ALBANY – “Cancer is the enemy.”
That’s what Phoebe Surgical Oncologist Dr. Troy Kimsey told Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors members at the board’s monthly meeting. Kimsey previously practiced in Albany and returned to Phoebe recently as Medical Director of Surgical Oncology Services.
“At Phoebe, we are and will continue to be the leader in the delivery of cancer care in southwest Georgia,” Kimsey said.
While Kimsey will continue to be a practicing surgeon, in his new administrative role he will lead the Phoebe cancer team’s work on a comprehensive vision to further refine Phoebe’s multidisciplinary approach to cancer care and to ensure Phoebe is leading the way in the entire spectrum of cancer care. That spectrum includes education and prevention, proper screening, clinical trials, advanced treatments and survivorship.
“We need to be able to evaluate the needs of this region so we can best serve the people here,” Kimsey said. “We’ll develop metrics to make sure we know how we’re doing and what improvement measures we need to put in place.”
Kimsey pointed out that while cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death in Georgia for decades, it’s expected that cancer will soon surpass heart disease as the state’s top killer.
“There’s no greater advance in cancer care than early diagnosis, which is why it’s so important to make sure we’re reaching out to people who need to be screened,” he said.
One way Phoebe is doing that is through Lung Watch, a systematic screening program for people at high risk for lung cancer. Phoebe Pulmonologist Dr. Shanti Akers and Dr. Jay McAfee, radiation oncologist with Radiation Oncology Associates, explained the success of the program. The goal of Lung Watch is to provide a high-risk patient with an annual CT scan so than even small abnormalities in the lungs can be picked up early, before the patient develops late-stage cancer.
“We can reduce lung cancer deaths by around 20% with proper targeted screening,” Akers said.
Patients interested in the program can learn more at www.phoebehealth.com or by consulting their primary care physician.
Also during the board meeting, PPMH CEO Joe Austin highlighted a number of recent important events and activities hosted by Phoebe. Those included free physicals for Lee County Special Olympics athletes at Phoebe Orthopaedics, Camp Good Grief at Phoebe Hospice and the annual Phoebe Women’s Health Fair.