November 2013– The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer awarded the Riverside Shore Cancer Center its full accreditation with gold standard commendation. 


Reade Bonniwell, a cancer patient at the Center, said that the entire staff is what makes the Center such a local treasure.  "From the reception area to the nurses and doctors, the patient is brought into an extended family environment.  That is what sets the cancer center apart!  I could have gone off the Shore for treatment but when I researched things, the cancer center had the most up-to-date equipment in the area," he said.


Besides the technology and the care standard, there was more:  "The big plus was that we had a lot of laughter!  There was always something going on to distract you from the reality of cancer.  You are not a number, you are a friend who has a problem, and the whole staff at the cancer center has your back!" Bonniwell said.


The Commission on Cancer has identified 34 standards of a quality cancer program.  A cancer program has to surpass all 34 standards in order to achieve accreditation.  Of those 34 standards, a cancer program can earn commendation in any or all of eight standards.  The Riverside Shore Cancer Center received commendation in all 8 areas, resulting in Full Accreditation with Gold Standard Commendation status.  


The eight areas where commendation is possible include clinical outcomes, data quality, the advanced education of staff and the Center's cancer education efforts within the community.


Accreditation benefits patients by ensuring that the cancer program offers leading edge services and equipment, a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, clinical trials and new treatment options, access to prevention and early detection programs and quality care in a close-to-home setting.


"It's so important to people living in this area to know that we are here for them after their diagnosis, when they feel so vulnerable already.  We are prepared to fight cancer by their side," said Chuck Ward, Riverside Shore Cancer Center Director.


"Often oncologists in other areas advise their patients to save the drive time and get treatment at the Shore's Cancer Center, since it has everything they need.  We've got the technology and the know-how to do it, and this accreditation shows that we are doing it well," said Ward.  "We are proud that our patients trust us to bring them through such a difficult time in their lives.  In return for their trust, we pledge to ensure their safety, quality of treatment and satisfaction and that their wishes are respected."


Bonniwell still sees his oncologist, Dr. Sinesi, and keeps in contact with his radiation therapists and nurses at the center, Denise, Cindy and Janine.  He calls them "the backbone of radiation oncology at Shore Cancer Center" and appreciates all the laughter they bring while doing their jobs.  "After cancer, your outlook changes and you figure out real quick and in a hurry what's important," Bonniwell said.


2013 marks the 10th year anniversary of the Riverside Shore Cancer Center, which began offering radiation therapy in March 2003.

Published: November 1, 2013