery. Kathryn Dalton, DO and Jill Oxley, MD, FACS are two of only three surgeons in Massachusetts – 52 nationwide – who are certified in Hidden Scar™ surgery. Dr. Dalton now trains other surgeons to perform this advanced procedure. Cape Cod Healthcare is the only healthcare system in the state to be certified as a Hidden Scar Center of Excellence.

New Systemic Therapy Options In 2016, medical oncologists added over 10 new FDA-approved cancer therapeutics to their lengthy list of available treatment options. These additions include immunotherapy, an approach which stimulates the immune system to attack cancer cells directly, and targeted therapy, which utilizes differences between cancers cells and healthy cells, to make treatment more cell-specific. These new regimens provide up-to-date options, both for initial treatment and later lines of therapy, that were not available as recently as last year.

Partnering with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute CCH has benefited from an affiliation with Dana-Farber for a number of years, especially in the provision of consultation for the treatment of lung, lymphomas and gynecological cancers. In 2016, CCH and Dana-Farber began exploring the possibility of enhancing this partnership. A great deal of information has been exchanged to see how each institution might benefit from an expanded partnership. Recommendations are anticipated in early 2017.

Expanding access to accommodate growing volume

Approximately 1500 cancer patients are treated at the Davenport Mugar Cancer Center at Cape Cod Hospital and the Clark Cancer Center in Falmouth Hospital annually. In 2016, a multi-year plan was launched to meet the needs of our growing practice. Step 1 was implemented in August, 2016 to provide immediate relief for our over-crowded chemotherapy space. A section of Ayling 2 was renovated to provide 2 new exam rooms, new physician office space, and 6 additional chemotherapy chairs. Step 2 will be implemented in 2017, providing additional access with the hiring of two new physician extenders and expanding further into Ayling 2 for an additional 4 chemotherapy chairs.

Expanding access to services that support wellbeing

Cape Wellness Collaborative

Of the more than 1,400 people diagnosed with cancer each year on Cape Cod, 1,000 will seek integrative therapy to manage pain, reduce anxiety and boost their immune system. Most insurance does not cover this treatment. In 2016, Cape Cod Healthcare developed a wonderful relationship with the Cape Wellness Collaborative (CWC) to provide Integrative Therapies for Cancer Patients, free of charge, through the funding and distribution of Cape Wellness Cards. These gift cards allow patients to take part in acupuncture, yoga, art therapy, chiropractic services, massage therapy, reiki, nutrition therapy and energy support through the Cape Wellness Collaborative. The integrative services are available to patients undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy treatments, as well as those who are receiving cancer-related palliative care. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, integrative therapies promote a greater sense of wellbeing and can help treatment symptoms like nausea and anxiety. Patients are admitted to the CCHC-CWC program on a first-asked, first-accepted basis and are offered education about the services offered. CWC then connects the patient to the appropriate practitioner for treatment.

New Support Group for Caregivers Being a caregiver to a loved one with cancer can be both physically and mentally challenging. In October, 2016, a Caregiver Support Group was established by the Cancer Center’s Social Work staff to provide a place for caregivers to share information, insight and encouragement. The group meets monthly at the Barnstable Senior Center

Financial Counselor The financial burden of cancer treatment and care can add to the stress of the disease. In 2016, the Cancer Center designed a position to help patients navigate through the financial maze of insurance, co-pays and funding options. The new Financial Counselor began work in June, performing the following tasks for patients and families:

•Preliminary insurance review

•Determination of potential out-of-pocket costs

•Determination of the patient’s ability to pay

•Identifying additional funding options

•Establishing a personalized payment plan based on financial ability, and

•Providing financial information about oncology specific medication.

In the first 6 months that the position was in place, over $86,000 in foundation grants were received to provide co-pay assistance to patients in addition to compassionate use assistance for medications provided by the manufacturers. Over 80 patients have received financial counseling to help with insurance and billing questions, 36 of whom have been referred to patient financial services for additional assistance through Mass Health and the Health Safety Net.

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