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Letter from Dr. Van Amburg

At a Glance

Focus On: Survivors

Primary Site Analysis

Community Involvement

Early Detection and Prevention

2008 Oncology Peer Review Committee


Department Representation

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Letter from Dr. Van Amburg
I am pleased to present to our community of healthcare professionals and other interested readers the 2008 annual report for St. Luke's Hospital's cancer program. This year has been filled with many advancements and accomplishments and we will continue to be committed to providing excellent care for our patients and their referring physicians.

St. Luke's Hospital continues to be on the leading edge of available technologies. Our da Vinci® robotic-assisted surgical system allows surgeons to perform complex, minimally invasive surgery on prostate cancer patients. The state-of-the-art technology translates the surgeon's hand movements into precise movements by micro-instruments. The benefits for patients include shorter hospital stays, less pain and risk of infection, less scarring and faster recovery. We are impressed with the results and look forward to providing this advanced treatment to those in need.

The cancer program at St. Luke's took a quantum leap forward with the implementation of a comprehensive and completely integrated electronic medical record system for cancer patients. The system encompasses both medical and radiation oncology as well as support services. The overall goal was to create a completely paperless cancer program with one system controlling and coordinating all aspects of the patient's care from scheduling through treatment. This system will also be integrated into the hospital Cancer Registry program as well as managing the oncology-based clinical trial programs. This new advanced electronic medical record system will allow our physicians and staff to spend more time with patients and improve the quality of our care.

I am also pleased to report that our staff is continuously recognized for their efforts in the fight against cancer. Mary Ellen Bruenderman, oncology nurse at St. Luke's Cancer Resource Center, was recently honored as a finalist for the St. Louis Business Journal Healthcare Heroes Award. This designation is given annually to those individuals who have made an impact on St. Louis' healthcare industry and the community. I thank her and our entire staff for their dedication to this department and our community.

We continued to make community outreach a primary goal in 2008. St. Luke's formed a partnership with Gateway to Hope to provide medical and surgical care to uninsured or underinsured individuals in St. Louis who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Gateway to Hope, a local nonprofit organization, arranges comprehensive medical care for low-income breast cancer patients in Missouri who lack financial resources and are ineligible for assistance through state and federal programs. The care is provided through donations of services, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, hormone and drug therapies as well as a range of essential clinical support services.

Through the partnership, St. Luke's will provide donated breast cancer treatments which may include surgery, radiation or chemotherapy to patients who are referred from Gateway to Hope for the next three years. As with our past partnership with National City Bank, in which we provided free screening or diagnostic mammograms to 445 women - five of whom were diagnosed with breast cancer and subsequently treated - we hope our relationship with Gateway to Hope helps those in our community live longer, more healthy lives.

I thank the many members of St. Luke's medical 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.

Albert Van Amburg III, MD, Chair
2008 Oncology Peer Review Committee

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