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Mercy San Juan Medical Center Honored for Excellence in the Care and Treatment of Lung Cancer Patients


Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation awards Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center with Designation as a Community Hospital Center of Excellence Award .

Today the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) awarded Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center the official designation as a Community Hospital Center of Excellence. The ALCF Centers of Excellence award recognizes community hospitals for their individualized care and treatment of lung cancer patients. Mercy San Juan Medical Center is the first community hospital in the Sacramento region to receive this designation. 

“Across the U.S., the majority of lung cancer patients are treated in the community hospital setting,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a Stage IIIB lung cancer survivor and founder of the ALCF. “Our multi-disciplinary, patient-centric Centers of Excellence Program raises the bar on the standard of care for lung cancer patients and ensures patients know which hospitals are using the most up-to-date technology to improve treatment options and quality of life.”

As a Community Hospital Center of Excellence, Mercy San Juan Medical Center is implementing the standard of care required through the ALCF’s Centers of Excellence Program. The program’s hallmark standard ensures all patients receive genomic testing to monitor for specific disease states and to determine potential options for precision medicine and targeted treatment. 

“Our team of experts focuses on targeting the treatment specifically for each patient and maximizing their chance of survival,” said Brian Ivie, president and CEO at Mercy San Juan Medical Center. “We are excited to join forces with the ALCF to address lung cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship in our Sacramento community.”

Additional standards include an individualized approach to care, patient access to new diagnostic tools and therapeutic techniques, and an emphasis on early detection and patient follow-up, including regular lung cancer screenings. The goal of the screening program is to identify individuals who might be at an increased risk for lung cancer. Participants must be:

  • Between 50-75 years old to meet criteria
  • Current smoker or former smoker
  • Has quit for less than 15 years
  • Has a 30 pack-year smoking history (calculated by physician)

“Our lung cancer team welcomes the ALCF designation as a Center of Excellence and will continue to focus our attention on excellence in lung cancer care through research and targeted, personalized medicine,” said Costanzo Di Perna, M.D., Medical Director of the Dignity Health Cancer Institute and Medical Director of Chest Disease at Mercy San Juan Medical Center. “Our individual approach to lung cancer patients has improved countless lives and we are honored to be considered a gold standard for treatment in the region.” 

Mercy San Juan Medical Center follows the ALCF’s successful pilot program at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. Preliminary metrics from the 2013 pilot program highlight that patient outcomes improved dramatically during the pilot stage’s first year.

  • 100 percent of pilot program patients received molecular testing
  • The time from diagnosis to treatment improved 77 percent, from a national average of 45 days down to 10 days
  • 62 percent of program patients underwent tumor board review
  • 100 percent patient satisfaction
  • 26 percent of treated patients were diagnosed at stage 2B or lower

While the understanding of lung cancer’s diagnosis and treatment has improved, additional work is still needed to advance the treatment options and survival statistics. Approximately 221,200 new lung cancer cases were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2015.

  • Lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. It accounts for 27 percent of all cancer deaths and is the second leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in every ethnic group. Since 1987, it has killed more women every year than breast cancer.
  • The five-year lung cancer survival rate has changed little in nearly 40 years – from 12 percent in 1970 to 17 percent today.

This staggering loss of life has gone unnoticed for too long. The ALCF’s overall mission is to change that prognosis through funding clinical research that leads to life-saving discoveries and treatments and provides critical support services and educational programs to empower patients and create hope.

“The ALCF is focused on initiatives that empower patients to take a seat at the table wherever discussions are being made about their care,” added Addario. “We are committed to improving the standard of care and believe genomic testing and targeted therapy is the future of lung cancer treatment and the pathway to increasing the survival rate for all lung cancer patients.”

About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions, make timely and meaningful change, and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. Established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization, the ALCF received the highest rating from Charity Navigator in 2015. The organization has raised nearly $25 million for lung cancer research and related programs.

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