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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


State-Of-The-Art Treatment at Sammons Cancer Center

Feb 04, 2015 06:36PM ● By Julie Thibodeaux

Dr. Alan Miller

While cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the United States, there’s a lot of good news, too. Survival rates are up and new treatments are proving effective. Fortunately for North Texans, cutting-edge cancer technology is available right here in the Metroplex. The Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, in Dallas, opened in its new, 467,000-square-foot facility in 2011.

The 10-story outpatient cancer center offers advanced screening, prevention and diagnostic and treatment services, as well as comprehensive education and support programs.The campus, which is expected to receive gold LEED-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, also offers a garden, library and chapel where patients and visitors can find respite.

Dr. Alan Miller, director of the Sammons Center and chief of oncology for the Baylor Health Care System, says the center’s high reputation draws patients from across Texas and from neighboring states. “Outside of MD Anderson [in Houston], we treat more cancer patients than any other facility in the state of Texas, and we treat more cancer patients than anyone else in North Texas.”

Miller says the center prides itself on being the best at both high-tech and high-touch. On the tech side, the Sammons Center offers an extensive research center with myriad cancer clinical trials of new treatments. Last year, more than 800 people participated in research at the facility. “We have been leaders in helping to develop cancer treatments that now are routinely available to all cancer patients,” notes Miller.

The center has recruited a top-tier medical staff, organized into teams that focus on specific type of cancer. “For example, we have four medical oncologists who see only breast cancer patients,” says Miller. “We have radiologists trained in breast radiology. Instead of reading just one mammogram a week, they are reading more than 100 mammograms a day.”

On the “touch” side, the Sammons Center offers personalized care that addresses the human needs of patients. An extensive integrative medicine program works in tandem with traditional treatments, using mind-body-spirit oriented therapies that have scientific evidential basis. Prescriptions may include lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, counseling and acupuncture.Miller says there is growing evidence that lifestyle changes such as exercise and good nutrition are effective in both preventing and defeating cancer. “You don’t have the hard evidence, such as ‘smoking causes cancer,’ but the case is building.”

The facility also houses the Virginia R. Cvetko Patient Education and Support Center, which aims to help cancer patients be at their physical and emotional best as they cope with the disease. The center offers support groups, healthy cooking demonstrations and classes on everything from yoga to journaling for all cancer patients, not just those in the Baylor Health Care System. 

Another unique feature of the center is that it is connected by a sky bridge to the new T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital, the first dedicated cancer hospital in North Texas. This offers easy access and convenience for both patients and physicians.

Miller says the center’s state-of-the-art technology, combined with its peaceful surroundings has a positive effect on both the patients and the staff.“For those of us who work here, it makes you want to do more and do better.”

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Staff writer Julie Thibodeaux can be reached at [email protected].

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