Four years after opening the Keyserling Cancer Center, Beaufort Memorial Hospital has received accreditation from the Commission on Cancer, earning a special commendation for achieving excellence in all eight core areas of cancer care.
Only 25 percent of the 5,500 cancer programs in the country are granted the commission's stamp of approval. Beaufort Memorial earned a three-year accreditation and was awarded the highest level of endorsement -- Accreditation with Commendation -- for meeting standards of excellence representing the full scope of cancer care.
Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1922, the Commission on Cancer conducts rigorous on-site evaluations to determine if a cancer program is in compliance with the practices required for accreditation. The standards of care cover everything including data management, clinical services, research and community outreach.
The cancer center is an affiliate of Duke Medicine, one of the top treatment centers in the country. In 2007, it became a member of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, one of the 10 major associations conducting clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
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"Our commitment to adhering to the highest standards of care has never wavered," said Dr. Majd Chahin, medical director of Beaufort Memorial's oncology program.
To earn accreditation by the commission, a hospital must offer comprehensive cancer care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services and technology. The facility's multi-disciplinary team of specialists, including medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists, need to work together to coordinate the best available treatment.
Patients should be provided with support services, ongoing monitoring and information on clinical trials and new treatment options.
They also should have access to prevention and early detection programs and a cancer registry that offers lifelong patient follow-up.
"Duke has served as a great model," said Connie Duke, Beaufort Memorial's oncology services director. "But we couldn't have done it without our staff. Everyone working with us has given more than 100 percent. The result has been beyond expectations."
Although the 1,480 facilities accredited by the commission account for only a quarter of cancer programs in the United States, they diagnose and/or treat 80 percent of new cancer patients each year.