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Centralized Cancer Care in South Jersey
Jefferson Health is expanding its Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Cherry Hill, offering advanced care and ease to the patient cancer journey

by Kristen Dowd

Cancer is complicated.

As a field of medicine that is continually experiencing research-based advancements and developments, staying ahead of the curve in treatment is challenging.

Fortunately for those in South Jersey, the Jefferson Health Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Cherry Hill is equipped to provide those patients fighting cancer, and their families, with the most advanced level of care in brand new facilities.

“I live and work in South Jersey… Providing this level of care for patients in our own community is something that’s near and dear to my heart,” commented Tamara LaCouture, MD, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Chief of Cancer Services at Jefferson Cherry Hill & Washington Township hospitals and medical director for Radiation Oncology.

Expanded Services
The cancer program at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital has been expanding over time. Surgical oncology has been there for a number of years, while medical oncology became available in a temporary space in January 2022. The new expanded Medical Oncology suite, slated to open in May, includes 20 infusion chairs and 10 examination rooms. Other services offered within the suite include blood draws, a clinical trials office, navigation, social work, nutrition counseling, and genetic counseling – providing a wide array of cancer services, all in one spot.

This expansion will soon be joined by a radiation oncology suite in the fall.

“Radiation oncology will offer state-of-the-art radiation therapy equipment with two linear accelerators as well as some of the more advanced radiation techniques available, such as stereotactic radiation and high-dose rate brachytherapy,” explains Dr. LaCouture.

One advanced radiation treatment coming to Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital is adaptive radiation therapy, currently available at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

“Real-tine adaptive radiation therapy is a new concept in the world of radiation,” Dr. LaCouture says. “This therapy allows for on-the-spot adjustments of radiation, which can lead to much shorter courses of therapy, as little as five days, because of that ability to adapt the treatment and deliver higher doses per day.”

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center team has its sights set beyond 2024 as well, with a new surgical oncology suite adjacent to the medical oncology space planned for 2025.

Treatment navigation in a healing environment
Survivorship begins the day a patient is diagnosed. “Our nurse navigators begin that journey with the patient, accompanying them through into completion of active treatment and survivorship,” explains Dr. LaCouture.

Nurse navigators are specific to each type of cancer diagnosed and are the designated support person walking the patient through the process. They help coordinate various visits, facilitate financial and social work needs, and help patients beyond the end of treatment as well.

All of this care is being provided in the modern, beautifully appointed Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital, offering a comfortable healing environment for both patients and families. “Being able to provide all cancer services in one South Jersey location is a big part of helping patients navigate treatment,” added Dr. LaCouture.

“Our goal collectively has been to take these comprehensive services and put them in the community where patients need them and want them—near their family, near their homes, near their jobs,” she explains.

Navigating cancer treatment and survivorship has also changed in recent years as the rate of some types of cancer has trended downward in age.

“We just did an education session for the community because there has been a trend, particularly in the area of colorectal cancer, with the diagnosis of cancer in younger patients, which represents a change from the traditional middle age to later middle age timeframe of diagnosis,” she adds. “That impacts how we provide personalized cancer care recommendations for these patients.”

“There are many nuances in diagnosis of cancer treatment in the younger patient population,” Dr. LaCouture says. “When a patient with cancer is in their 30s or 40s, there are unique things that need to be considered, such as having young families, more years of survivorship ahead or being the breadwinner for a family.

NCI Designation: What it means for patients
The National Cancer Institute established its Cancer Centers Program as part of the National Cancer Act of 1971, and it recognizes centers across the country that meet rigorous research standards, working to advance treatment and improve prevention and diagnosis.

As of 2024, there are only 57 NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, and the Jefferson Health Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is one of them.

 “There’s a huge breadth and depth of requirements to be an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, so the ability to have access as part of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in our community is a significant benefit for patients and their families and, frankly, for us as physicians, and the entire care team,” Dr. LaCouture says.

“From being out in the community, I don’t think a lot of folks recognize the benefit of being part of an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center,” she explained.  “NCI designation brings a higher standard of care, including access to nationally and internationally recognized physicians, clinical research trials and advanced preventive care. All of this is important when selecting where to go for cancer treatment.”

For more information about the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital, visit To make an appointment, please call (800) JEFF-NOW.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 8.
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