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Survey: Albany Med cancer program achieving better outcomes

Albany Medical Center achieved better outcomes in its cancer treatment than other academic medical institutions, according to a survey released Tuesday by the American College of Surgeons.

In particular, its five-year survival rates for women treated for stage two breast cancer are nearly 7 percent higher than the average of other medical institutions. Albany Med follows best practices for treatment of breast and colon cancer at rates far higher than other cancer treatment centers across the state and nation.

“Albany Medical Center’s breast program provides a multidisciplinary approach to meet each individual patient’s needs,” said Donna Pietrocola, chief of breast and endocrine surgery at Albany Medical Center in a news release. “We have state-of-the-art technologies and a full range of surgical capabilities, as well as the support of medical and radiation oncologists to provide the best possible care and outcomes for patients battling breast cancer.”

The report reflects data from 2010, the most recent year with full data available. The survey, issued by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, includes data from 70 COC-accredited cancer treatment centers in New York state, and nearly 1,400 nationwide.

Centers are noted for best practices in the following: approaches for administration of appropriate radiation therapies, combination chemotherapies, and Tamoxifen or other medications for breast cancers; and administration of appropriate chemotherapies or removal of lymph nodes for colon cancer.

Albany Medical Center’s cancer program has been continuously accredited since 1938.

“Patients who receive treatments for their cancers at Albany Med can be assured that they are being treated by a world-class team of specialists who follow the best practices available and collaborate to find the most appropriate patient-specific therapy to allow for the greatest chance of success,” said Ankesh Nigam, director of Albany Medical Center's surgical oncology program, in the release.

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