One of the leading cancer treatment centers in the St. Louis area, The St. Louis Cancer & Breast Institute, is now part of St. John’s Mercy, a partnership that will allow both organizations to reach more patients and enhance the level of care. “Our joint efforts will help more women and men, expand our clinical research and trials, broaden our outpatient centers and make services more accessible,” says Don Kalicak, VP of business development and strategic planning at St. John’s Mercy.
St. John’s Mercy Medical Center has a long tradition of providing comprehensive cancer care through its on-campus David C. Pratt Cancer Center, Kalicak says, and joining with St. Louis Cancer & Breast Institute creates greater opportunities. “Bringing together these two groups of very well-respected clinicians who excel in the treatment of cancer is a great thing for patients and the community.” He says patients will notice a general improvement in the quality of care. “One specific way this will happen is through the use of the electronic medical record. We’re launching it at St. John’s right now, and soon many of our physicians will have it in their practice,” Kalicak explains. “Overall, this means improved coordination of care and convenience for our patients.”
St. Louis Cancer & Breast Institute has specialized in the treatment of breast cancer through surgical, medical and radiation oncology, social services, support groups and other services since 1999. Surgical oncologist Dr. Marlys Schuh says part of the Institute’s success can be credited to its unique, multidisciplinary, patient-oriented approach. “Our focus has always been breast cancer and putting a strong emphasis on taking care of women with breast cancer,” she says. “Partnering with St. John’s gives us a larger platform to help patients.”
Numbers from the American Cancer Society show that one in eight women will get breast cancer sometime in her life, and one in 35 will likely die from it. By joining services with St. John’s, Schuh says the institute hopes to reach and help more women through education and screening, two of the most important tools in the fight against breast cancer. “Women, in general, are more aware about the importance of monthly breast self-exams and annual mammograms for those over 40. But there’s new information and treatment modalities coming in all the time,” she says. “There’s always going to be a continuing need for education and awareness of basic screening.”