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Hospital recognized for cancer care
Program at Northside among best in nation
cancer2
Young-Hoon Yoon performs maintenance checks on monitors attached to radiation scanners at Northside Hospital-Forsyth. - photo by Autumn McBride

On the Net
For more information about Northside's Cancer Care Program, visit www.northside.com.

Northside Hospital's Cancer Care Program has been named one of the best in the nation.

The American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer recently presented the hospital's program -- which includes the Sandy Springs, Forsyth and Canton campuses -- with the Outstanding Achievement Award.

The award honors facilities that demonstrate high levels of compliance with standards that represent six areas of cancer program activity.

They include: Cancer committee leadership; cancer data management; clinical management; research; community outreach; and quality improvement.

The 90 programs receiving the award make up only about 17 percent of all programs evaluated.

Northside leaders were pleased to receive the recognition.

Patti Owens, director of oncology services, said in a statement that the award "exemplifies our ongoing commitment to providing high quality, multidisciplinary cancer care as a comprehensive, community hospital cancer care program."

The program encompasses all aspects of cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, at the hospital.

In addition to the Commission on Cancer recognition, Northside was also recently selected to join the National Cancer Institute's Community Cancer Centers Program.

The program is an exclusive group of 30 community cancer centers offering advanced cancer care and research.

According to a news release from Northside, the hospital is the only one in Atlanta and one of just three in the Southeast selected for the program.

Northside's Forsyth campus made strides in its cancer treatment programs recently with the opening of a new radiation therapy center.

"With the opening of our cancer center in December, Northside Hospital-Forsyth is pleased to offer comprehensive cancer care services to our patients and the community, regardless of their cancer diagnosis," said Lynn Jackson, administrator of the local hospital.

Marjorie Terry, clinical coordinator of the center, said patients needing radiation therapy used to have to visit Northside facilities either in Sandy Springs or Alpharetta.

"This has made things so much easier since they don't have to travel all that way," Terry said. "Even to Alpharetta, that's a long way from here."

The new center is particularly helpful to patients who require both radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

"Now it's a one stop shop," said Terry, noting that about half of radiation patients also require some level of chemotherapy. "We try to work with the chemotherapy area to schedule the appointments close to the same time."

Terry said most radiation patients require four to six weeks of treatments, which they receive five days a week.

"The average patient's treatment lasts about 20 minutes each day," she said.

In addition to radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Northside-Forsyth also offers many imaging services for diagnostic purposes, as well as numerous surgical procedures for the treatment of cancer, said Katharine Watson, a Northside spokeswoman.

"Our goal is to bring more and more services up here to Forsyth so the patients up here don't have to travel," Watson said.

Added Jackson: "[Northside-Forsyth] has been able to build upon the strength of the Cancer Care Program in Atlanta and their national recognition ... and bring that expertise and those services closer to home."