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Published on July 15, 2013

Q&A: Mercy oncologist Dr. Lewis Rose describes advances in cancer care

Meet Philadelphia cancer specialist Dr. Lewis Rose

RoseLewis J. Rose, MD, is the Chairman of Nazareth Hospital’s Cancer Committee, as well as Clinical Associate Professor of Medical Oncology, Division of Regional Cancer Care, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University.

Q: When it comes to cancer care at Nazareth, what are you most proud of?

I am proud of our commitment to the 24/7 compassionate and comprehensive cancer care that Nazareth provides. Our excellent cancer care is enhanced by all of the outstanding services of a community hospital, every day of the week, every hour of the day. That level of competence and convenience is extremely valuable to residents of our community. And if a patient does need a referral to another care center, we work with that center to arrange a transfer and we’re here for the patient when they return to the community.

Q: What are some of the latest advances in cancer treatment that you are most excited about?

Targeted therapy directed at the basic biology of cancer, including genetic issues, is a very exciting and promising area of cancer treatment. These therapies can take different forms – for example, the use of carefully engineered monoclonal antibodies or emerging treatments that allow us to “tweak” the immune system – but they have one thing in common: they specifically target cancer cells while avoiding toxicity to normal cells in the rest of the body.

Q: What is the best part of your job?

Helping people. I’m able to be part of a patient’s life at a most difficult time in their life. This is a unique privilege I take very seriously. I also enjoy the intellectual challenge of staying current with the rapid changes in the field of cancer treatment. I find that very exciting.

Q: What makes Nazareth’s cancer care special?

In addition to the round-the-clock comprehensive care Nazareth offers cancer patients, we have a nurse navigator to help patients coordinate the many aspects of treatment and address other needs patients might have. Our outstanding Tumor Board conferences draw on the experience and expertise of a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals to share knowledge and discuss cases. Patients also benefit from the psychosocial support available at Nazareth – an important complement to care during a very stressful time.

Q: How is cancer care different today than 20 years ago?

There has been an explosion of knowledge about the biology of cancer. As a result, we have better diagnostic tools for more accurate diagnoses and we can offer more targeted treatments. There’s also better supportive care to prevent the side effects of treatment.

Q: Any personal observations from your years of treating cancer patients?

Cancer is the great leveler. A diagnosis of cancer puts people from all walks of life on the same playing field. During this difficult time, a partnership develops between patient and physician that’s important to both parties. As compassionate professionals, we at Nazareth are driven to excellence and are honored that our patients give us the opportunity to provide them with the care they need. The future is bright for cancer care at Nazareth Hospital, and we’re proud to be serving our community.

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