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February 03. 2013 10:34PM

Exeter Hospital expands its cancer care

EXETER - Exeter Hospital is expanding its partnership with the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.

In a move that will give Seacoast patients greater access to nationally recognized cancer specialists, research and treatments, physician leadership from the Boston hospital began working at Exeter Hospital last Friday to offer comprehensive medical oncology and hematology services at the hospital's Center for Cancer Care.

"We'll build an open corridor between here and MGH," said Dr. Panos Fidias, Massachusetts General Cancer Center's hematologist/oncologist, who will provide medical leadership and care for patients at Exeter's Center for Cancer Care.

The expanded care offered by Massachusetts General builds on a relationship that started in 2009 when Massachusetts General Cancer Center's radiation oncologist, Dr. Gary Proulx, and Dr. Paul Busse, the center's clinical director of radiation oncology, began providing leadership for radiation oncology services at Exeter's Center for Cancer Care.

"This is going to create synergy," Proulx said. "I think patients will be able to come in here in a very streamlined, efficient way to have access to state-of-the-art care without having to travel to Boston."

Massachusetts General has long had a reputation for quality care. Last year, the hospital was ranked number one on U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals" list. It was the first time the hospital earned the top spot, but it has consistently made the list since the survey began in 1990. The hospital came in second in 2011, behind Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Mary Palmer, vice president of home care and cancer care for Exeter Hospital, said the expanded collaboration will allow Exeter's Center for Cancer Care to provide a more comprehensive and integrated set of clinical services and will bring "expert physicians and a sophisticated level of care not typically found at a community hospital."

Busse said the relationship between the two hospitals also involves a weekly peer review.

"Every single case that's treated at Exeter Hospital at the beginning of treatment is reviewed by a senior MGH physician," he said.

Fidias, who has worked at Massachusetts General since 1993, said the expansion is not only good for Exeter Hospital, but Massachusetts General as well.

"MGH can now reach a little bit farther north," he said. "It's a good way of getting the treatment that you would get at MGH, but essentially closer to home."

Fidias will be joined by Mary Campbell, an oncology nurse practitioner from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Dr. Stefan Balan.

jschreiber@newstote.com

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