Cancer Care Clinical Outcomes Report
Message from Edmund Tai, M.D., Medical Director
Cancer continued to make headlines in 2012, with lowered incidence and decreasing death rates compared with previous years. Many challenges have emerged, as we make new discoveries in the basic sciences. As a major provider of cancer care in the Bay Area, PAMF is well poised to continue to provide state-of-the-art care in an arena of rapidly changing knowledge.
The understanding and treatment of cancer have undergone dramatic changes over the past few years. Discoveries in the basic sciences are making more targeted therapies possible, honing in on the biological pathways that control cancer’s growth. Accordingly, there is now also a shift toward treating cancers according to their biological behaviors, rather than their anatomical sites. As treatments become more effective and better tolerated, the number of cancer survivors is expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades. Cancer patients’ needs will also change from those of basic survival to quality of life optimization. For all of these reasons, it is imperative that treatment be delivered by a team that stays abreast of the rapidly changing landscape of oncology.
As a major provider of cancer care in the Bay Area, we must be—and are—prepared for this ever-changing landscape. We are addressing the need to manage a greater number of patients with increased life expectancies, while remaining cost effective. At the same time, our teams are continuously adapting to breakthroughs as they come along. Many treatments now last for years, and the staff and facilities that will deliver this care must be available and accessible to all of our patients. Our clinical genetics program is rapidly growing and plays an integral part in the management of breast, ovarian and colon cancers. The survivorship program continues to attract new participants. The program provides many services for our patients, all aimed at restoring them to the best-possible physical and emotional state throughout their journey. To these ends, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s integrated care delivery system is ideally suited to care for patients within our large service area, with facilities in Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. The use of a single electronic health record allows for complex treatment to be given at our various sites safely, and at our patients’ convenience. We have added oncologists at the Fremont and Santa Cruz sites to meet this rising demand.
It remains our goal to provide cutting-edge treatments and personalized care to our patients within their communities. The opening of our Sunnyvale Cancer Center in 2013 represents our commitment to our patients’ health. Our investment in medical informatics will ensure the highest level of safety and efficiency in our work. Most importantly, the continuing addition of superbly trained physicians and staff will ensure that we can deliver the highest-quality care to our patients for decades to come.
Edmund Tai, M.D.
Medical Director, Cancer Care Program