Enhancing Patient Care

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Symposium on Cancer - September 2010  

Tex Med. 2010;106(9):39-40.  

By Salvatore J. LoCoco, MD, Guest Editor  

Welcome to the Texas Medicine Symposium on Cancer. I believe a wealth of current information in regard to screening and treatment of cancer has been gathered in the following pages for those of us in the Texas medical community to share. We hope you find this information useful to your practice.

In addition, you can earn up to 2 hours of continuing medical education (CME) credit by reading the articles and returning the Self-Assessment/CME Evaluation Form.

When first asked to be a guest editor for this project, I pondered what was to be accomplished by a special issue of Texas Medicine on cancer. The ultimate answer to that question, as is the case with most of the activities of the Texas Medical Association, is to make sure that the project enhances patient care in Texas. Unless we stay focused on that objective, nothing else we do really matters. With that in mind, we assembled an extensive list of relevant clinical topics covering various disease sites.

The clinical articles here provide updates on the state-of-the-art treatment principles currently employed by Texas physicians in patient care. We are very fortunate in Texas to have such a rich tradition of leadership not only in medical research but also in the actual delivery of care to patients. The authors asked to participate in this project represent the diverse medical community throughout the state. We also have representation from physicians in both private practice and from our teaching institutions, as well.

While planning this issue, we obviously could not cover every single disease site in the field of oncology. The topics ultimately chosen are ones that are commonly encountered in patients every day. Nicholas D'Cunha, MD, and Everardo Cobos, MD, from Texas Tech, have contributed a comprehensive review on the current approach to treating leukemia and lymphomas.

In the context of the increasing percentage of morbidly obese patients throughout the country as well as here in Texas, Todd Boren, MD, and David Miller, MD, from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, have put together an update on the incidence and treatment of the most common gynecologic malignancy - endometrial cancer.

Stephen Brown, MD, from Austin, has written an overview that can serve as a primer for any practicing physician on the modern approach to the use of radiation therapy in cancer treatment.

Robert Ruxer, MD, and Janice Tomberlin, MD, of Texas Oncology in Fort Worth, along with Anita Chow, MD, have written an overview on the multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer.

Because screening guidelines appear to many of us at times to be like shifting sand, Lewis Foxhall, MD,  of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, along with Karen Torges, of the American Cancer Society, and Rebecca Garcia, PhD, of Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, collaborated on a useful overview of current cancer screening guidelines for the general population.

In addition to the clinical information in the symposium, this issue of Texas Medicine offers commentaries on how we pay for this great cancer care to complete the discussion.

Steve Paulson, MD, president of Texas Oncology, gives us an informative and timely discussion of the "business" of providing cancer care services.

We also asked Ron Anderson, MD, of Parkland Hospital in Dallas, to give us an overview of the extensive public delivery of cancer services at safety net institutions such as Parkland in Dallas. It is clear to many of us that even for patients in rural counties, the access point for care is only at these institutions. It is important to all Texas physicians that we understand the current structure of care for unfunded and underfunded patients. Hopefully, it will open up a public dialogue to consider a statewide coordination of services that will ultimately ensure that no patient in Texas "falls through the cracks" of the system.

Finally, we asked Bill Gimson, the executive director of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), to give us an update on the exciting process of organizing and implementing CPRIT since the legislature fulfilled Gov. Rick Perry's vision of a world-class cancer research center.

Thank you for joining us in reviewing the information in this issue. We hope that you find the information useful to your practice and that it helps meet some of your CME needs.

I would like to thank the authors for their collective great effort, as well as the work and support of the Texas Medicine staff for their dedicated work on this project. I also want to personally thank all of the physicians currently in practice for your hard work and dedication to your patients. It is through your collective effort that the Texas medical community provides such a great standard of care to our patients.

To our senior and retired physician members of TMA, I hope you find this information interesting and intellectually stimulating. We all thank you for your past service to our patients and for giving us such a great tradition of excellence in the practice of medicine in the great state of Texas.

Salvatore J. LoCoco, MD, is the immediate past chair of the TMA Committee on Cancer. He currently is the chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.   

September 2010 Texas Medicine Contents
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