By Louise Morrell, MD

 Cancer care has made great strides in recent years, as exciting breakthroughs have transformed outcomes for many patients. Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, continued advances in our ability to diagnosis and treat many different types of cancer can give us even more reasons to be hopeful.

Immunotherapies have begun to have an enormous impact on the treatment of lung cancer, colorectal cancer, triple negative breast cancer and melanoma, and are now being studied for virtually every type of cancer. We can anticipate expanding and individualizing treatment with these approaches and seeing the development of other breakthrough treatments for prostate, pancreatic, gynecologic and other cancers.

At Lynn Cancer Institute in Boca Raton, FL, patients requiring radiation oncology treatment will soon have access to Palm Beach County’s first MRI linear accelerator, an amazing technology that uses magnetic resonance imaging to precisely focus the radiation beam on the tumor while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. It also gives radiation oncologists unparalleled flexibility to make real-time adjustments during treatment, as a patient’s organs – and thus the tumor’s position – can shift with normal respiration.

One of the areas of medical science that continues to have impressive advances is genetic testing. We’re now starting to see the introduction of breakthrough medications and treatments that are greatly expanding the utility of cancer genetic testing.

In conjunction with the Morgan Pressel Center for Cancer Genetics, Lynn Cancer Institute is launching a cancer genetic screening program at Lynn Women’s Health and Wellness Institute. All women who undergo mammograms at the Institute will be offered genetic screening and testing, when indicated, so that they will know if they or their family members may be more susceptible to certain other types of cancers.

Expanding access to clinical trials and new therapies

Cancer experts know that early detection and diagnosis leads to better outcomes. As a comprehensive cancer center, part of Lynn Cancer Institute’s mission is to ensure that everyone in South Florida – especially those in at-risk and underserved populations – has timely and convenient access to cancer screenings, testing, diagnosis and treatment.

With our colleagues to the south at Miami Cancer Institute, we’re working to expand access to these and other resources for underserved populations across the region. We’re identifying barriers to cancer care within these populations and partnering with local organizations to connect people with providers and resources.

Clinical research – testing the efficacy of novel therapies – ensures that the latest advances in cancer research are being made available to patients as early as possible. Now that Lynn Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health Cancer Care, cancer patients in Palm Beach County have expanded access to groundbreaking clinical trials and potentially life-saving therapies.

The power and promise of Baptist Health Cancer Care

With both Lynn Cancer Institute and Miami Cancer Institute under the umbrella of Baptist Health Cancer Care, we have an extraordinary opportunity to advance cancer care in South Florida even further.

Baptist Health Cancer Care brings together the experience, skills, passion and commitment of more than 150 oncology specialists across the region, the most advanced cancer-fighting technology available anywhere and the high-quality, compassionate care that Baptist Health is known for.

From Miami to Plantation to Boca Raton, the region’s top cancer experts are leading research initiatives that are being made available to patients throughout the region. They’re reviewing and updating treatment standards, and they’re learning from each other and bringing their unique perspectives to all aspects of cancer care.

Multidisciplinary care

Advances are occurring in all cancer specialties – radiation oncology; surgery; medical therapies such as immunological therapies; chemotherapy; genetics; interventional radiology; screening and diagnosis, and pathology.

Close collaboration of these specialists in planning a patient’s treatment is absolutely key. At Lynn Cancer Institute, we employ a multidisciplinary approach that ensures the patient has access to fully coordinated care and all of the latest medical advances. We also consider the individual patient and the impact of treatment on their life, family and emotional wellbeing.

There are so many therapies and technologies available now that are revolutionizing the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and it’s certainly an exciting time to be working in the field. We’re proud to be at the forefront, and to be able to offer comprehensive cancer care to people throughout South Florida.

Dr. Louise E. Morrell is medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute which, along with Miami Cancer Institute, is part of Baptist Health Cancer Care.