Clinical care now included at Moncrief Cancer Institute

Moncrief Cancer Institute

Investment from UT Southwestern adds services, technology, staff

Moncrief Cancer Institute

400 W Magnolia Ave.

Fort Worth 76104

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Charles Florsheim, 61, is a Fort Worth attorney who knows the agony of waiting for results of blood tests, X-rays and CAT scans after someone is first diagnosed with cancer, then while undergoing various treatments and all through the years of follow-up care.

He survived prostate cancer in 2008, lung cancer in 2009 and melanoma just two months ago.

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Now Florsheim is an outspoken patient advocate who doesn’t want any cancer patient to wait days, or even hours, to learn the results of the latest blood tests, X-rays, CAT scans, MRI, ultrasound, mammography and other lab work.

“You don’t know the anxiety level of cancer patients waiting for results of their latest scans. We call it ‘scan anxiety,’ and it’s the worst thing in the world – just waiting to hear what the latest tests show,” Florsheim said recently while checking out the comprehensive services now available at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Harold Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center Fort Worth.

Cancer services from diagnosis through treatment and rehabilitation, as well as the chance to participate in cutting-edge research, are now available at the Moncrief Cancer Institute, 400 West Magnolia Ave., in the Fort Worth medical district.

The Simmons Center has brought to the Moncrief Institute a team of cancer specialists; examination rooms; real-time, state-of-the-art imaging capabilities; on-site laboratory and pharmacy services, and 14 all-private infusion rooms for chemotherapy.

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The Comprehensive Cancer Center, dedicated May 4, is housed primarily in the previously unfinished second floor of the Fort Worth facility, which opened three years ago. It has been the intent all along to add comprehensive services as time allowed.

Those services now include imaging and testing in real time as patients and their families are deciding what steps to take next.

“I want to bring the quality of cancer care that I have become accustomed to at UT Southwestern in Dallas to patients here in Fort Worth and give people easier access to the very best care,” Florsheim said.

When it comes to getting the best cancer care, timing is critical, he noted. Physicians and patients need continuous access to the latest information and developments in order to make informed decisions about the most promising medical trials and treatments available or soon to be available to them.

The Moncrief Cancer Institute is an affiliate of the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, which includes 13 major cancer care programs providing a wide range of integrated services targeted at various kinds of cancer.

The cancer center will give patients access to the latest clinical trials and second opinions from world-renowned cancer specialists, said Dr. John H. “Jay” Lohrey, medical director of the Simmons Center.

W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, president of the W.A. and Elizabeth B. Moncrief Cancer Foundation, said he was asked to say a few words at the Simmons Center’s “auspicious dedication ceremony,” so he looked up the word “auspicious” in the dictionary.

“I learned that auspicious means ‘promising success,’” Moncrief said. “Nothing is more auspicious than bringing the Simmons Cancer Center over here to Fort Worth.”

The Simmons Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in North Texas and one of only 68 such centers in the country.

“Since 2009, it has been a National Cancer Institute-designated institute, on par with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering. It employs internationally renowned physicians and researchers,” Lohrey said at the dedication.

NCI designation is given to the nation’s top cancer centers in recognition of innovative research and excellence in patient care.

The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center Fort Worth employs about 25 staff members. The facilities at the Moncrief Cancer Institute cost roughly $10 million, which includes about $5 million in technology. The $10 million in capital costs came from a combination of the Moncrief Cancer Foundation and UT Southwestern University Hospitals.

With the Moncrief Institute’s emphasis on screening, community outreach, patient and family education and counseling, and nutritional, emotional, social, mental and spiritual aspects of healing, the clinical services make comprehensive care available in Fort Worth, said Dr. Keith Argenbright, director of the Moncrief Institute.

“Cancer care is both technology and all the exquisite services the Moncrief Institute is known for,” said Dr. James K.V. Willson Jr., director of the Simmons Center. “Now, we will be able to combine those support services the Moncrief Cancer Institute has become so well known for with the treatment phase of cancer care.”