U.Va. Cancer Center Wins Hard-to-Get Commendation

May 17, 2007 -- UVa Health System's commitment to providing new levels of excellence in treating patients with cancer has yielded a coveted Three-Year Approval with Commendation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons (ACOS).

UVa has ranked among the nation's top 50 cancer centers since 1999 - a distinction no other provider in the Commonwealth can claim. Effective though 2009, UVa's new approval rating is in the category of Teaching Hospital Cancer Program.

UVa's commendation in three major areas of cancer care is a very difficult to achieve status for a large teaching hospital, according to the ACOS surveyor who rated UVa.

"For example, while a teaching hospital may see more than 2,000 new cases of cancer each year, many smaller hospital cancer programs may see only several hundred new cancer patients a year," said Peyton Taylor, M.D., a gynecologic cancer expert and Medical Director of UVa's Cancer Center. "To maintain externally validated excellence and to achieve an ACOS commendation in three areas reflects the dedication to personalized care and professional commitment of many, many people on our staff. Each of us want to exceed the national standards in as many areas as possible."

For health care consumers, UVa's approval rating means:

  • The UVa Cancer program is nationally recognized for a distinguished standard of cancer care - quality care, close to home
  • Ongoing monitoring and improvement of care reflected in the award "with commendation"
  • A robust cancer support team of cancer educators, clinical psychologists, spiritual support services, social services and integrative medicine.
  • Comprehensive care, including a range of state-of-the-art services and equipment
  • A multispecialty team approach to coordinate the best treatment options
  • A wide range of the latest clinical trials available to patients with newly diagnosed and relapsed cancers
  • A cancer registry that collects data on type and stage of cancers and treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up.

UVa is the statewide leader in treating inpatients with head and neck cancers, gynecologic malignancies, nervous system cancers, skin cancers (primarily melanoma) and soft tissue cancers. As a premiere research institution, UVa invests more than $94 million annually in cancer research, an amount that equals or exceeds half of the UVa School of Medicine's total research budget.

For approval with commendation, the UVa Cancer Center demonstrated that it met one or more ACOS standards for the full scope of its cancer program (reaching across the categories of cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach, and quality improvement). In addition, UVa received a compliance rating for all other ACOS standards.

For more information about UVa Cancer Center and its programs, visit http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/cancer.