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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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New, Multidisciplinary Cancer Center Opens Today at Houston VA

October 16, 2006

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On opening day of the new Cancer Clinic at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, veteran E.R. Baltazar talks with Sheryl Phipps, RN, charge nurse, Oncology Clinic and Rosetta Brumfield-Brown, R.N., nurse manager, GI/Endoscopy.

PHOTO BY: Bobbi D. Gruner, MEDVAMC Public Affairs Officer

HOUSTON – According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. However, improvements in cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment have increased the survival rate for many types of cancer.  In response to this serious health issue, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) opened its new, multidisciplinary Cancer Center today, October 16, 2006.

The new Cancer Center, a 14,000 square foot, completely remodeled wing of the MEDVAMC, will bring together health care specialists from all parts of the medical center including Medical Oncology, Hematology, Surgical Oncology, Urology, Radiation Oncology, Digestive Diseases, Pulmonary Medicine, and Pathology with the goal of ensuring each veteran receives state of the art cancer care.

"The new Cancer Center at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is a beautifully designed, well-lighted space that will put our patients at ease. This Center is designed to promote interdisciplinary interaction, with providers from many disciplines working side by side to evaluate new patients who may need more than one treatment modality. This arrangement will promote communication between providers; thereby, increasing efficiency and improving quality of care," said Daniel E. Epner, M.D., F.A.C.P., chief, Hematology/Oncology Section.

With a comfortable and modern design, the Center is complete with six patient treatment rooms, 13 examination rooms, 16 private chemotherapy areas, a special procedures room, a pharmacy, and a specimen collection laboratory.

"The staff of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy Pre-Screen Clinic is tremendously excited about being a part of the new Cancer Center and having so many treatment options for our veterans right at our fingertips," said Rosetta Brumfield-Brown, R.N., nurse manager, GI/Endoscopy.

The Cancer Center includes conference and classrooms for medical student and resident instruction and teaching. The MEDVAMC operates the largest VA residency program with more than 215 slots accounting for more than 580 residents per academic year. In addition each year, more than 1,000 students are trained through 112 affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning in 13 states.

"The new Center also has space for multidisciplinary conferences, which will be directly integrated with the multidisciplinary clinics. We are working hard in collaboration with the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine to greatly expand our clinical trials program in order to improve the standard of care for our cancer patients. Clinical trials are critical to the oncology mission, since they lead to better treatments. The new Cancer Center will enable us to offer new, exciting treatments to more of our patients," said Epner.