Before Beaufort Memorial opened the Keyserling Cancer Center in Port Royal, cancer patients needing radiation therapy would have to travel to Savannah or Charleston for treatment, often making the 60-90 minute drive five days a week for four-to-six weeks.
This spring, the Keyserling Cancer Center celebrates its 10th anniversary and patients are more grateful than ever to have the accredited facility so close to home.
“It made a world of difference,” said Lady’s Island resident Carole Kiessling, who was treated at the center for uterine cancer last spring. “It was so much easier getting my chemotherapy and radiation treatment in town rather than driving all the way to Charleston.”
Designed under the direction of Duke Medicine, the 25,000-square-foot facility opened in 2006 and offers both medical and radiation oncology under one roof, as well as a full range of associated services. Every facet of the Keyserling Cancer Center, from its medical equipment, protocols and procedures to the qualifications of physicians, nurses, physicist and technicians, had to meet the rigorous standards set by the Duke Oncology Network.
Four years after opening, the center was accredited as a Community Cancer Program by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Considered the gold standard for cancer care, the accreditation is granted only to facilities offering a full range of cutting-edge services and the best in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Following an extensive on-site evaluation, the Commission honored the Keyserling Cancer Center with its New Program Outstanding Achievement Award.
“It was an extraordinary accomplishment to qualify for accreditation after just four years,” said Beaufort Memorial Cancer Services Director Connie Duke. “Not only did our program meet the Commission’s high quality-of-care standards, we demonstrated a level of excellence worthy of special commendation.”
To earn accreditation, a hospital must take a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care. The center’s specialists, including medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists, need to work as a team to coordinate the best available treatment.
The cancer center also needs to offer patients support services, ongoing monitoring and information on clinical trials and new treatment options. In addition, patients should have access to prevention and early detection programs and a cancer registry that offers lifelong follow-up.
Over the years, BMH has expanded its cancer services to include breast care coordinators, a cancer resource center, support groups, a lymphedema specialist, nutrition counseling and an outpatient care coordinator who can direct patients to the resources they need.
To meet the growing demand for cancer care, BMH opened a new oncology practice and chemotherapy and infusion center last year on the hospital’s main campus. Beaufort Memorial Oncology Specialists is headed by longtime medical oncologist Dr. Marcus Newberry III. He offers treatment for a wide array of cancers and benign hematological conditions.
Newberry also is medical director of Beaufort Memorial Chemotherapy & Infusion Services. Like the Keyserling Cancer Center, it was designed with the healing arts in mind to provide patients a comfortable, convenient and relaxing setting to receive their chemo treatment. Both the practice and infusion center are located at Beaufort Medical Plaza.
“Beaufort Memorial Oncology Specialists and the new infusion center are part of the continued commitment to our comprehensive cancer program to provide the best possible care to our patients,” Newberry said.
This spring, BMH added radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Briggs to the Keyserling Cancer staff. Formerly director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, he brings with him 16 years’ experience treating the kinds of cancers most often seen in Beaufort, including cancers of the breast, prostate, skin and lung.
The oncology team also includes Beaufort Memorial Medical Oncology, the practice of Dr. Majd Chahin, who has been seeing patients at the Keyserling Cancer Center since it opened in 2006. He also serves as medical director of Beaufort Memorial Oncology Services and principal investigator for the hospital’s clinical trials program.
“I was a big proponent of opening the Keyserling Cancer Center, not just to make radiation treatment available in Beaufort County, but to be able to deliver both chemo and radiation therapy in one building,” Chahin said. “The effort the hospital has made to boost services has been phenomenal. It has been dramatically more successful than I ever anticipated.”
Top photo: The Beaufort Memorial Keyserling Cancer Center is celebrating 10 years of offering cancer care for the community.