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Easton Hospital and Fox Chase Cancer Center Announce Cancer Affiliation

PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 3,2003) — Easton Hospital in Easton, Pa. will enhance its existing oncology program by affiliating with Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, hospital officials announced at a news conference today in Easton, Pa. The expanded program will include access to programs for people at high risk of developing cancer, cancer prevention studies and cutting-edge cancer treatments.

The affiliation establishes the Easton Regional Cancer Center and makes Easton Hospital a member of Fox Chase Network. Fox Chase Network is a group of 28 community hospitals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware working cooperatively with Fox Chase Cancer Center to provide the latest in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment to people in their own communities.

"We are thrilled to become one of a privileged group of Fox Chase Network hospitals and adopt the new name 'Easton Regional Cancer Center'" said Dr. Chand Rohatgi, who was recently named medical director of oncology services for the cancer center.

"The new name is highly appropriate since our scope of quality care and services is being enhanced to an even greater degree through our partnership with a national leader in cancer treatment and research," he added.

A nationally recognized leader in cancer treatment and research, Fox Chase was one of the first cancer centers given the comprehensive cancer center designation by the National Cancer Institute.

"The name 'Fox Chase' is synonymous with excellence in the fight against cancer," said Dr. Lindsley Van Der Veer, chairman of the board of trustees at Easton Hospital. "Having Fox Chase as a partner in cancer care is a logical choice for Easton Regional Cancer Center, our patients and their families."

Dr. Paul F. Engstrom, senior vice president for population science at Fox Chase and medical director of Fox Chase Network, explained, "One of our mandates as a federally designated comprehensive cancer center is to reach out regionally, beyond Philadelphia, to provide state-of-the-art care to as many people as possible. That's why we created Fox Chase Network, so that our Network partners can offer people the most advanced cancer treatments usually available only at places like Fox Chase."

"As a result of our new Fox Chase affiliation, our community is assured the very best in cancer care," Rohatgi noted. "The partnership opens up access to the most advanced treatment options available today."

Clinical research is essential for making advances in cancer treatment, Engstrom said. Through the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Easton Hospital will have access to more than 100 investigational treatment trials, he explained.

Clinical trials, also known as research protocols, are state-of-the-art studies using drugs, radiation, surgery or other therapies. There are many kinds of trials, ranging from ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat cancer to studying the psychological impact of having cancer. Clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute are available only through certain approved research centers like Fox Chase and their Network affiliates, such as Easton Hospital.

"By participating in these joint clinical studies, Easton Hospital and other Fox Chase Network hospitals can help Fox Chase physicians build on the foundation of cancer research and translate our findings more quickly into treatment advances that benefit patients," said Engstrom. He pointed out that since its inception in 1986, Fox Chase Network physicians have enrolled more than 3,500 patients in clinical trials.

Rohatgi added, "Physicians at Fox Chase are available to consult on difficult cases, providing an added layer or knowledge and expertise that can only benefit our patients."

The clinical trials offered at Easton Hospital will include chemoprevention trials aimed at reducing the risk of developing cancer. Chemoprevention is the use of natural or synthetic agents to prevent specific kinds of cancer, much as medicine and diet can control high blood pressure. National chemoprevention trials are under way for breast, prostate and other cancers.

In addition to chemoprevention trials, the Fox Chase affiliation provides Easton Hospital with access to its programs for people at high risk of developing certain cancers because of family history. These programs, many of which can be available on-site at Network affiliates, provide counseling and information to people at increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, gastrointestinal cancer and melanoma.

Easton Hospital also will have ties to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network through its affiliation with Fox Chase, a founding member and the only NCCN member in Pennsylvania. NCCN is a national alliance of 19 of the nation's leading cancer centers that work together to develop and institute standards, treatment guidelines and systems assuring high-quality, cost-effective cancer care.

Continuing education is another benefit of the Fox Chase Network relationship. Network physicians are invited to Fox Chase for medical conferences, continuing medical education lunches and tumor boards. Fox Chase doctors are available for second opinions and often consult by telephone with Network physicians. Oncology nurses, social workers and other medical support staff also come to Fox Chase for continuing education courses.

"Easton Medical Center has a tradition of providing excellent cancer care," said Gwen Eddleman, chief operating officer of Easton Hospital. "This newly formed partnership can only further strengthen our long-standing cancer program and provide tremendous benefits for the people living in our neighborhood."

As a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, Fox Chase Cancer Center's activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs. Also based at Fox Chase is the regional office of NCI's Cancer Information Service, a toll-free telephone service providing cancer information and counseling to people in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware who call 1-800-4-CANCER.

Easton Hospital is an acute care teaching hospital serving approximately 300,000 residents of Northampton County and five surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Today, Easton Hospital retains not only the caring, compassionate tradition established when it was founded in 1890, but also the professional expertise, advanced technology and broad range of services characteristic of a major medical center. Its staff of nearly 400 physicians provide primary and specialty care.

For more information about services at Easton Regional Cancer Center, call 610-250-4567.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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