Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center Awarded for Excellence in Lung Cancer Care

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Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center Awarded for Excellence in Lung Cancer Care
Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Honors Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center in Truckee with Community Hospital Center of Excellence Award

San Carlos, Calif. and Truckee, Calif. (March 25, 2015)-(BUSINESS WIRE)-Today the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) awarded Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center of Truckee, California, the official designation as a Community Hospital Center of Excellence. The ALCF Centers of Excellence award recognizes community hospitals for their individualized care and treatment of lung cancer patients.

“It’s critical to raise the bar on the standard of care for lung cancer patients,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a stage 3B survivor and founder of the ALCF. “Right now 80 percent of all cancer patients are treated at a community hospital, which is why we have implemented our multi-disciplinary, patient-centric Centers of Excellence Program to increase patient survival rates.”

As a Community Hospital Center of Excellence, Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center is implementing the standard of care required in the ALCF’s Centers of Excellence Program. The program’s hallmark standard ensures all patients receive genomic testing to monitor for specific disease states and determine potential targeted therapy options. Additional standards include an individualized approach to care, patient access to new diagnostic tools and therapeutic techniques, and an emphasis on early detection and patient follow-up.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by the ALCF for our lung cancer program and the work we do to improve our standard of care for the Tahoe and Truckee communities,” said Dr. Laurence Heifetz, Medical Director at the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. “Our goal is to improve lung patient outcomes and increase overall survival rates by focusing on early detection and treatment options.”

Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center follows the ALCF’s successful pilot program at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. Preliminary metrics from the 2013 pilot program have shown patient outcomes improved dramatically during the first year of the pilot stage.

  • 100 percent of patients in the pilot program received molecular testing
  • Diagnosis to treatment time improved 77 percent, from an average of 45 days down to 10 days
  • 62 percent of patients in the program underwent tumor board review
  • 100 percent patient satisfaction was recorded across the board
  • 26 percent of patients treated were diagnosed at stage 2B or lower

While the understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer has improved, there is additional work to be done. In 2015 alone, there will be more than 221,200 new cases of lung cancer in the U.S., and the American Cancer Society estimates more than 158,000 Americans will die of the disease.

  • Lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined and it accounts for 27 percent of all cancer deaths. It is the second leading cause of all deaths in the U.S.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in every ethnic group and since 1987 has killed more women every year than breast cancer.
  • The five-year survival rate for lung cancer has changed little in nearly 40 years— from 12 percent in 1970 to 16 percent today.
  • This staggering loss of life has gone unnoticed too long, and the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation is on a mission to change that.
  • The ALCF funds clinical research that leads to life-saving discoveries and treatments and provides critical support services and educational programs to empower patients and create hope.

“The Foundation is powering progress through ground-up initiatives, educating patients to identify solutions and create meaningful change in lung cancer treatment options,” Addario said. “The ALCF is empowering patients to take a seat at the table wherever discussions are being made about their care. We are committed to improving the standard of care and believe genomic testing and targeted therapy is the future of lung cancer treatment and the pathway to increasing the survival rate.”

For those interested in learning more about ALCF, visit www.lungcancerfoundation.org and follow its activities on Twitter and Facebook.

About The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised more than $20 million for lung cancer research and related programs.

About Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center
A service of Tahoe Forest Health System, located in Truckee, California, and led by Medical Director and Oncologist Laurence Heifetz, MD, FACP, Medical Oncologist and Hematologist Melissa Kaime, MD, FACP, Medical Oncologist and Hematologist Ahrin Koppel, MD, and Radiation Oncologist Daphne Palmer, MD, FACRO, the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center’s mission is to provide the highest quality cancer treatment and care. They strive to offer the most appropriate and current cancer diagnostic and therapeutic modalities in an honest, supportive, respectful and compassionate manner. For more information, visit www.tahoecancercenter.com