St. Joseph Hospital partnering with Cleveland Clinic for cancer care

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 10,000 plus Kentuckians will die this year from some form of cancer. In light of that sobering statistic, Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington is teaming up with the Cleveland Clinic to not just fight cancer, but work toward a cure.

Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington is teaming up with the Cleveland Clinic, not just to fight cancer, but work toward a cure. (WKYT)

"Cleveland Clinic is rated No. 6 in cancer care in the country," Said Bruce Tassin, Saint Joseph Hospital President.

That means they don't just work with anyone.

"We didn't just call up and say yes, let's affiliate ... We had to go through a rigorous review process to basically certify that we have a strong high-quality program," Tassin said.

Tassin said the partnership will help elevate care for patients in Central Kentucky. For example, if a doctor is working on a difficult case, they now have direct access to doctors in Cleveland who can help them diagnose a case, then collaborate on a treatment plan.

"So that type of access, to be able to know if there's a clinical trial to consider for example that they should consider, is something that will now be available in an expedited manner, that didn't exist before," Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Hetty Carraway said.

It also gives people a chance to get a second opinion from home.

"So you'd have your primary doctor who could diagnose you, that you could then have reviewed by a nationally recognized cancer program," Tassin said.

Dr. Carraway says the most important thing for their patients is for them to feel like they have "comprehensive, multi-disciplinary care," and that they're confident they can make that happen.

Saint Joseph has social workers on staff to help guide patients through their treatment, along with support groups that meet on a regular basis. They'll soon be adding referral coordinators as well, devoted solely to oncology services.

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