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Riverside Health System Publishes 2018 Cancer Care Annual Report

January 24, 2019
Riverside Health System Publishes 2018 Cancer Care Annual Report

Riverside Health System has published its 2018 Cancer Care Annual Report, covering regional cancer statistics along with updates on the advances and treatment innovations the system recently implemented to benefit patients receiving treatment throughout Southeastern Virginia.

Providing statistical data from 2017*, the report revealed that a total of 2,579 patients were diagnosed or received initial cancer care in a Riverside facility that year. Broken down by category, breast cancer continued to represent the highest number of primary site diagnoses, with 571 new cases reported in 2017. Similarly, cancers of the digestive system continued to tally the second highest number of new cases reported at 399.

“This report details the many significant investments that Riverside continues to make in both our Cancer Care Teams and our tools, such as our acclaimed stereotactic radiosurgery center which is treating patients at a rate that exceeds most other centers across the United States,” said Dr. Biral S. Amin, Oncology Service Line Chief, Riverside Health System. “With that dedicated center, a highly skilled team of experts and superb technology, Riverside Health System is providing patients and their families the truly highest quality cancer care available anywhere, right here at home.”

Among numerous innovations showcased in the report include Riverside’s 2018 deployment of a new Varian Edge radiosurgery unit, a highly advanced, non-invasive cancer treatment system that enables doctors to target tumors more accurately in a shorter treatment course, while minimizing effects on surrounding tissues. Now treating an average of 25 new patients per month, Riverside’s Varian Edge machine is the first to be deployed in Virginia and one of only 60 in the country.

Another type of radiosurgery device, the Gamma Knife Perfexion, is continually being used by Riverside to effectively treat brain cancer. Riverside has treated more than 1,600 patients with the Gamma Knife since it was deployed as one of only three in Virginia, with the next closest being at the University of Virginia.

While delivering cancer treatment with the latest technology is vitally important, the team delivering the care rates just as critical, the report highlighted. Riverside patients benefit from radiosurgery pioneer Dr. C. Ronald Kersh – an internationally recognized visionary with a passion not only for treating patients, but also for teaching medical residents. One such resident under Kersh’s mentorship constructed the largest single-center patient database for spinal stereotactic radiosurgery, according to the report.

The full breadth of Riverside’s ability to provide high-quality cancer care in all regions of Southeastern Virginia – including the Virginia Peninsula, the greater Williamsburg area, the Eastern Shore, Middle Peninsula and Tappahannock and Northern Neck – was highlighted, including advancements in treating lung cancer, today’s leading fatal cancer in adults.

Riverside continued to see growth in its low-dose CT lung screening program for the early detection of lung cancer, offering more options for treatment and cure. The number of scans performed from 2014 to 2017 doubled, while the number of positive findings increased by 37 percent. In 2018, Riverside formed a lung nodule clinic, implemented a lung registry to closely monitor and follow patients with suspicious findings, and further extended its electronic medical record care pathway to facilitate education and screenings aimed at diagnosing lung cancer even earlier. Such capabilities are especially critical at the Riverside Shore Cancer Center, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which has the second highest incidence of lung cancer in the state, and the highest lung cancer mortality, according to the report.

Research remains an important aspect of the cancer care offerings at Riverside, and over the last five years the health system has more than doubled the number of oncology patients enrolled in research trials, according to the report.

“Riverside is very active in the field of medical research, and for our cancer patients this means getting direct access to the very same clinical trials available to those in the largest metropolitan areas,” said Linda McKee, Cancer Service Line Administrator, Riverside Health System.

The system’s access to clinical research trials offer patients access to cutting-edge treatments still in development – simultaneously elevating patient care and assisting in the advancement of medical knowledge.

“Moving into 2019, we look forward to further advancing our genetics and research programs, constantly refining our processes to focus on the unique needs of patients with specific cancers, while continuing to advance service and safety for all of our patients,” McKee said.

Community outreach and awareness continued to be a major focus of Riverside’s cancer care offerings. The report noted that in 2018, some 1,700 people attended Riverside’s cancer-focused educational and awareness events and thousands more were reached via social media.

Riverside provides cancer screenings to the public as part of its commitment to the wellness of its communities. Such community screenings – offered at no cost to those in need – routinely result in the lifesaving diagnosis of cancers that may otherwise remain undetected. In 2018, Riverside conducted more than 1,400 screenings for women’s health, lung, prostate and skin cancers.

In closing, the report touted the positive impact that community support has on Riverside’s cancer care offerings for patients, especially those programs and services that are not covered by insurance. It thanked hundreds of local citizens, businesses and other organizations that have donated to the Riverside Foundation and encouraged readers to visit riversideonline.com/stronger for details on how they can contribute.

To read the full 2018 Cancer Care Annual Report, please visit riversideonline.com/cancer.

*Data from 2017 is presented in the 2019 Cancer Care Annual Report, having undergone industry-standard abstraction and processing to meet certain reporting requirements.