COLUMBIA — Ellis Fischel Cancer Center is now an affiliate of the MD Anderson Cancer Network, MU officials announced Friday.
Ellis Fischel becomes only the second certified member in Missouri and the first academic center to be approved by MD Anderson.
About 33,890 Missourians will develop some type of cancer in 2014, and an estimated 12,870 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
Each year, Ellis Fischel handles about 85,000 outpatient cancer visits and procedures, said Dr. Paul Dale, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center medical director.
This new partnership will bring the expertise developed and delivered by physicians at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, to patients in Columbia, he said.
Certified member hospitals and their approved cancer specialists receive a variety of benefits, including oncology quality improvement and access to best practice programs, Dale said.
Additionally, Ellis Fischel cancer specialists will have peer-to-peer access with their MD Anderson colleagues, who will be available for consultations, treatment conferences and continuing medical education, he said.
To become a certified member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network, Ellis Fischel underwent a rigorous review process, MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said.
The review process, which typically takes six months, includes site visits and quality assessments by MD Anderson representatives, said Pam Frank, account manager with the MD Anderson Physicians Network. They also perform full assessments of surgical, radiation and oncology departments and of diagnostic imaging.
In January, the UM System Board of Curators gave unanimous approval to an affiliation agreement between the two cancer centers, UM System President Tim Wolfe said.
The university and MD Anderson share the same short-term goal of reducing the number of cancer deaths and the same long-term goal of eliminating the disease altogether, he said.
Wolfe said he hopes that this time next year there would be progress toward achieving both goals.
Dale was presented with a pin commemorating his acceptance as an approved cancer specialist with MD Anderson.
"I've been taking care of cancer patients for twenty years," he said. "Cancer is what I do, day in and day out."