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Dr. Van Amburg Letter: 2009
Under the direction of the medical staff, nurses and cancer registry staff representing a multitude of disciplines, we have put forth tremendous effort to provide our community with exceptional cancer care services during the past year. We continue to be proud of being recognized by the Commission on Cancer (COC) as an approved cancer program and look forward to our tri-annual review occurring this April.

According to a recent annual report in the journal Cancer, new cancer cases and mortality rates linked to the disease have fallen significantly in recent years for almost all gender and ethnic groups in the United States. In addition, rates of breast cancer in women decreased by an average of 1.2 percent per year between 1997 and 2006. We are very pleased by these findings and will continue to do all we can to improve these statistics in the future.

The numbers for breast cancer are encouraging. Our own Dr. Carrie Morrison, considered an expert breast radiologist among surgeons, gynecologists and primary care physicians throughout the greater St. Louis area, was chosen as the first physician in Missouri to offer SonoCin� Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound to her patients. SonoCin� is an ultrasound exam that, when added to an annual mammogram, may find smaller cancers than mammography alone.

St. Luke's continues to lead the way in other innovative cancer treatment including our da Vinci® robotic-assisted surgical system that allows surgeons to perform complex, minimally invasive surgery on prostate cancer patients. We also employ the Trilogy Stereotactic System that enables us to provide patients advanced medical linear accelerator treatments.

St. Luke's is also the proud recipient of a generous grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation to save lives through early detection. With the grant, St. Luke's will be able to provide screening and diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds free-of-charge for underserved women.

On behalf of the cancer program, we sincerely appreciate the support of our highly dedicated oncology staff whose hard work contributes to the success of the entire program. We also appreciate the support from our survivors, patients and their families who are the driving force of this program.

Albert Van Amburg III, MD, Chair
2009 Oncology Peer Review Committee

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