Posts Tagged ‘NCI cancer center’

Winship Cancer Institute Launches New Ad

As you’re watching the Winter Olympics this month, keep an eye out for a new television ad spotlighting the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. The 60-second commercial depicts aging fighter jets as a metaphor for outdated cancer treatment. In contrast, Winship offers state-of-the-art care to tens of thousands of cancer patients every year.

As Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center, Winship serves the citizens of the Southeast by working tirelessly to prevent, treat and cure cancer. Patients are offered integrative, multi-disciplinary care that they could not receive anywhere else in the state. The ad notes that over the past seven years, Winship has led or participated in clinical trials for over 75-percent of new FDA-approved cancer treatments.

Last fall, Emory Healthcare began running a series of ads that look at what’s impacting the health care industry today and speaks to the way in which our dedicated teams provide care that includes the whole family. The tag line, “We’re all in this together,” is exemplified daily throughout Winship and the greater Emory Healthcare Network. The compassion and dedication of the doctors, nurses and supportive care teams are unmatched as we strive to meet the unique needs of every patient and family who seek care in one of our facilities. Through the discoveries made possible by a dedicated team of many of the nation’s best physicians and researchers, Winship at Emory is working toward a future when science triumphs over cancer.

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We Are Winship – Survivors from Day One

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Update: Winship has been rated “Outstanding” by the National Cancer Institute in their NCI-designation renewal. Find out why >

As a cancer research, treatment and care center, there are lots of things that make who we are at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, what we do, and how we do it, special.

It’s been said that “once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” We know that our patients put a lot in the hands of the team on which they depend for their cancer treatment. Countless hours of research into the latest and greatest cancer treatment technologies, investigation into who offers those treatments, evaluation of NCI-cancer center designation, precious time and energy spent answering questions about what matters most, the patient experience, and perhaps most importantly, their hope.

Who will treat me? How will they treat me? Would other patients choose Winship for their cancer treatment if they had decision to make over again? Besides the treatment, what about the intangibles? Will my treatment team care about me? Do I even have a team? Who will give me hope?

Despite the wide variety of fears, questions, concerns and worries abound for newly diagnosed cancer patients, there is only one constant at Winship: every patient is a survivor from day one. New patient cases are evaluated by a team of multidisciplinary specialists who meet as a board to leverage their unique areas expertise in the collaboration and development of each patient’s individualized treatment strategy.

As Dr. Bassel El-Rayes puts it, “You may only see one or two physicians, but more than likely at least 13 have been involved in formulating your treatment plan.” And as one of our patients puts it, “This is when you realize that you have a team at Winship to help you fight this.”

If you or someone you know is up against the fight of his or her life, let our patients be the ones who tell you what it means to be cared and treated for at the Winship Cancer Institute. There are those who will tell you, “You feel like you’re part of a process that’s fighting cancer. If there is an answer out there, it’s in that building.” There are those who feel comforted by the members of our care team who themselves have won the fight against cancer and now volunteer their time to help others on their journey(s), “They’re people who have already walked through those halls. They’ve been in the shoes you’re in now.” There are those who will tell you about the confidence they have in treatment technology at Winship, or about the importance of elements such as our healing garden and the words of inspiration on our walls that help restore peace and build courage. There are those who will tell you about the support groups, monthly events, and educational resources to answer even the hardest questions. But most importantly, they will all tell you about their treatment team, or family, at Winship and how they made them feel.

We’re here to help provide the foundation for hope and strength in the fight against cancer, because as the saying goes, “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Find out how we support our patients in their journeys. Find out what it means to be a patient at Winship. Find out what it means to have hope as a survivor. Find out what it means to be a survivor from day one.

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The Role of Support Groups in Cancer Survivorship

Cancer Survivorship Peer Partners Web ChatAs an Oncology Social Worker at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, I provide resources and support to patients and their families throughout the cancer journey. During my first visit with a new patient, I often suggest that he or she try out one of the many support groups offered at Winship or in the community. The response I get from this suggestion varies depending on the patient from enthusiasm to absolute fear.  As a facilitator of two support groups at Winship, I am admittedly a strong advocate of joining a group. However, I understand the apprehension some feel towards sharing the ups and downs of the cancer journey with other people.

For those uncomfortable with participating in support groups, I often outline the benefits of using support groups as a method to cope and connect to others in similar situations. Research from The American Cancer Society provides the following about support groups:

  • Support groups can enhance the quality of life for people with cancer by providing information and support to overcome feelings of aloneness and helplessness.
  • Support groups can help reduce tension, anxiety, fatigue and confusion.
  • There is a strong link between group support and greater tolerance of cancer treatment and treatment compliance.
  • People with cancer are better able to deal with their disease when supported by others.

Dr. Sujatha Murali, Assistant Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Winship, endorses the use of support groups. Dr. Murali states, “support groups are an integral part of treating the whole patient. At Emory, we believe in a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, which not only includes physicians and nurses, but social workers, pharmacists, and nutritionists. We believe this approach results in the best chance of treatment success.”

Still not convinced joining a support group is right for you? Fortunately, support groups come in different forms and sizes. For those uncomfortable with face-to-face group settings, online or telephone groups are great alternatives. Some groups are lead by professional clinicians while others are organized by cancer survivors themselves. Groups can be disease, age or gender specific and some meet weekly, monthly or have no time limit at all.  With all these options available, there’s bound to be a support group to fit anyone’s needs! And if you’re still not sure where to turn, you can always contact me or other social workers at Winship with your questions or by using the comments field below. You can also join Joan Giblin, Director of the Survivorship Program at the Winship Cancer Institute in our upcoming online chat on the Cancer Survivorship and Peer Partners Program at Winship.

Interested in joining a support group, but do not know how to select the right one? The first step is to speak with your oncology social worker!  If you aren’t sure who your social worker is, simply ask your doctor or nurse to point him or her out. Most cancer centers have oncology social workers dedicated to support your psychosocial needs and overall well-being.  Some recommended and approved groups are available through the following sites:

To close, I’d like to share a quote I often share with my patients. It’s out of Mr. Fred Rogers’s book, Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way. He writes, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we’re not alone.”

The cancer journey can be overwhelming, especially if traveled alone. The benefit of allowing others to provide support and care can be life-changing, and possibly life-saving. Join us as we kick-off some of our new support groups, including the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Support Group on Thursday, June 14, 2012. For more information, please see visit our website at

About the Author
Margaret “Maggie” K. Hughes is a Licensed Master of Social Worker at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. She works with Drs. Hawk, Murali, Kucuk, Carthon and El-Rayes. Maggie facilitates the Pancreatic Cancer Support group and co-facilitates the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Support Group at Winship.

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Emory Cancer Program Receives National Outstanding Achievement Award for Cancer Care

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory UniversityEstablished in 2004, The Commission on Cancer (CoC) Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) recognizes cancer programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. Just recently, the CoC of the American College of Surgeons awarded a select group of 106 currently accredited and newly accredited cancer programs across the United States with its OAA.

We want to congratulate Emory University Hospital (EUH) and our physicians at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University for receiving a CoC Outstanding Achievement Award for 2011. EUH was the only hospital in Atlanta to be granted this award and only one of two in Georgia.

Rein Saral, MD, associate director for community affairs and outreach for Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, said he is pleased because the award recognizes the “extraordinary excellence of the overall collaboration between Emory University Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute, Georgia’s only NCI-designated cancer center.”

The OAA is granted to facilities that demonstrate a Commendation level of compliance with seven standards that represent six areas of cancer program activity: cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical management, research, community outreach, and quality improvement. The level of compliance with the seven standards is determined during an onsite evaluation by a physician surveyor. Awarded facilities must also receive a compliance rating for the remaining 29 cancer program standards.

For 2011, just 22 percent of the 489 programs surveyed received the award. A majority of recipients are community-based facilities; however, there were also teaching hospitals, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, and Veterans Affairs hospitals that received the award.

To see a comprehensive list of all the CoC OAA winners, visit:

Could Winship be Joined by a Second NCI Cancer Center in Georgia?

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory UniversityThere are 66 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers across the United States. Through their designation, these centers and their teams are charged with conducting and leading cancer research and putting that work into life-saving clinical practice every day.  The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is Georgia’s only NCI-designated cancer center.  But in a state where more than 15,000 lives are lost annually to cancer-related deaths, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is taking steps to help lower these numbers.

It is Deal’s goal to bring a second NCI cancer center to Georgia to help attract additional researchers and cancer research dollars to the state and at the same time, improve access to high quality cancer treatments for the Georgia community. According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Deal wants the General Assembly to commit $5 million toward the goal this year, but it will take tens of millions more — and years of work” to achieve bringing a second NCI designated cancer center to the state.

After years of effort and support from groups like the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Winship Cancer Institute earned NCI designation in 2009. As a result of the growth leading up to the designation and the designation itself, grant funding for Winship from the NCI grew from $9.5 million in 2001 to $29.5 million in 2011. Throughout the multi-year process,  Winship brought elite researchers and faculty on board and built the infrastructure necessary to become one of the most sophisticated cancer research and treatment centers in the country.

This sophistication in cancer treatment available right here in the state of Georgia has allowed Winship to provide the Georgia community with local treatment options for even the most complex cancer cases. Furthermore, it has given doctors across the state a trusted team to collaborate with when a patient referral is needed get Georgia patients access to the most advanced cancer treatment options available.

Now that the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is considered a place Georgians can call home when they are fighting cancer, it’s time to advance that access. We look forward to seeing a strong push behind the need for a second NCI-designated cancer center in Georgia, and look forward to seeing the possibilities for cancer treatment in Georgia advanced as a result.

For more information on Governor Deal’s push for a second NCI-designated center in the state of Georgia, check out this article in the AJC.