Of course, you want to choose a cancer center where decisions are based on research and best practice methods. But faced with a cancer diagnosis, you probably aren't feeling your most organized or analytical. That's why we have compiled a list of important factors that distinguish the best cancer centers along with the frequent questions that we receive.
Does it matter where you are treated first?
Cancer is not a one-size-fits-all disease, and there are no off-the-shelf treatment solutions. Because each diagnosis is unique – just like each individual patient is unique – cancer can be complicated to treat appropriately.
The quality of your initial diagnosis, assessment and treatment plan often have a huge impact on the outcome of your cancer treatment. That’s why where you are treated first makes a big difference.
There are many ways to measure a treatment provider’s quality, including clinician experience and attitudes; appropriate use of treatments, treatment decision-making and care; the quality of diagnostic tests and treatment interventions; specialization of medical practice; and quality of life both during treatment and in the survivorship period. Measures such as these are the basis for objective ratings from independent accreditation organizations.
Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute takes a precise, individually tailored approach to diagnosis, treatment and follow up. At Gibbs, patients have direct access to the newest clinical expertise, next-generation treatments, investigational research trials, and evidence-based specialized care. Gibbs consistently achieves the highest ratings both from accreditation organizations and patient satisfaction surveys. These are just a few of the reasons patients at Gibbs recover faster, survive longer, and feel better.
Does the facility specialize in cancer treatment?
Studies show that the best care is delivered in comprehensive cancer treatment centers that focus only on cancer. That’s because a dedicated cancer treatment center is able to pair each patient with a multi-disciplinary team of experts who focus exclusively on the assessment and treatment of your cancer, and is also equipped to provide the full range of advanced treatments, care and services you need. With experts such as surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, hematologists, pathologists and other cancer professionals working together under one roof, a dedicated cancer treatment center concentrates all its resources on you and your good health.
Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute is a nationally recognized cancer treatment program whose experts focus exclusively on cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research. That means patients get the best clinical expertise and most advanced treatments available anywhere, without having to wait or travel far from home. Treatment teams at Gibbs are made up of specialists from all areas of treatment and research. This multi-disciplinary team – including medical oncologists and hematologists, as well as other medical specialists such as diagnostic radiologists, surgeons, surgical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, genetic counselors, nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse navigators, and integrated healing therapists – will put a precise treatment plan together based on your individual health risks and physical state.
Is the treatment facility accredited or affiliated with other treatment and research centers?
A good way to judge the quality of cancer care at a treatment facility is to find out if it is approved by one of the many nationally recognized organizations, such as the National Cancer Institute, the Commission on Cancer, or the Joint Commission, that monitor centers for excellence in cancer care. Likewise, centers that are affiliated with other hospitals, medical schools and research centers are able to offer the expertise of medical experts from around the country. These affiliations give you access to advanced treatment protocols and the latest evidence-based research and clinical trials, to ensure the best and most-effective care for your specific cancer. Objective certifications are your assurance of the best care available.
Gibbs Cancer Center was one of the first centers selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to participate in the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) and is the only NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) in the Carolinas. NCI-designated centers develop and translate scientific knowledge from promising laboratory discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients.
Gibbs has received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer and has earned its highest level of accreditation. Gibbs is also affiliated the Medical University of South Carolina’s Hollings Cancer Center, and many other respected research and treatment institutions.
Are its physicians specialized, board certified and experienced?
Board-certified physicians have completed additional training in a specific area, such as oncology or hematology, passed a stringent examination by the American Medical Association’s specialty boards, and demonstrated outstanding achievement in their profession.
Is the facility rated for its quality of care and how does its ratings compare?
A good way to judge the quality of cancer care at a treatment facility is to find out if it has been approved by the The Commission on Cancer (CoC). CoC is a program of the American College of Surgeons that approves hospitals or facilities that have committed to provide the best in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Its list of approved facilities includes more than 1,400 cancer centers in the United States. If a treatment center is on CoC’s, you know it meets high standards and offers a range of cancer care services.
Gibbs has received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) and has consistently earned its highest level of accreditation, which places Gibbs among the top 6% of cancer centers nationally. In addition, in a recent assessment by MD Anderson Cancer Network™, Gibbs was found to be Excellent (100%) in the category Individual Treatment Appropriate and Excellent (98.4%) in the category Evidence of Multidisciplinary Planning.
Has it successfully treated the type of cancer you have?
The treatment center you choose should have extensive experience treating your specific type and stage of cancer and should be willing to supply you with statistics, case studies and rankings that can help you evaluate the quality of its patient care.
Gibbs Cancer Center treats more advanced cancers than any hospital in the Upstate, an average of nearly 1,800 cases each year. We pioneer and partner to bring world-class care to the Upstate area, and we have a documented track record of providing the highest standards of care.
Are clinical trials available?
New drugs are offered first in medical studies called clinical trials, where they are evaluated for effectiveness and preventive potential. As a result, treatment centers that participate in clinical trials are more likely to be up to date on the most current treatments. Studies have even indicated that doctors who conduct cancer clinical trials take better care of all their patients.
Through our affiliations, Gibbs gives patients the added benefits of being treated in a major research hospital, including clinical trials and prevention studies. By participating in research programs and clinical trials at Gibbs, patients may have the opportunity to help prevent, treat or even cure future cancers, while getting the most expert medical care for themselves. Patients who qualify for a research study may be able to gain access to new treatments before they are widely available. Clinical trial teams at Gibbs typically include doctors, nurses, social workers and other specialized medical professionals who carefully monitor patients’ health before, during and after the study.
Do the doctors and staff listen to you, answer your questions clearly, and treat you and you family with respect?
You and your caregivers need to feel comfortable with and confident in the specialists who will partner with you throughout your treatment. You deserve world-class care delivered by experts who have the highest accreditations, the most extensive clinical experience, and the utmost concern for your total well being.
At every stage of diagnosis and treatment, Gibbs emphasizes teamwork, communication, innovation and sensitivity. Each member of the multi-disciplinary treatment team and each personal nurse navigator will answer questions openly and honestly. Our electronic records systems help keep health information safe, private and current, so that each member of the care team understands every aspect of treatment, and our shared networks keep the primary care doctor fully informed and involved in the patient’s care. From healing massage to advanced treatments, art therapy to clinical research trials, Gibbs cares for patients every step of the way.
Is the treatment site conveniently located?
When you’re not feeling your best, there’s no need to waste time and energy traveling if you can get the same level of care close to home. By choosing the closest center that provides the type of treatment you need, you can often make your treatment easier to arrange and deal with. For example, radiation and chemotherapy treatments usually require a regular schedule, so you may need caregivers to drive you to appointments. Friends and family may want to help by keeping you company, bringing meals or doing chores. And travel expenses can add up quickly, for you and your caregivers. Look for both quality and convenience.
With locations throughout the Upstate, Gibbs gives patients access to the best clinical expertise and most advanced treatments available anywhere, without having to wait or travel far from home.
Are educational programs, social and financial services, rehabilitative care, and survivorship and support groups available?
Nearly 14 million people are alive today after being diagnosed and treated for cancer, so support services before, during and after treatment are more important than ever. A dedicated cancer treatment center is equipped to support you and your caregivers through every aspect of your treatment and recovery, from assuring your physical comfort to helping you find the resources you need to make a healthy comeback.
In addition to advanced clinical care, Gibbs offers practical programs and comprehensive services designed to support you and your caregivers before, during and after treatment, including:
- Cancer Learning Center library and media center with the latest information on cancer and treatments
- Support Groups to allow you to meet and gain comfort from others
- Center for Healing for integrated techniques and therapies that reduce stress and anxiety
- Energy for Life rehabilitation program with occupational, speech, physical and creative therapies
- Clinical Research Trials, Prevention Studies and Tumor Registry Services for access to next-generation clinical expertise and treatments
- That Special Look™ boutique, featuring wigs, specialty clothing, and other accessories to make life more comfortable during and after treatment
- Genetic Testing and Counseling to evaluate your risk of certain inherited cancers
- Screenings and Community Outreach Services multi-location educational and prevention services
- Survivorship Programs to help you make a successful comeback after cancer
- Support Services, such as social services, chaplain visits, dietary and nutrition counseling, palliative care, and other customized care.
How quickly can you get an appointment?
Living with a cancer diagnosis is stressful, so you should expect to been seen and evaluated in a timely manner. Most specialty treatment centers will be able to schedule your evaluation within approximately one week.
Shorter wait times mean longer lives. Patients at Gibbs are diagnosed and able to begin appropriate treatment more than three times faster than the national average, typically within just a few days.