Marie DeStefano, RN, MSN, FAAMA Administrative Director of Oncology, Crozer-Keystone Health System
Over the past three years, nurses in the Crozer and Delaware County Regional Cancer Centers have worked diligently to promote early detection of breast cancer and prostate cancer through aggressive community outreach efforts. We have taken free screenings to the local union hall and the City of Chester, often accompanied by physicians who conduct clinical breast exams. We’ve offered free screening for parents at day care centers and worked with local schools to send screening information home with students for their parents. We’ve done a lot of hand holding to encourage reluctant patients to come in for screening. I am delighted to report that our efforts have paid off.
Recently, we compared the stages of cancer diagnosis for breast and prostate throughout Crozer-Keystone for 2007 and 2005. For the first time, we saw a significant improvement in early stage diagnosis. Patients diagnosed with breast cancer at Stage 0 (cancer in situ) increased from 19 percent to 24 percent. At the same time, patients diagnosed at the later stages decreased. Those diagnosed at Stage 3 went down from 12 percent to 10 percent, and those diagnosed at Stage 4 went down from 5 percent to 3.5 percent.
For prostate cancer, the earliest possible diagnosis is made at Stage 2. Patients diagnosed at Stage 2 increased from 84 percent to 90 percent, while the number diagnosed at later stages was cut nearly in half at Stage 3, from 9 percent to 5 percent. Patients diagnosed at Stage 4 decreased from 5.5 to 4.5 percent.
We are thrilled that our nursing-driven community outreach initiative has helped to improve early stage diagnosis which gives patients have a much better chance of survival. All of our nurses have contributed tirelessly to this effort.
Since we are saluting men in nursing in this issue of the newsletter, I would like to acknowledge one male nurse in particular, Michael Good, RN, for his contributions to our success. Currently, Michael coordinates care for every patient at Philadelphia CyberKnife®, which is ranked as one of the top 10 busiest CyberKnife® centers in the world. Previously, as a radiation therapy nurse at the Delaware County Regional Cancer Center, Michael truly developed an expertise in caring for prostate cancer patients, providing counseling, nutrition support, encouragement and education to meet all their needs. He is a wonderful example of the excellent quality of care that cancer patients receive from Crozer-Keystone nurses. We can all take pride in truly making a difference in the lives of these patients and their families every day.