Sharp Healthcare is scheduled Saturday to dedicate a multi-disciplinary program that will specialize in caring for brain cancer patients.
The Laurel Amtower Cancer Institute and Neuro-Oncology Center is located on the Sharp campus in Kearny Mesa.
The program will include a clinical team of neurosurgeons, neurologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, neuropathologists, neurophysiologists and neuroradiologists; nurses who guide patients and their
loved ones through treatment; licensed clinical social workers; a genetic counselor who specializes in assessing family cancer risk; and nutrition and dietary counselors, according to Sharp.
"It is incredibly challenging to treat tumors in the central nervous system, so expediting care and tailoring it to each patient is crucial," said Dr. Charles Redfern, medical director of the new center. "The Neuro-Oncology
Center provides an unparalleled opportunity for physicians to work side by side to give our patients the best chance of fighting these diseases."
The program was launched this summer with a $5.7 million donation by the Amtower family in honor of their daughter, Laurel, a San Diego State University English professor who died from brain cancer in 2010. Sharp
officials said she passed away at the age of 44 just nine months after her diagnosis.
According to Sharp, more than 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor every year and thousands of others develop brain tumors from cancer elsewhere in the body, such as the breasts or lungs. The five-year survival rate for patients with primary brain tumors is only about 35 percent.
Brain cancer has received attention lately with the announcement by former President Jimmy Carter that he is suffering from the disease, and the death of Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden.