Stopping Cancer in its Tracks

Ochsner Health System is the largest provider of cancer care in the state of Louisiana. It’s a responsibility we take seriously, with a relentless approach to preventing, detecting and curing all types of cancer.

Zoe Larned, MD, Chair of Hematology/Oncology and Director of Inpatient Hematology/Oncology

The proof is in our results: while Louisiana ranks 49th overall in the nation for health outcomes, five-year cancer survival rates for patients treated at Ochsner exceed national averages for many cancer types.

Early detection is an essential way to improve cancer outcomes. For example, when breast cancer is detected at stage 1 or 2, patients can expect a 99% survival rate over five years. When it is caught at stage 4, the rate drops to 26%. For colorectal cancer, early detection can increase survival rates six-fold.

Ochsner’s five-year survival
rates continue to exceed the
national average
in every tumor
type – including cancers of
the lung, liver, breast,
colon, esophagus and pancreas.

That’s why Ochsner recently announced a systemwide plan to improve cancer patient outcomes through education and prevention efforts, screenings and early detection among current Ochsner patients and members of our wider communities. In July 2018, Ochsner Health System President and CEO Warner Thomas announced our commitment to increase cancer screenings by 40,000 in 2018, a goal we surpassed by December, with more than 53,000 additional screenings performed during the year. Ochsner has pledged to conduct a total of 141,000 additional cancer screenings by 2022 and 10,000 community cancer screenings over the next five years.

What did it take to expand screenings so quickly? “We made a concerted effort to involve multiple divisions across the system and engaged leaders at all levels to prioritize cancer screening not only in our current patient populations, but also in the communities we serve,” says Brian Moore, MD, Medical Director of the Ochsner Cancer Institute.

Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge Nursing Unit Manager Shelley Graphia (right) and Tameka Martin, RN, discuss a patient’s treatment plan

The strategy includes community outreach, philanthropy, marketing communications initiatives and leveraging electronic health records (EHR) in Epic to identify patients due for screenings. Ochsner hosted six community events in 2018 that led to significant numbers of new patients screened. A dedicated landing page on our website makes it easy for patients to schedule appointments, and Ochsner oncologists and primary care physicians communicate the importance of routine screenings via local and regional media outlets.

“The battle to reduce our statewide cancer incidence rates and improve outcomes requires us to think creatively, apply a multidisciplinary approach with system experts beyond medicine, and spread the message of early detection and prevention,” Dr. Moore says. “At Ochsner, we are rallying all the necessary forces at our disposal to attack this problem from every angle that we can.”