We opened the AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute, a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner, 10 years ago this month, to make care more convenient for our community. Since then, we have seen tremendous advances in preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.

Among the most notable advances are tumor-targeting technologies that allow us to spare healthy tissue more precisely than ever; enhanced understanding of the role genetics plays in cancer; and greater access to clinical trials.

We have collaborated with our colleagues at AtlantiCare’s Neurosciences Institute to remove brain tumors that, a decade ago, would have been life-ending.

We are now using genetic testing to identify high-risk patients, and determine treatment options and preventative measures specific to their genetic markers.

Through our membership in the Geisinger National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (N-CORP) and our partnership with Fox Chase Cancer Center, we offer patients clinical trials right here, close to home. Some of the country’s most prominent medical research organizations conduct these studies.

Despite the many advances in cancer treatment, early diagnosis remains a key factor for positive treatment outcomes.

Since opening in Egg Harbor Township in 2009 — and our second campus in Cape May Court House in 2013 — our team has witnessed the life-saving difference early screenings make.

We host several screening and risk assessment activities throughout the year, including a Men’s Health Day each September, during which we offer free screenngs for prostate cancer.

At this event last year, an Atlantic City man was among those screened. He learned he had cancer. We treated him with intensity modulated radiation therapy — or IMRT — and he is doing well today. This screening caught his cancer in an earlier stage, resulting in greater care management. This underscores the important role screenings play in the early diagnosis of cancer. Our low-dose CT (computed tomography) scans have identified lung cancers in the early stages and our mammograms have helped detect breast cancers.

Our free skin cancer screenings have not only detected skin cancer, but have served as an important reminder of the importance of preventative measures. This is especially important for people in a region that has the beach and other outdoor areas to enjoy in summer and throughout the year.

People should talk with their health-care providers about their risks for breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, skin and other cancers. Know the role you can play to help prevent and detect cancer.

Dr. James C. Wurzer, of Linwood, is medical director of the Oncology Program and Radiation Oncology at AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute.

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