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Bon Secours-Holy Family Medical Center, Fox Chase Cancer Center Announce Fox Chase Network Partnership

PHILADELPHIA (October 20, 1998) -- Bon Secours-Holy Family (BSHF) Medical Center in Altoona, Pa., is enhancing their oncology program to include access to cutting-edge cancer research by affiliating with Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, hospital officials announced at a news conference held October 7 in Altoona.

The affiliation establishes Bon Secours-Holy Family as a member of Fox Chase Network. Fox Chase Network is a select group of 20 community hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey working cooperatively with Fox Chase Cancer Center to provide the latest in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment to people in their own communities.

"Bon Secours-Holy Family Regional Cancer Center has a tradition of providing excellent care to people in Blair and surrounding counties," said Barbara Biehner, chief executive officer. "The affiliation with Fox Chase Cancer Center can only enhance our cancer services by enabling us to offer our patients access to the latest in cancer prevention, research and treatment."

"The leadership role we have taken in developing this relationship will bring the highest quality cancer care to people of this region."

Paul F. Engstrom, medical director of Fox Chase Network and senior vice president of population science at Fox Chase Cancer Center, praised the collaboration.

"By participating in joint clinical studies, Bon Secours-Holy Family and other Fox Chase Network hospitals can help Fox Chase physicians build on the foundation of cancer research and translate our findings more quickly into treatment advances that benefit patients," he commented.

According to Dr. William J. Kirsch, medical director of Bon Secours-Holy Family Regional Cancer Center, patients often face a disturbing dilemma as cancer treatment becomes more complex: the most advanced therapies may be available only at comprehensive cancer centers located far from home.

"Through Fox Chase Cancer Center, Bon Secours-Holy Family physicians can offer their patients access to more than 100 investigational treatment protocols, including the latest chemoprevention studies, that otherwise would not be available," Dr. Kirsch said.

These research protocols, also known as clinical trials, are state-of-the-art studies using drugs, radiation, surgery or other therapies. There are many kinds, including ways to prevent cancer. Clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute are available only through certain approved research centers and their affiliates, such as Bon Secours-Holy Family.

Bon Secours-Holy Family also will have ties to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) through its affiliation with Fox Chase, an NCCN founding member, Engstrom said.

"The NCCN is a national alliance of 17 of the nation's leading cancer centers including Fox Chase, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif., and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis to develop and institute standards, guidelines and systems assuring high quality, cost-effective cancer care," Engstrom explained.

NCCN centers offer services ranging from cancer prevention and screening to the latest in cancer treatment. Patients have access to these centers through national managed care contracts between NCCN and self-insured employers and existing managed care networks.

The mission of the NCCN includes developing practice standards; promoting cost containment and quality-assurance programs; advocating the highest quality cancer care by educating the consumer, the payer and the provider about the role of research-based cancer centers in the care, treatment and cure of cancer patients; and promoting cancer prevention, early diagnosis and screening programs.

Bon Secours-Holy Family is an integrated regional Health System that consists of a 146-bed Hospital, physician practices, a home health agency and other services to provide a complete continuum of care. The Health System is jointly sponsored by the Sisters of Bon Secours and the sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

As an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, Fox Chase Cancer Center's activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs. Also based at Fox Chase is the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service, a toll-free telephone service providing cancer information to people in New Jersey, Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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