The Comprehensive Cancer Center at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals has opened the Upper Gastrointestinal Multidisciplinary Clinic (UGMDC) for the treatment of esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, liver and bile duct/gallbladder cancers. It is the only program of its kind in Rhode Island, and is designed to make diagnosis and treatment easier and more convenient for patients.
Through a streamlined approach to cancer care, clinicians are able to more quickly and seamlessly provide patients with treatment options and initiate their care plan. In some cases, patients have gone from initial appointment and diagnosis to surgical treatment within one week.
“Receiving a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming for the patient and his or her loved ones,” said Kevin Charpentier, MD, director of the UGMDC. “There is a lot of information to absorb and a lot of clinicians involved in the patient’s care. At the UGMDC, we coordinate all care in one setting and walk patients and family members through every step of their care – from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship.”
He continued, “Cancer affects the whole patient, not just the area of the body infected, it impacts patients on physical, mental, emotional and often financial levels. To help patients prepare for what’s ahead and to help them process everything that is happening, we provide them with experts in social work and clinical psychiatry, as well as education, nutrition counseling, support groups and much more. We want to ensure that our patients have all of their medical and emotional needs met in one place.”
At diagnosis and during one visit, patients meet with physicians in all related disciplines including surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology and vascular radiology. The team then meets with the patient to recommend a personalized care plan. Patients in the UGMDC will be treated by some of the world’s leading cancer experts, and will benefit from cutting-edge research and clinical trials.
•One-time consultation, evaluation and second opinion
•Nurse practitioner/nurse navigator to guide patients through the continuum of their cancer care
•Advanced surgical expertise for cancers of the liver, pancreas, bile duct, gallbladder, stomach and esophagus
•High-risk screening and diagnostic tests
•Radiation oncology services, including CyberKnife, intensity modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy and brachytherapy
•Cancer genetic risk assessment, testing, counseling
•On-site social worker
•Patient education and support groups
Each patient also will meet with a nurse practitioner who is trained in oncology, specializing in gastrointestinal cancers and who serves as a patient navigator. The navigator guides patients through the health care system and the course of their treatment, including coordination of services, facilitation of communication with health care professionals, arrangement of interpreters and transportation, assistance with insurance and financial questions, education and emotional support.
“There are many facets of care involved in treating cancer,” Charpentier said. “At the Comprehensive Cancer Center’s UGMDC, you’ll receive care from clinical experts in your type of cancer, and the treatment plan will be targeted specifically to you. There is no one-size-fits all in cancer, but our goal is to provide patients with the highest quality, personalized cancer care, all close to home, and all in one location.”
For more information or to make an appointment, contact Amy Doorley, MSN, RNP, at 401-444-2790.