When a new family moves into the neighborhood, you’re on the lookout for several things. Do they keep their lawn mowed, noise level down and cars parked in their own driveway?
If they pass these tests and even invite you to a backyard barbecue, you consider yourself fortunate.
When M. D. Anderson moves into a greater Houston area neighborhood, you can imagine that other hospitals and physicians have their checklists out, too. Are they here to take over? Will they work closely with us? Will they have a positive or negative impact on our cancer patients’ overall care?
With six local satellite locations, M. D. Anderson continues to demonstrate its good neighbor policy. Nowhere is that more evident than at the suburban Katy center on the campus of CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital, where medical oncology, pharmacy and laboratory services are being added to radiation therapy.
“As medical director of the center’s radiation treatment component, I have tried to bring an inclusive spirit to the development of the community cancer program,” says Greg Chronowski, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology.
Particularly in his area of clinical expertise, the treatment of often-complex head and neck cancers, Chronowski has formed a close working relationship with local otolaryngologists. Several regularly attend multidisciplinary tumor board sessions in which patient cases are reviewed and treatment plans agreed upon.
For cancers of the larynx and pharynx, it’s critical that the surgeon, radiation oncologist and medical oncologist are in sync. Initial and follow-up care often require close coordination and sequencing of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
“The key to fostering these relationships is to respect the opinion and expertise that the community physician brings to the table,” Chronowski says. “By building relationships based on mutual respect, we ultimately affect a greater number of patients, to their benefit.”