A recent study by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showed that patients treated at cancer centers that are part of an elite group of academic cancer research centers – members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers – have a 10 percent higher chance of survival in the first year after diagnosis than those treated at community hospitals. The pattern persisted through five years of follow-up monitoring. Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami is the only South Florida-based member of the Alliance.

“It makes a huge difference for cancer patients where they are treated, whether at an academic cancer center or at a community hospital,” said Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D. “Sylvester patientpatients have access to the latest discoveries coming out of our laboratories, they can participate in life-saving clinical trials, and they are being treated by a multidisciplinary team of cancer experts that are each focused on one disease; that just doesn’t exist at a community hospital.”

Sylvester and other members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers consistently outperformed all other hospital types in the study with regard to overall survival, across various types of cancer, including lung/bronchus, prostate, breast and colorectal cancer. At the other end of the spectrum, community hospitals scored lowest across the board.

The study authors suggest that hospital-specific volume for particular types of cancer care is associated with variations in both short- and long-term outcomes, with hospitals performing the highest number of treatments having the lowest percentages of cancer mortality. The findings of the JAMA study illustrate that compared with community hospitals, survival appears to be superior for patients treated at members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers, at NCI-designated cancer centers, and at academic teaching hospitals.

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