To improve the coordination of care for its cancer patients, Beaufort Memorial Hospital teamed up with Duke University Medical Center to host its first conference for primary care professionals.
The free seminar focused on colon and breast cancer, covering patient care from diagnostic screenings to the latest treatments and therapies.
"We often turn to primary care professionals to help us manage the side effects caused by the disease and the treatment," said Connie Duke, Beaufort Memorial's oncology services director. "It's important we keep them in the loop. They play an integral role in the overall care of our cancer patients."
Three cancer experts from Duke -- ranked among the top 10 cancer treatment sites in the nation -- flew in to Beaufort to speak about genetic counseling and testing, the role of diet and exercise in breast cancer and targeted therapies for colon cancer.
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They were joined by five specialists from Beaufort Memorial, including gastroenterologist Dr. Kevin Kearney, who discussed colon cancer screenings.
"It's important for physicians to address this issue with their patients," Kearney told the 40 health care professionals attending the conference. "Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It's also one of the most preventable and curable cancers if detected early enough."
Duke gastrointestinal oncologist Dr. Hope Uronis followed Kearney with an update on the new targeted therapies being used in conjunction with chemotherapy to treat colon cancer.
"Back when there was only one chemotherapy drug, the median survival rate for a patient with advanced stage colon cancer was six months," said Uronis, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University. "Now the average is two years."