N.H. oncology practice teams with Dana-Farber

Cancer care has become a little more accessible for patients in the Granite State.

New Hampshire Oncology-Hematology PA and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have entered an affiliation agreement.

“Southern New Hampshire residents will now have enhanced access to Dana-Farber specialists and will be able to participate in selected Dana-Farber clinical trials at our offices in New Hampshire, trials that previously were only available to our patients in Boston,” said Charles Catcher, a physician at New Hampshire Oncology-Hematology. “This is a very important opportunity for our region; it is the next step in a process that will combine the best of academic and community oncology resources.”

Lawrence N. Shulman, chief medical officer and senior vice president for medical affairs at Harvard Medical School’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said, “The expertise and high quality of care provided by New Hampshire Oncology makes working together very exciting for us. The advanced services and skills of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will also be close at hand and easily accessible for those who need them,” Shulman said.

The affiliation represents a partnership of service to patients and intellectual sharing, not a business merger, officials said.

Terry Steiner, spokesperson for NHOH, said the affiliation is unique because all of Dana-Farber’s other partnerships are with hospitals; NHOH is the first community clinic to be working with the institute in such a capacity.

The clinic has five offices around the state, in Concord, Hooksett, Laconia, Derry and Exeter.

NHOH currently participates in about 32 clinical trials, but with the partnership, patients will be able to take part in many of the over 300 trials available at Dana-Farber. This also should decrease the number of patients having to travel down to Boston for treatment, according to the NHOH.

Shulman and Catcher said that New Hampshire Oncology patients also will benefit from the wide range of services and programs developed for the unique needs of cancer patients and family members, including pain and palliative care, complementary therapies, psycho-social support and special programs for cancer survivors. – CINDY KIBBE

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