Quality Cancer Care Programs Transform Care, Lives of Patients
Jan 19, 2023
Karin Fleming
Image of a woman with text overlay that reads "It's shrinking my cancer, not my hope." and "Sutter Oncology Programs Honored"

Cancer death rates in the U.S. dropped by more than 30% since 1991, according to a recent study by the American Cancer Society. Researchers state the decline is partly due to advances in treatment and early detection—some of the most important cornerstones of reputable cancer treatment programs.

Patients and their families know first-hand how important top-quality, compassionate healthcare is in the fight against cancer. Now exemplary cancer care has been publicly recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review. This month Becker’s named the nation’s top 2023 Cancer Programs of Excellence, including those within Sutter Health’s integrated network of care.

“Our teams of oncologists, oncology nurses and other medical staff have achieved consistently high-quality outcomes in delivering specialized care to individuals with cancer. We are so grateful for their hard work and steadfast devotion to our patients,” says Dr. Ash Gokli, chief clinical operations integration officer at Sutter Health. “This is an exciting time at Sutter as we continue to advance our vision to offer patients leading-edge, safe and evidence-based medicine.”

Innovation: Becker’s list includes health systems and hospitals with premier cancer centers. In addition to providing treatment, these centers host clinical trials to improve access to new breakthroughs and increase the odds of survival. As research sponsors, cancer centers also help make discoveries today that will improve cancer care for future patients.

Quality: Sutter’s cancer programs have exceeded national benchmarks for safety and quality, in part because the health system continually monitors its outcomes. The other part of Sutter’s “secret sauce” lies in how knowledge is organized and shared across the network. Through Programs of Oncology Distinction, experts on an individual tumor type (e.g. breast, lung, etc.) or hematologic malignancy (e.g. leukemia, lymphoma, etc.) are convened to identify best practices and drive improvement. Last year these sub-specialty teams helped Sutter reach its goal on more than 12 cancer-specific quality metrics.

Breadth: As an integrated network, consisting of community hospitals and outpatient clinics, Sutter Health has the breadth to care for patients throughout their cancer journey, close to home. “Our multidisciplinary oncology team has the expertise to diagnose and treat even the most complex oncology cases, connecting patients with the care they need no matter where they are located,” says Dr. Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, medical director of the cancer center at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center and executive medical director of Sutter’s clinical oncology service line. In the years ahead, Sutter Health plans to expand its oncology services across its Northern California footprint.

Dr. Mohammed Kashani-Sabet cites examples of how cancer care at Sutter is helping people who have life-threatening illnesses:

  • Access to advances such as the first CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy, GammaTile® neurosurgery therapy, digital nurse navigation and mobile applications to help patients track and manage oncology treatments.
  • Streamlined referrals to tertiary and quaternary specialized care for patients with complex or rare types of cancer.
  • Screening clinics and programs that aid earlier detection of breast, lung and colon cancers, including for people at increased genetic risk.
  • An outpatient bone marrow transplantation program for patients with hematologic (blood and stem cell) cancers. These types of outpatient cancer services help reduce hospital readmissions.
  • Research and practice change to foster equitable representation of racial and ethnic minority groups and other underrepresented populations in cancer clinical trials

Cancer care at Sutter:

Specialists help patients with all cancer types navigate the entire journey of cancer, from preventive medicine through palliative care and survivorship. Medical staff includes oncology specialists in the fields of melanoma, robotic surgery and robotic bronchoscopy programs, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, stereotactic body radiation therapy, radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation and interventional radiology.

Sutter’s oncology program comprises 19 cancer centers and more than 144 Phase 1-4, industry and National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trials of novel, investigational treatments.

Sutter cancer centers have earned Center of Excellence accreditation by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®).


Do you or a loved one have cancer? Find resources offered at Sutter Health. 

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