Comprehensive Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence Aims to Accelerate Patient Access to Breakthrough Treatments and Preeminent Pancreatic Cancer Specialists
Fort Myers, FL, Sept. 15, 2021 – GenesisCare—one of the leading oncology providers in the United States, Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom—is collaborating with Lee Health—one of the largest not-for-profit public health systems in Florida—to transform pancreatic patient survival rates. Today the companies announced that their collaborative Florida Center for Pancreas Diseases has been designated a Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence (PCCoE) by the National Pancreas Foundation (NPF).
The NPF Center designation is awarded only to institutions offering high-quality, multidisciplinary care that treat the “whole patient,” focusing on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life.
“Our goal is to provide hope to our patients fighting this dreadful disease using the latest treatment advances available with our world-class multidisciplinary team of over 20 doctors and certified professionals,” said Dr. Mark Bloomston, Surgical Oncologist, GenesisCare, and the Founder of the Florida Pancreas Center. “Over the last six years, we have been able to leverage the resources and talent that were already present in the Ft. Myers area and recruit more experts in the field to create an outstanding team. A comprehensive and personalized approach to treating this disease is the only way to truly impact survival rates. We have to be bolder in our approach to treatment if we want to change the trajectory for our patients.” Dr. Bloomston was recruited to Southwest Florida in 2015 due to his expertise in gastrointestinal cancers, specifically pancreatic cancer.
“Receiving a cancer diagnosis of any kind is a scary life-altering experience,” said Frank Barreiro, a five-year pancreatic cancer survivor treated at the Florida Center for Pancreas Diseases. “Because of the quick efforts of Dr. Bloomston and his team, I’m here today. I’m not just living but thriving. I’m golfing, weightlifting, and fishing again. I’ve seen my daughter graduate high school, college and get married. I was given the gift of five more years with my high school sweetheart, my wife.”
In 2021, the American Cancer Society estimates 4,700 Floridians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a challenging disease to treat because it spreads rapidly and is often found close to other organs.
Physicians at the Florida Pancreas Center treat more cases of pancreatic cancer in a single day than most oncologists see in a lifetime. Patients have access to groundbreaking new treatments before they become standard through the center’s innovative clinical trial program, including oncolytic immunotherapy and irreversible electroporation. The designation as a PCCoE opens the door to new resources. One of them is an MR Linac, a technology that enables the precise targeting of pancreatic cancer cells with real-time MRI imaging to deliver more effective doses of radiation to the tumor while minimizing damage to nearby tissues.
“We now have the opportunity to further improve upon the high-quality care we are providing to hundreds of patients in our community,” stated Dr. Bloomston.
“Pancreatic cancer treatment is complex, and patients want to feel confident that they are working with a highly experienced care team with the convenience of receiving that care close to home,” said Dan Collins, Founder and CEO, GenesisCare. “Our collaboration with Lee Health brings together Florida’s top pancreatic cancer specialists and the latest treatment advances to meet this need.”
“The fastest way to advancing progress against cancer is through collaboration. We will continue to explore partnerships such as this to ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to receiving access to the latest medical breakthroughs and the highest possible quality of care, continued Mr. Collins.”
Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers and is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., surpassed only by lung and colon cancers. Of those diagnosed this year in the U.S., an estimated 80 percent (48,000) will die from the disease.
“After more than five years of planning, we’re launching a collaborative effort, dedicated to ensuring patients facing the bleakest of outcomes may benefit from a team of leading pancreatic cancer specialists,” said President & CEO of Lee Health Dr. Larry Antonucci. “Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive and devastating disease that will continue its relentless grasp on our communities if we don’t act. Now is the time for partnerships that seek to overcome obstacles, offer hope, and extend lives.”
The Pancreatic Center of Excellence application requires the fulfillment of numerous criteria and dedicated core personnel and specialized physicians who lead multidisciplinary teams. There are only 62 PCCoE facilities in the U.S. This designation allows patients access to evidence-based pathways, multidisciplinary care, participation in clinical trials, ongoing investment in staff training and professional development, and ongoing audits and reviews against a range of quality metrics. The Florida Pancreas Center includes collaboration with Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center and Lee Physician Group Medical Oncology, and Florida Cancer Specialists. For more information on the Florida Center for Pancreas Diseases. visit https://floridapancreascenter.com/.
About The National Pancreas Foundation
Founded in 1997, the National Pancreas Foundation provides hope for those suffering from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer through funding cutting-edge research, advocating for new and better therapies and providing support and education for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. The NPF is the only foundation dedicated to patients suffering from all forms of pancreas disease. For more information, visit www.pancreasfoundation.org.
About Lee Health
Since the opening of the first hospital in 1916, Lee Health has been a health care leader in Southwest Florida, constantly evolving to meet the needs of the community. A non-profit, integrated health care services organization, Lee Health is staffed by caring people, inspiring health, who are committed to the well-being of every individual served, focused on healthy living and maintaining good health. Services are conveniently located throughout the community in four acute care hospitals, two specialty hospitals, outpatient centers, walk-in medical centers, primary care and specialty physician practices and other services across the continuum of care. Learn more at http://www.leehealth.org/.