Midwest Cancer Alliance Celebrates 10th Anniversary
FAIRWAY, Kansas- Midwest Cancer Alliance (MCA), the outreach network of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, celebrates its 10th anniversary at the end of this month, marking more than 20,000 cancer screenings and a $6.9 million economic impact for the region.
MCA is a membership-based organization developed to improve cancer care across the region by providing access to the latest advancements close to home. MCA links 20 rural hospitals and health care partners across Kansas and the western half of Missouri to lab discoveries made at the KU Cancer Center, and it also provides its members with access to major clinical trials, professional education, patient navigation services, networking and outreach opportunities.
Founded in 2008 by Roy Jensen, M.D., director of the KU Cancer Center, MCA has enrolled more than 400 participants in clinical trials and an additional 600 in biobanking registries and supportive care trials, provided more than 20,000 free cancer screenings and delivered hundreds of cancer-prevention education services to the communities and health care professionals of its member hospitals. All of those efforts are instrumental in the KU Cancer Center's designation as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer center. Jensen also serves as chief executive officer of the MCA, which has its headquarters at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"MCA is an essential part of our outreach efforts in our catchment area," Jensen said. "Providing access to clinical trials and helping communities across the region with screenings, education and cancer-prevention programs are all a part of our responsibility as an NCI-designated cancer center."
The alliance and its expansion of clinical trial access also benefits the economy of the region. An analysis of the economic impact of the network published in the journal Academic Medicine in March 2017 estimated that the expansion of clinical trials through MCA has resulted in $6.9 million in direct spending and economic activity, along with an additional 45 jobs in the region.
"As one of the first members of MCA, it's been exciting to be part of the alliance and see how the growing list of clinical trials and cancer-prevention programs are benefitting the patients we serve," said Via Christi-Pittsburg oncologist Boban Mathew, M.D.
To mark the anniversary, MCA is collaborating throughout the year with member sites to plan personalized celebrations that meet the unique needs of each member community. "Over the next 10 years, we plan to work even harder to help make sure the latest advancements in cancer care can be found close to home," said Gary Doolittle, M.D., MCA medical director.