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In The News

Read more about what’s happening at Texas Oncology and the newest advancements in cancer care. Here are the latest Texas Oncology news and stories highlighting local practices and patients. Select a search option below by cancer center, physician, media type and year and click the search button to find your results. Items in yellow are articles and items in blue are videos.

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A Caregiver's Guide to COVID-19 and Cancer

Publication: Corsicana Daily Sun
07/20/2020
Whether you’re a full-time caregiver to a family member, a neighbor picking up groceries, or a trusted friend – your support and commitment to safety matter. Ashwani Agarwal, M.D., Texas Oncology–Corsicana explains the steps caregivers and other close contacts can take to protect cancer patients from COVID-19.

New U.S. Health Crisis Looms As Patients Without COVID-19 Delay Care

Publication: Reuters
07/13/2020
As coronavirus cases surge in the U.S., doctors and hospitals note sharp declines in patients seeking routine medical care and screenings. Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology–Austin Central, discusses cancer care and survival after the pandemic and her expectation of higher mortality rates from cancer to due to delayed care.

Why Doctors Worry as Cancer Screenings Plummet during Coronavirus Pandemic

Publication: KXAN-TV (NBC, Austin)
07/07/2020
Due to COVID-19 exposure concerns, many people are delaying screenings that can help detect cancer early when it’s most treatable. Michelle Ashworth, medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Round Rock, explains that this decrease in screenings may result in cancers being diagnosed at a later stage. Dr. Ashworth’s patient, Katherine Peck, also shares her experience continuing her annual mammogram during the pandemic that led to early detection of breast cancer.

Demand for Plasma, a COVID-19 Treatment Option, Skyrockets as Hospitalizations Increase in Texas

Publication: KXAN-TV (NBC, Austin)
07/06/2020
As COVID-19 cases rise, so has the demand for convalescent plasma. Jeff Yorio, M.D., hematologist and medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central, explains that increased hospitalizations due to COVID-19 has limited the supply of plasma for patients. He also discusses other drugs being used to help treat patients who are experiencing more severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Cancer Patient Fears Hospital Capacity

Publication: Spectrum News Austin
07/06/2020
Texas Oncology–Round Rock patient Katherine Peck described her experience receiving breast cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Katherine noted additional safety precautions during her procedure and shared her confidence in the measures to protect the health of patients and staff.

Cancer Drugs Show Promise in Treating COVID-19

Publication: KXAN-TV (NBC, Austin)
07/02/2020
Research is being conducted to determine if certain cancer drugs can be used to treat COVID-19. Jeff Yorio, M.D., medical oncologist and hematologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central, explains that while early data indicates that some drugs are showing promise in the fight against COVID-19, more studies are needed to determine their effectiveness in treating patients.

COVID-19 and Cancer: Three Ways to Protect your Health

Publication: Austin Medical Times, Houston Medical Times
07/01/2020
As physicians, researchers, and health officials learn more about COVID-19, cancer patients receiving active treatment are especially vulnerable and must remain vigilant about their health. Michael Herman, M.D., radiation oncologist at Texas Oncology–Round Rock, and Branden Hsu, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Houston Memorial City, share guidance for current patients to protect their health.

Proton Therapy Improves Outcomes, Reduces Radiation Side Effects in Patients with Cancer

Publication: Conquer
06/30/2020
Andrew Lee, M.D., MPH, of Texas Center for Proton Therapy overviews new developments in proton therapy and outlines how the treatment improves outcomes and reduces side effects for both pediatric and adult patients.

Citing COVID-19 Increase, Gov. Abbott Suspends Elective Surgeries in Travis County, Others

Publication: KEYEDT2 (Telemundo, Austin)
06/25/2020
As COVID-19 cases rise across Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued restrictions on elective surgeries in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties in an effort to reserve hospital capacity. Sylvia Jaramillo, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Austin North Suite 300, discusses the impact of this announcement on cancer patients and their care teams.

Will You Still Be Able to See Your Doctor Virtually?

Publication: Austin American-Statesman
06/24/2020
As part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s state of emergency declaration at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, state-regulated insurance plans were required to pay the same amount for telemedicine visits as in-person visits. This order for insurance coverage parity has been extended to September 12. Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discusses the various ways the practice is using telehealth, including initial visits, reviewing patient scans, and to provide counseling for patients with their loved ones present. Dr. Patt believes the need for telehealth will continue and that there's a desire to make policies less restrictive as doctors’ offices have reduced in-clinic capacity to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

New Texas Oncology Open in Denton

Publication: Denton Record-Chronicle 
06/22/2020

Texas Oncology announced the opening of a new cancer center at 2600 Scripture St., combining its Denton North and South locations. The 30,000-square-foot center will offer medical oncology, hematology, and radiation therapy services, in addition to an on-site pharmacy and laboratory.

Texas Oncology Streamlines Operations to Achieve Success in Medicare Value-Based Payment Model

Publication: Healthcare Financial Management Association
06/18/2020
After examining opportunities to enhance care and reduce variation, Texas Oncology entered Medicare’s Oncology Care Model (OCM) in 2016. Lalan Wilfong, M.D., vice president of quality programs and value-based care at Texas Oncology and Terry Jensen, director of value-based care at Texas Oncology, explain how the program has improved areas such as patient navigation and unnecessary hospitalizations.

AI Makes Inroads into Oncology Practice

Publication: OncLive
06/17/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discusses the power of using big data beyond immediate clinical utility. According to Dr. Patt, integrating practice management systems with electronic health records and research platforms allows doctors to make better decisions about all aspects of care delivery.

Promising Results Reported for COVID-19 Patients Treated with Plasma Therapy in Texas

Publication: Texas Observer
06/16/2020
Convalescent plasma therapy has shown promising results for COVID-19 patients. Findings from a recent national study has deemed this experimental effort safe for fighting the virus. Jeff Yorio, M.D., medical oncologist and hematologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central, helped form a network of Austin-area physicians to coordinate with Central Texas blood bank, We Are Blood, to increase access to this type of treatment for local patients.

COVID-19 and Cancer: Three Ways to Protect Your Health

Publication: Corsicana Daily Sun
06/15/2020
As physicians, researchers, and health officials learn more about COVID-19 and its impacts, those with compromised immune systems, including many cancer patients, are learning how to protect their health in a changing world. Ashwani Agarwal, M.D., Texas Oncology–Corsicana explains why cancer patients receiving active treatment are especially vulnerable and must remain vigilant about their health.

Applying Telemedicine, Informatics to Cancer Care: COVID-19 and Beyond

Publication: Clinical Oncology News
06/15/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discussed the benefits of applied informatics and telemedicine for the medical community, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Patt notes she can evaluate patients with new cases of inflammatory breast cancer via telemedicine, allowing her to guide their treatment and begin their therapy sooner.

Cancer During a Pandemic: Fighting Fear Itself and Finding the Courage to Give and Seek Support

Publication: Austin Fit Magazine
06/15/2020
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many cancer patients may be feeling overwhelmed or isolated. Jane Chawla, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central, shares guidance for cancer patients seeking support and how anyone can lend a helping hand to patients they know during this time.

Millions in Federal Aid for Big Hospitals, But Just $10 for One Small Practice

Publication: Houston Chronicle
06/10/2020
Nearly 3,100 Houston-area healthcare providers received more than $470 million in funding, but amounts vary for large hospitals systems and small practices. According to Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, while government efforts provided quick aid to people, it created gaps in funding for pediatricians, primary care doctors, and other specialists who see fewer Medicare patients.
 

Telemedicine: Reshaping the Future of Cancer Care

Publication: Austin Medical Times, Houston Medical Times
06/01/2020
As our communities continue to adjust to social distancing, life looks a little different. Telemedicine provides an alternative as patients can meet with their provider, when clinically appropriate, without leaving home. Lakshmi Balasubramanian, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Cedar Park, and Gury Doshi, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Houston Memorial City, discuss how COVID-19 has triggered a rapid rise in virtual appointments that will reshape and enhance the way patients receive cancer care.

Clinical Decision Tools Within EHR That "Nudge" vs "Force" Boost Pathway Compliance, Study Finds

Publication: American Journal of Managed Care
05/30/2020
New research from Texas Oncology and US Oncology suggests clinical-decision support tools that involve physicians in their design can have a positive impact on improving compliance with evidence-based pathways. Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, evaluates the impact of a clinical decision support system used within the electronic health record to drive quality improvement.

30 May Cancer: Clinical Decision Support System Improved Compliance with Evidence-Based Treatment

Publication: Medicalresearch.com
05/30/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discusses the integration of clinical decision support systems to influence clinician behavior at the point of care and drive high quality cancer care. Clinical informatics solutions introduce efficiency and can enhance the quality of patient care and the patient experience.

Going to the Doctor? How the Coronavirus Has Changed Your Visit

Publication: Austin American-Statesman
05/29/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how people receive medical care. As the state slowly re-opens, medical providers are assessing how they will treat patients moving forward. Kathryn Hudson, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central, explains the clinic’s goal to keep in-office patient visits to a 60% capacity for the time being and how safety measures during COVID-19 have impacted her ability to comfort patients in the same way as she did before the pandemic.

Rebuilding America: Telemedicine Adds Avenues for Physical, Mental Health Amid COVID-19

Publication: Times Record News
05/28/2020
New approaches to telemedicine visits between cancer patients and their physicians has helped the more than 55,0000 patients continue their treatment at Texas Oncology. Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, discusses the benefits of telemedicine as an alternative for appointments like new-patient consultations, follow-up visits, and survivorship consultations.

McKesson: Investigators from US Oncology Research and McKesson Present Data Highlighting Key Advances in Oncology Research at the 2020 ASCO Annual Meeting and Exposition

Publication: McKesson Corporation (news release)
05/28/2020
Investigators from US Oncology Research and McKesson will demonstrate detailed results from more than 70 studies at the 2020 ASCO Annual Meeting. Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, will discuss the application of informatics into oncology practice and the value of evidence-based information to improve clinical decision making.

Dramatic Drop Seen in Cancer Diagnoses During Pandemic

Publication: KRIV-TV (FOX, Houston)
05/18/2020
Gury Doshi, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Houston Memorial City, discusses increasing concern that patients are hesitant to undergo cancer screenings during COVID-19. According to Dr. Doshi, patients could miss the advantages of early diagnosis by delaying, which could make cancer more difficult to treat. Texas Oncology is encouraging people to continue being screened, as it's enhanced safety precautions and expanded telemedicine services.

Telemedicine: Reshaping the Future of Cancer Care

Publication: Corsicana Daily Sun
05/18/2020
As our communities continue to adjust to social distancing, life looks a little different. What hasn’t changed for Texans living with cancer is the critical care required to fight their illness. Ashwani Agarwal, M.D., Texas Oncology–Corsicana explains how telemedicine can reshape and enhance the way patients receive cancer care.

Austin Man Shares his Story of Recovery from COVID-19

Publication: KEYE-TV (CBS, Austin)
05/13/2020
Convalescent plasma therapy is being used in Austin to treat COVID-19 patients. After he tested positive for the virus, local postal worker Raul Chagoya was admitted to a local hospital and treated by Jeff Yorio, M.D., hematologist and medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central. Dr. Yorio discusses Raul’s treatment and positive results seen in other patients.

Community Oncology Practices Offer Telehealth Tips

Publication: OncLive
05/13/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discussed how the expansion of telehealth has enabled Texas Oncology to reduce clinic volumes and create a safer environment for cancer patients that are at a higher risk for contracting the COVID-19. According to Dr. Patt, treatment cannot be paused for patients with advanced cancer and a strategic approach is needed to manage patients.

COVID-19 And Community Cancer Care

Publication: The Cancer Letter
05/08/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discussed the significant impact COVID-19 has on healthcare providers and cancer patients across the country. Dr. Patt shared the effects on patients, providers, payers, and research and offered insights into cancer care after the pandemic.

Elective Surgeries Proceed, but with Certain Requirements

Publication: KEYEDT2 (Telemundo, Austin)
05/07/2020
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently issued an executive order loosening surgery restrictions previously set to limit nonemergency medical procedures during COVID-19. Sylvia Jaramillo, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Austin North, explains how postponing surgeries can impact local cancer patients and expresses her support of the relaxed restrictions to allow for certain procedures to resume.

Texas Oncology Supports Cautious Reopening of Health Care and the Economy

Publication: eParis News, The Paris News
05/06/2020
Sucharu Prakash, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Paris, discussed the executive order allowing hospitals to resume elective surgeries and assured the public that Texas Oncology continues to prioritize care, while protecting the safety of their patients. According to Dr. Prakash, loosening restrictions allows Texas Oncology’s nearly 100 surgeons to resume collaborative relationships with hospital surgery units and in Texas to safely provide vital cancer-related care to patients.

Why Predictive Analytics Are Critical to Better Care Delivery

Publication: HealthTech Magazine
05/05/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discusses how predictive analytic tools help providers remain compliant with recent evidence-based guidelines. Dr. Patt believes that the immense potential of analytics will guide efforts in population health management, radiomics, and pathology.

How I Practice Now: Commercial Coverage Policy Updates for Telemedicine Services

Publication: Journal of Clinical Pathways
05/04/2020
Journal of Clinical Pathways sat down with Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, to discuss how commercial coverage policy updates impact the reimbursement for telemedicine services. According to Dr. Patt, it would be most helpful to patients for commercial payers to act quickly to have more comprehensive telehealth policies.

Do I Have the Flu, Seasonal Allergies, or COVID-19?

Publication: Austin Medical Times
05/01/2020
When some of the symptoms for flu, seasonal allergies, and COVID-19 overlap, it can be confusing to tell the difference. James Uyeki, M.D., Kathryn Hudson, M.D., and Michael Teneriello, M.D., FACOG of Texas Oncology in Central Texas share guidelines from the CDC on addressing symptoms and precautions to take as a cancer patient during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oncology Research: Do I Have the Flu, Seasonal Allergies, or COVID-19?

Publication: Houston Medical Times
05/01/2020
When some of the symptoms for flu, seasonal allergies, and COVID-19 overlap, it can be confusing to tell the difference. As cancer patients should be especially vigilant in monitoring their health and protecting against infections, Sanjay Sethi, M.D., Texas Oncology–Sugar Land, discusses the signs to look for, how to tell COVID-19 symptoms from allergies or the flu, and precautions to take.

How I Practice Now: Reopening of In-Person Care at Texas Oncology?

Publication: Journal of Clinical Pathways
04/30/2020
Journal of Clinical Pathways spoke with Lalan Wilfong, M.D., vice president of quality programs and value-based care, Texas Oncology, on whether the reopening of society will correlate with the reopening of surgical cancer care at Texas Oncology as well as the reliability of mass and rapid testing. Dr. Wilfong explains that clinicians must focus on what type of care is most important and vital, and if the delay of that care will impact the patient’s health and outcomes.

Genetic Testing Helps Find Cancer Possibilities: Waco Nurse Dealt with Breast Cancer Caused by Mutation

Publication: Waco Today Magazine
04/30/2020
The BRCA mutation is passed down from generation to generation and places women at a higher risk for developing breast, ovarian and other cancers. After her diagnosis, breast cancer patient Shawnna Latino underwent genetic testing, which revealed she had the BRCA mutation. This led to other family members being tested, including her mother, daughter, and maternal cousin. Carlos Encarnacion, M.D., FACP, medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Horizon Circle, encourages individuals with a family history of cancer to seek out genetic risk evaluations, underscoring the importance of early detection.

How I Practice Now: Physical Measures Taken for Patient Safety at Texas Oncology

Publication: Journal of Clinical Pathways
04/29/2020
Journal of Clinical Pathways sat down with Michelle Ashworth, M.D., Texas Oncology-Round Rock, to discuss the measures the clinic has taken to provide an environment that is safe and supportive for patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ashworth explains the steps she and her staff have taken in order to provide uninterrupted, high-quality care to cancer patients during the crisis.

For Cancer Patients, Elective Surgeries Can’t Come Soon Enough

Publication: D CEO Healthcare
04/29/2020
The shelter-in-place order that ended elective surgeries is taking a physical and mental toll on cancer patients, but with Governor Abbott’s new order, relief could be on the way. Jeffrey Lamont, M.D., FACS, Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists and Steven Paulson, M.D., president and chairman of Texas Oncology, explain that Governor Abbott’s revised order is welcome news for many cancer patients, because surgery is an essential and urgent component of their diagnosis and treatment.

ResearcHERS Campaign’s Virtual Launch Is Friday

Publication: Marietta Daily Journal
04/29/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, will participate in a virtual panel discussion held by American Cancer Society (ACS). The panel is part of ACS’s virtual launch of the new 2020 ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer campaign.

Fighting Cancer During a Pandemic

Publication: WFAA-TV (ABC, Dallas-Fort Worth)
04/27/2020

Andrew Lee, M.D., MPH, medical director of Texas Center for Proton Therapy, discusses the steps he and his staff are taking to protect cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dr. Lee, telemedicine has allowed vulnerable cancer patients to receive routine care without having to come into the clinic.

Why you still might have trouble scheduling your surgery despite relaxed coronavirus rules

Publication: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
04/27/2020
With Governor Abbott’s relaxed restrictions in place, some hospital systems and clinics in Tarrant County said they are starting to reschedule procedures — but in a limited way as they assess the new caveats. According to Jennifer Hecht, D.O., FACOS, Texas Breast Specialists-Southwest Fort Worth, in order to ensure safety during the outbreak, surgeons will need to evaluate each patient’s risk, their cancer, and timing before determining when to move forward with surgery.

Cancer Informatics in Telehealth, Clinical Decision Support

Publication: Journal of Clinical Pathways
04/24/2020
During the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) Annual Meeting, Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, gave an overview of the exciting new world of applied informatics in oncology. Dr. Patt explained that informatics is about problem solving, and referenced informatic initiatives in telehealth, data and the power of large numbers, and decision support.

Debra Patt, MD, on How Informatics Work with Physicians to Aid in Treatment Decision Making at the Point of Care

Publication: Oncology Business Review
04/24/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, explains how informatics work with physicians to aid in treatment decision-making at the point of care. The presentation was part of the Community Oncology Alliance’s 2020 Annual Meeting.

How I Practice Now: Practice-Wide Changes at Texas Oncology

Publication: Journal of Clinical Pathways
04/23/2020

Journal of Clinical Pathways sat down with Lalan Wilfong, M.D., vice president of quality programs and value-based care, Texas Oncology, to highlight the unique, practice-wide changes made across the network as a result of COVID-19.  Dr. Wilfong explains the recent changes that Texas Oncology recently implemented keep both patients and staff safe, while continuing to provide vital care for cancer patients during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Tyler Cancer Center Treating Patients While Maintaining Safe Environment

Publication: KLTV-TV (ABC, Tyler)
04/23/2020

Texas Oncology in Tyler is now offering telemedicine for routine follow-ups and Donald Richards, M.D., Ph.D., Texas Oncology—Tyler, says that in many cases, vital treatment cannot be delayed. According to Dr. Richards, many patients have curative diseases, but the treatment has to be given on-time without reducing the intensity of that treatment.

Texas Oncologists Fear Cancer Could Become Casualty of Coronavirus Pandemic

Publication: KXAN-TV (NBC, Austin)
04/23/2020
Although cancer screenings are allowed under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s medical restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, some aren’t available right now and people are apprehensive of entering healthcare facilities. Shaun P. McKenzie, M.D., FACS, surgical oncologist at Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–South Austin and Austin North, explains how cancer screening procedures can continue outside of a hospital setting by assuring protective capabilities for preventing the spread of COVID-19 meet the state’s exemptions.

Doctors Prepare to Tackle Surgery Cases Put Off Because of Coronavirus

Publication: WOAI-TV (NBC, San Antonio)
04/22/2020

Due to COVID-19, all minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures have been put on hold; however, these procedures are now being resumed in Texas. Michael Keller, M.D., of Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists, shares his expectation for a surge of patients and what that means for surgeons.

Elective Surgery Restrictions Relaxed, But Some Hospitals Say Not Worth It

Publication: KFDA-TV (CBS, Amarillo)
04/22/2020
Many elective surgeries are now able to resume under certain guidelines, which will be beneficial to cancer patients treated by providers like Texas Oncology. Anne Doughtie, M.D., of Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–Amarillo discussed the impact of these loosened restrictions on diagnosing and treating cancer, as well as the many precautions surgeons are taking to ensure patients are safe and hospitals remain prepared to treat COVID-19 patients.

Surgical Oncologist Happy Governor's Order Allows Elective Surgeries

Publication: KVUE-TV (ABC, Austin)
04/22/2020

As elective surgeries begin again as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen some sectors of the state, Shaun P. McKenzie, M.D., FACS, and surgical oncologist at Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists in Austin explains the new guidelines for what types of procedures are allowed and when. Dr. McKenzie notes the importance of time between diagnosis and the start of treatment for new cancer patients while describing the role of hospital systems in ensuring safe environments for these procedures.

ABC-7 Xtra: Order Takes Effect Loosening Surgery Restrictions

Publication: KVIA-TV (ABC, El Paso)
04/22/2020
Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order loosening certain restrictions on elective surgeries took effect Wednesday. Jeffrey Lamont, M.D., of Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists, appeared on KVIA-TV to discuss the need for surgical procedures for cancer to resume. According to Dr. Lamont, both patients and surgeons have experienced frustration in halting procedures for detection and treatment, which risked adverse outcomes. Dr. Lamont also discusses the processes Texas Oncology has in place to ensure hospitals continue to be equipped to treat COVID-19 patients as surgeries resume.

Texas Oncology Supports Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order Loosening Restrictions on Non-Essential Surgical Procedures

Publication: KVDA-TV (Telemundo, San Antonio)
04/22/2020
For many cancer patients, surgery is often an important component of their diagnosis and treatment. Antonio Santillan-Gomez, M.D., MBA, FACOG, gynecologic oncologist at Texas Oncology–San Antonio Medical Center and Stone Oak, explains why Texas Oncology supports measures to resume elective surgeries with proper precautions during the coronavirus pandemic because cancer care can’t wait.

Cancer Care During COVID-19

Publication: Fredericksburg Standard 
04/22/2020
Oncologists around the nation have been faced with enforcing new social distancing rules during the pandemic. These new guidelines for medical practices and hospital systems have been put in place to keep patients, family members and staff safe. Mark Deleon, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Fredericksburg shares the challenges of meeting and treating cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Houston Hospitals to Start Phasing Back More Non-COVID-19 Care

Publication: Houston Chronicle 
04/22/2020

Houston-area hospitals will begin phasing in more care for non-COVID-19 patients. Texas Oncology’s network of nearly 100 surgeons believes Gov. Greg Abbott’s loosening of restrictions is critical, as surgery is a vital part of cancer diagnosis and treatment for many patients. According to R. Steven Paulson, M.D., president and chairman of the board for Texas Oncology, cancer treatment cannot be paused during COVID-19, which is why the decision is so important.

Some Nonessential Medical Procedures are Back On—With Conditions

Publication: Austonia
04/22/2020
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has lifted previous restrictions to allow for more nonessential surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shaun McKenzie, M.D., FACS, surgical oncologist at Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–South Austin and Austin North, explains that the loosened restrictions will allow for some cancer procedures to resume. Under this latest executive order, physicians are determining which surgeries should continue to avoid a surge of in-patient care that may exhaust PPE resources and bed capacity.

Cancer Patients Especially Vulnerable During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication: Spectrum News Austin
04/21/2020

Due to their compromised immune systems, cancer patients are at higher risk for severe symptoms of COVID-19. Texas Oncology remains open to provide care for patients continuing treatment during the pandemic. Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, explains that the practice has expanded its telemedicine capabilities to reduce traffic in its clinics and to ease the concerns of patients during this time.

Local Doctors Prepare to Resume Elective Surgeries

Publication: KSAT-TV (ABC, San Antonio)
04/21/2020

Michael Keller, M.D., of Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists, appeared on KSAT-TV (ABC, San Antonio) to discuss Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that loosened the restrictions on surgeries in Texas. According to Dr. Keller, surgery is a major component of treating cancer patients, but many did not previously meet the qualifications to allow for them to undergo treatment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Texas Hospitals Now Free to Resume Some Treatments Delayed by Coronavirus Outbreak

Publication: KEYE-TV (CBS, Austin)
04/21/2020
In light of Gov. Greg Abbott's move to loosen surgery restrictions during COVID-19, Heather King, M.D., FACS, of Texas Breast Specialists–Austin, appeared on KEYE-TV (CBS, Austin) to discuss the impact of the decision for cancer patients. Dr. King elaborates on the importance of scaling down restrictions gradually to avoid a surge, while highlighting how the decision will benefit patients who were on hold for procedures but feel comfortable proceeding.

Texas Cancer Patients Will Now Have Greater Access to Surgeries During the Pandemic Under Revised Regulations

Publication: SurvivorNet
04/21/2020
Following Governor Abbott’s executive order to loosen surgery restrictions, Allison A. DiPasquale, M.D., of Texas Breast Specialists–Dallas, discussed how the changes give cancer patients access to necessary surgical therapies. According to Dr. DiPasquale, patients are excited at the opportunity to receive surgery sooner than expected, and Texas Oncology is working tirelessly with hospitals to start scheduling surgeries.

Medical Restrictions Loosened

Publication: KRIV-TV (FOX, Houston)
04/20/2020

Texas Governor Greg Abbott's decision to loosen previously imposed COVID-19 restrictions on surgical procedures comes as a relief to many in the surgical community, especially those treating patients with cancer. Christine Lee, M.D., of Texas Oncology–The Woodlands, appeared on KRIV-TV to discuss the importance of this decision for Texans with cancer.

Local Cancer Clinic Welcomes Easing of Elective Surgery Restrictions

Publication: KWTX-TV (CBS, Waco)
04/20/2020
Jeffrey P. Lamont, M.D., FACS, Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists, discusses our support for Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to ease restrictions on elective surgeries. According to Dr. Lamont, the change helps Texas Oncology move forward with necessary cancer care.

Do I Have the Flu, Seasonal Allergies, or COVID-19?

Publication: Corsicana Daily Sun
04/20/2020

Some symptoms for flu, seasonal allergies, and COVID-19 overlap, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. Ashwani Agarwal, M.D., Texas Oncology–Corsicana explains important differences, signs, and precautions for cancer patients.

A Q and A with Dr Debra Patt: The Role of Applied Informatics in Oncology Care

Publication: American Journal of Managed Care
04/20/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, discusses integration of applied informatics into the oncology care setting. According to Dr. Patt, telemedicine and telehealth choices are critical to help support care delivery, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Gov. Abbott: Schools Closed for Rest of Academic Year, Parts of Texas Economy to Slowly Re-Open

Publication: KDFW (FOX, Dallas-Fort Worth)
04/18/2020
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced plans to re-open parts of the state amidst the COVID-19 pandemic while closing schools for the remainder of the academic year. KDFW-TV highlights Texas Oncology’s statement following Gov. Abbott’s announcement, supporting the decision to loosen restrictions on surgeries that will allow cancer patients to continue their care during the pandemic.

Desperate Families Turn To Social Media in Search of Convalescent Plasma

Publication: CBS News
04/18/2020
Amid COVID-19, scientists are researching convalescent plasma as a potential treatment. But with a limited number of donors and growing demand, some families are turning to social media to find donors for the experimental treatment. Jeff Yorio, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Central has treated four COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma throughout April.

Oncology's Telehealth Growth in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication: Oncology Times
04/16/2020
On a webinar hosted by the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), several physicians including Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, commended the CMS response and discussed changes in their own practices. Dr. Patt said the progressive changes from CMS have allowed Texas Oncology to dramatically reduce the volume of patients coming into their clinics, making those clinics safer spaces for the high-risk cancer patients that still need to physically go to healthcare settings to get active treatment and the healthcare providers administering that care.

Austin Doctors Treating Sickest COVID-19 Patients with Plasma from Survivors

Publication: KEYE-TV (CBS, Austin)
04/15/2020
Plasma from one donor who has fully recovered from COVID-19 contains the antibodies needed to potentially help one to three patients get over the virus, according to Jeff Yorio, M.D., hematologist and medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central. Dr. Yorio worked with We Are Blood to treat four of Austin’s sickest COVID-19 patients, who have been among the first to try this path toward recovery.

Telehealth on Rise During Pandemic

Publication: Fort Bend Star
04/14/2020
To keep patients safe amidst COVID-19, Texas Oncology announced a major expansion of its telemedicine services to allow patients to schedule virtual visits with more than 400 physicians and 150 advanced practice providers. According to Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, transitioning to telehealth has been a smooth process and an important way to continue serving patients while reducing their risk.

Using Clinical Informatics to Navigate a Crisis: How Technology and Policy Change Can Influence Cancer Care Delivery

Publication: JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics
04/14/2020
During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many providers have faced new challenges as they manage some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens, patients with cancer. In this authored article, Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, discusses how informatics tools can inform decisions and manage the patient population during this time of escalating risk and complexity.

Guest Commentary: Clinical Trials an Option for Coronavirus

Publication: The Paris News
04/13/2020
Sucharu Prakash, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Paris, feels hopeful as the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing down, but he urges people to follow social distancing guidelines until the pandemic is over. According to Dr. Prakash, between new therapeutics and a vaccine, coronavirus will be easily controlled and not be a strain on society, our economy, or the medical infrastructure.

Texas Doctors Are Using Plasma from Recovered COVID-19 Patients to Treat Others. They’re Not Yet Sure if it Will Work.

Publication: Texas Tribune
04/11/2020
Doctors around the country are experimenting with a new coronavirus treatment that injects antibody-rich plasma from people who have recovered into people who have severe cases of COVID-19. In Austin, Jeff Yorio, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Central helped start a convalescent plasma infusion program and remains hopeful about the treatment.

Telehealth Helps Cancer Patients Continue Treatment

Publication: Times Record News
04/11/2020
For the more than 55,000 cancer patients Texas Oncology serves each year, treatment cannot be paused, even during a worldwide health crisis. To continue providing cancer patients with necessary care, Texas Oncology expanded is telemedicine services to allow patients to meet virtually with their physicians while safely in their homes. According to Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, the expansion is critical to safeguard the health of thousands of cancer patients that are at a higher risk for contracting the COVID-19 virus due to compromised immune systems.

Some Residents Were in a Fight for Life Before COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication: KWTX-TV (CBS, Waco)
04/10/2020
Texas Oncology understands the challenges for cancer patients like Ruth Snell, who are at even greater risk due to coronavirus but need to continue treatment. Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, was featured on KWTX discussing options available to patients during this time, including telemedicine, which allow patients to continue getting necessary care while keeping them safe.

Expanding Telemedicine at Texas Oncology

Publication: KRIV-TV (FOX, Houston)
04/09/2020
Texas Oncology is taking many steps, including expanding its telemedicine capabilities, to remain available to patients as the COVID-19 crisis impacts cancer treatment. According to Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, many patients are now seen virtually in order to reduce in-person visits. Texas Oncology's coordinated effort has ensured patients continue to receive high-quality cancer care throughout the epidemic.

North Texans with Serious Health Issues Having to Choose Between Delaying Treatment or Risk Getting COVID-19

Publication: KDFW-TV (FOX, Dallas-Fort Worth)
04/08/2020
Andrew Lee, M.D., MPH, medical director of Texas Center for Proton Therapy, was featured on KDFW-TV discussing choices North Texans with serious health issues have to make during COVID-19. According to Dr. Lee, his patients had been anxious about potential delays in treatment, but quick telemedicine visits clarified a lot of their questions and concerns. He also noted that he expects a backlog of patients once things return to normal and Texas Center for Proton Therapy is prepared to work extended hours to accommodate.

Cancel Chemo or Risk Compromised Immune System? Cancer Patients and Oncologists Confront Coronavirus Challenges

Publication: The Texas Tribune
04/07/2020
To combat coronavirus, many hospitals and medical providers are canceling procedures and surgeries, but cancer patients facing delayed treatments say the stakes are higher for them. Debra Patt, M.D, MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, addresses how providers are balancing policy changes and the need for continued treatment to maintain patient and staff safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commentary: Please Stay Home: A Plea!

Publication: The Paris News
04/04/2020
Sucharu Prakash, M.D. of Texas Oncology–Paris discusses how the lack of COVID-19 testing makes it impossible to accurately detect cases within the community. Dr. Prakash urges residents to be proactive instead of reactive and maintain physical distancing to prevent infecting immunocompromised patients.

Texas Oncology Uses Telemedicine to Check on Patients

Publication: KFDX-TV (NBC, Wichita Falls)
04/03/2020
As essential businesses adjust their policies to combat COVID-19, Texas Oncology expanded its telemedicine services to continue providing care for cancer patients. According to Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, telemedicine helps patients and physicians continue managing needed care and communication during this challenging time.

Area Health Care Providers Expand Use Of Telemedicine

Publication: Longview News-Journal
04/03/2020
Dallas-based Texas Oncology, reported a major expansion of its telemedicine services to allow patients to schedule virtual visits with more than 400 physicians and 150 advanced practice providers throughout the statewide cancer care practice. Texas Center for Proton Therapy, Texas Breast Specialists, and Texas Urology Specialists, are also participating in the telemedicine initiative.

Texas Oncology’s Telemedicine Expansion Helps Conduct Over 500 Virtual Visits a Day

Publication: Dallas Innovates
04/03/2020
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Texas Oncology expanded its telemedicine capabilities, allowing physicians to monitor and consult patients remotely and hopefully flatten the curve while continuing to provide life-saving care to current cancer patients. Using a downloadable video conferencing app, cancer patients can now schedule virtual visits with more than 400 physicians and 150 advanced practice providers throughout the state’s cancer care practice.

Breast Surgery and Reconstruction During COVID-19

Publication: BreastCancer.org
04/03/2020
Many patients diagnosed with breast cancer are concerned because their breast cancer surgery or reconstruction surgery has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Julie Sprunt, M.D., FACS, of Texas Breast Specialists–Austin, joined by Austin-area plastic surgeon Dr. Elisabeth Potter, shares why many breast cancer surgeries can be safely delayed and what those patients should know during COVID-19.

Never Too Young: What Adults Under 50 Need to Know About Colorectal Cancer

Publication: Austin Medical Times, Houston Medical Times
04/01/2020
While youth is considered a time that is carefree and without concerns, recent research indicates that colorectal cancer is on the rise in younger adults, reminding us that cancer knows no age restrictions. Mika Cline, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Midtown, and Cesar K. Tin-U, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Sugar Land share advice on how to take control of your health.

At-Home DNA Tests Can Identify Health Risks, But There Are Pitfalls

Publication: Houston Chronicle 
03/26/2020
As at-home DNA tests grow in popularity, genetic information is more available and affordable than ever before, but these at-home DNA tests can lead to more questions than answers, especially when it comes to cancer mutations. Dhatri Kodali, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Deke Slayton and Kate Principe, genetics coordinator, Gulf Coast, discuss the limitations of these tests and considerations for patients.

Cancer Patients at Special Risk for COVID-19?

Publication: MedPage Today
03/26/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discussed COVID-19 prevention strategies and the switch to telehealth for routine visits. According to Dr. Patt, the clinic’s visitor volume was decreased by about 70 percent to prevent a packed waiting room or a packed infusion center.

Texas Oncology Paris Dedicated to Fight COVID-19

Publication: eParis News
03/25/2020
Sucharu Prakash, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Paris, addressed health concerns around COVID-19 and assured the public that Texas Oncology will prioritize care, while protecting the safety of their patients and staff. According to Dr. Prakash, additional screening safety precautions are in place and Texas Oncology’s goal is to limit exposure risk by only allowing people who are essential to operations inside the facility.

Lalan Wilfong, M.D., Shares Knowledge on How to Thrive in the Rapidly Evolving Alternative Payment Model Landscape

Publication: OBR
03/10/2020
Lalan Wilfong, M.D., executive vice president of Value-Based Care and Quality Programs at Texas Oncology, discusses what oncology practices and cancer centers need to know in order to thrive in the rapidly evolving Alternative Payment Model landscape. According to Dr. Wilfong, cancer centers need to understand how their practices behave, report quality metrics, and provide care, as well as identify deficiencies and areas for improvement.

International Women's Day: Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story

Publication: KWTX-TV (CBS)
03/08/2020
Texas Oncology patient Shawnna Latino fought breast cancer alongside her mother and brother, who were also receiving treatment for breast and prostate cancers at the same time, respectively. Through genetic testing, she learned that she had the BRCA mutation and that it increased her risk for certain cancers, especially breast and ovarian cancers. Carlos Encarnacion, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Horizon Circle says that only 10 percent of people who have the BRCA mutation are aware that they have a mutation that increases their chances of cancer.

Clinical Decision Support Tools Transform Point of Care Delivery

Publication: American Journal of Managed Care
03/07/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, discussed the application of informatics in oncology during the ACCC 46th Annual Meeting and Cancer Center Business Summit. Dr. Patt emphasized the need for integrated solutions to be patient-centric and explained the shift from volume-based to value-based care that took place under the Oncology Care Model.

The Ones For Wellness: Colorectal Cancer

Publication: KTVT-TV (CBS, Dallas)
03/03/2020
As part of a recurring series, “The Ones For Wellness,” CBS 11 spotlighted the story of Dallas-based colorectal cancer patient Danny Robertson. Suddenly fainting in front of colleagues led Danny to his first doctor's appointment in 30 years, during which he underwent his first colonoscopy at age 57, and was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer that had spread to his liver. 

Looking Past the Lingo to Understand Your Diagnosis

Publication: Houston Medical Times
03/01/2020
In addition to feelings of anxiety, grief, and apprehension following a cancer diagnosis, many patients experience information overload. Srinath Sundararajan, M.D., FACP, of Texas Oncology–Katy provides tips for looking past the medical jargon to better understand your diagnosis. 

Two Austin Wedding Photographers Battle Cancer – Together

Publication: KVUE-TV (ABC, Austin)
02/25/2020
Bill and Karen Peary, husband and wife wedding photographers, have been married for 25 years but never imagined that they would fight cancer together. In 2009, Bill found out that he had non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Then in 2016, Karen was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Michael Kasper, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Central, developed care plans for the Pearys that allowed them to benefit from innovative blood cancer treatments in Austin while they continued to manage their photography business.

Study: Short-Term Health Plans Leave Patients with Bigger Out-of-Pocket Costs

Publication: Houston Chronicle
02/25/2020
A new study from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society found that patients diagnosed with medical conditions could run into financial trouble because of the limitations of short-term insurance policies. According to Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, legislative action toward price transparency is hindered by limited patient understanding on costs and coverage gaps in the short-term policies.

Power of Prayer: Rick Garrett’s Ministry to Cancer Patients

Publication: KLTV-TV (ABC, Tyler)
02/17/2020
As cancer patients embark on their treatment journeys, Rick Garrett wants to help them find spiritual healing at the same time. After Rick was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2013 and completed radiation and chemotherapy treatments, he’s since made it his mission to lead others through darkness. A few days a week, Rick prays with patients at the Texas Oncology–Tyler clinic.

Plugged In To DFW: Genetic Testing

Publication: KTXA-TV (CBS, Dallas-Fort worth)
02/16/2020
Ann Bunnell, MS, CGC, who serves as the regional genetics coordinator for Texas Oncology’s DFW West region, is featured in a segment for “Plugged In To DFW,” discussing genetic testing as it relates to cancer. Ann discusses the basics of DNA and genetic testing, in addition its implications on cancer prevention, touching on the difference between at-home genetic testing kits and clinical genetic counseling through a certified provider like Texas Oncology. Ann elaborates on the benefits of clinical genetic counseling and how to approach the discussion and decision to participate in such testing.

Texas Oncology Foundation Hosts One-Day Symposium

Publication: KSAT-TV (ABC, San Antonio)
02/15/2020
The Texas Oncology Foundation hosted the Survive and Thrive Symposium in San Antonio focused on equipping those affected by cancer with tools to better manage their situations and learn survivorship skills. KSAT-TV’s “Good Morning San Antonio” shared more details about the event offering support to cancer survivors and caregivers as they navigate life post-treatment.

In Sickness and in Health: Austin Wedding Photographer Couple Battles Cancer and Wins

Publication: KTBC-TV (FOX, Austin)
02/14/2020
Bill and Karen Peary have worked together for nearly 13 years as wedding photographers and translated that teamwork into fighting blood cancers together. In 2009, Bill was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Karen was later diagnosed with multiple myeloma and underwent a bone marrow transplant in 2016. The Pearys credit their support for one another and care from Michael Kasper, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Central, for helping them become cancer-free.

Cancer Rates Decrease in the United States

Publication: Baytown Sun
02/14/2020
Pamela Medellin, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Baytown discusses factors contributing to the decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. According to Dr. Medellin, key factors include early detection, improved therapies, and patients becoming more cognizant of their own health.

Cancer Deaths on Decline While Patient Quality of Life Improves

Publication: Katy Times
02/13/2020
Gury Doshi, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Katy discusses factors contributing to the steep decline of cancer death rates in the U.S. According to Dr. Doshi, the decrease is due to a mix of factors, including reduced tobacco use, improved screening, genetic testing, immunotherapies, and clinical trials.

Urology Specialists Open Practice

Publication: Longview News-Journal
02/09/2020
Texas Urology Specialists–Longview opened at 802 Medical Circle, Suite 400, and hired board-certified urologists Gregory Edwards, M.D., Landon Erickstad, M.D., Mark Erickstad, M.D., and Brian Williams, M.D. The urologists, who bring a combined 71 years of experience to the practice, will provide pre-screening, testing, and ongoing treatment of urological conditions to both men and women.

Cancer Mortality Rates Reach Record Low

Publication: KTAB-TV (CBS, Abilene)
02/07/2020
Monique Spillman, M.D., Ph.D., FACOG, of Texas Oncology–Abilene discusses the largest ever one-year drop in the cancer mortality rate on KTAB-TV’s 4U. Dr. Spillman analyzes the factors behind the dramatic decrease, including prevention, early detection, and drug improvements. Dr. Spillman also touches on a few of the reasons why patients are living longer with cancer, and how societal changes, like tobacco use, also contributed to decreased mortality rates.

New Study Shows 1 in 4 Texans Have Doctor's Orders Denied by Insurance

Publication: KVUE-TV (ABC, Austin)
02/07/2020
According to a Texas Medical Association survey, 24 percent of people say insurance companies denied treatments, drugs, and other orders given by doctors. Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discusses her experience navigating prior authorization policies in patient care.
 

Insurance Companies Have No Place Practicing Medicine

Publication: Morning Consult
02/07/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, shares her opinion on the role of federal and insurance agencies in healthcare legislation. According to Dr. Patt, treatment decisions should be made by patients and their doctors – free from insurance company regulation and policies.

Pathway Use to Increase Value for Patients, Direct Data Analysis for Practices

Publication: Journal of Clinical Pathways
02/06/2020
Scott Paulson, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, describes the importance of a clinical pathway for stomach cancer used across the network for improving overall value for patients as well as directing practice data analyses to improve patient care.

Austin Couple Battles Through Their Worst Times While Helping Others Remember Their Best

Publication: KXAN-TV (NBC, Austin)
02/06/2020
Bill and Karen Peary worked as a husband-and-wife team photographing weddings in Central Texas for over 12 years when they suddenly had to fight blood cancer together. Bill was diagnosed first with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009 and Karen was later diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2016 and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Michael Kasper, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Central, developed care plans for the Pearys that would allow them to benefit from innovative blood cancer treatments in Austin while allowing them to stay close to the wedding work and people they love – especially each other. Now cancer survivors, they’re still living out their happily-ever-afters through a thriving photography business.

Conference Organizers Can Help Oncologists Distill Practice-Changing Data

Publication: Cancer Therapy Advisor
02/05/2020
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, discusses what oncologists can take away from medical conferences, specifically the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Dr. Patt shares her takeaways for attendees based on the data presentations and sessions.

Cancer Grounded this Pilot, But Didn't Defeat Him

Publication: WFAA-TV (ABC, Dallas–Fort Worth)
02/04/2020
For David Whitson, flying planes isn’t just a job – it’s a lifelong passion. However, that passion was halted when David was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and grounded by the FAA. Brian Berryman, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center Blood and Marrow Transplant, was featured on WFAA-TV discussing David’s diagnosis and the lengthy process he underwent to obtain clearance to fly after treatment. With the help of David’s care team, he completed treatment and was cleared by the FAA to fly again.

New Statistics Show Decrease in Cancer Mortality Rates, Thanks to New Treatments Like Immunotherapy

Publication: KXXV-TV (ABC, Waco)
02/02/2020
The American Cancer Society recently reported a historic single-year drop in cancer death rates. Thomas Harris, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Waco joined KXXV-TV to discuss promising treatments such as immunotherapies that have contributed to this progress. He also shares cancer prevention tips with viewers, explaining that early detection and a maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help save lives.

Blood Cancer Breakthroughs: Targeted Therapies Take the Lead in the Future of Treatment

Publication: Austin Medical Times
02/01/2020
Back in 2001, targeted therapy for cancer was a new development unlike anything on the market at the time. Now in 2020, it sits squarely at the forefront of cancer care and continues to advance, bettering the chances of good outcomes and minimized side effects for patients with blood cancers. Jason Melear, M.D., medical oncologist and hematologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Midtown, highlights these advancements and what it means for blood cancer patients in Texas.

Coping with Cancer: How Finding Your Motivation Can Shape Your Journey

Publication: Houston Medical Times, Austin Medical Times
02/01/2020
According to the National Institutes of Health, a hopeful outlook can help the body deal with cancer. Once the initial shock of diagnosis wears off, you may feel a wide range of emotions, but finding a sense of motivation and hope can help you face the many challenges of cancer.

Report: Largest One-Year Drop in Cancer-Related Deaths Ever

Publication: Houston Chronicle
01/30/2020
As a report by the American Cancer Society reveals the largest drop in cancer-related deaths in any one year, Gury Doshi, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Houston Memorial City, discusses factors in the decline. Dr. Doshi shares her opinion that decreased tobacco use and cancer treatment advancements are largest contributors to the drop.

Cancer Deaths in U.S. See Drop Across the Board

Publication: KVII-TV (ABC, Amarillo)
01/29/2020
Praveen Tumula, M.D., FACP, of Texas Oncology–Amarillo Cancer Center was featured on KVII-TV discussing recent declines in cancer mortality rates. According to Dr. Tumula, improvements in clinical trial designs, imaging modalities, and therapy have improved the understanding of cancer biology and led to more advancements in cancer research.

At-Home DNA Tests: Discussing Risks, Reliability and Differences

Publication: KVUE-TV (ABC, Austin)
01/29/2020
At-home DNA tests can help people learn about their ancestry and potential health risks. However, there are factors consumers should consider in order to properly evaluate cancer risk. Gayle Patel, M.S., CGC, director of Texas Oncology’s Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing Program, joined KVUE-TV to discuss the importance of knowing one’s family history and the differences between at-home DNA tests and genetic testing completed in a clinical setting.

Texas Oncology Subsidiary Partners with Boston Artificial Intelligence Firm

Publication: D CEO Healthcare
01/27/2020
Texas Oncology subsidiary Precision Health Informatics is partnering with Concerto HealthAI to expand their precision medicine treatment of cancer patients. The collaboration will advance novel research solutions, integrating deep clinical insights derived from electronic medical record data, particularly information about the molecular basis of disease derived from tissue or liquid samples.

What 23andMe, Ancestry.com Kits Aren’t Telling You About Your Health Risk

Publication: Austin American-Statesman
01/24/2020
At-home genetic tests were a popular gift item this past holiday season. However, there are factors consumers should be aware of when using these tests to determine health risks. Gayle Patel, M.S., CGC, director of Texas Oncology’s Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing (GREAT) Program, discusses what at-home genetic tests aren’t telling you and why you should consult a doctor about the results. 

Innovative Cancer Treatment Gives Kyle Resident a New Lease on Life

Publication: Hays Free Press
01/22/2020
Kindergarten teacher Brianna Bonnet was the first Texas Oncology patient in Austin to receive CAR-T therapy commercially. CAR-T therapy is an innovative immunotherapy treatment which involves reprogramming a patient’s T-cells to fight cancer cells. Under the care of Jason Melear, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Midtown, Brianna has responded well to the treatment and has returned to the classroom.

U.S. Cancer Mortality Rates Hit Record Decline

Publication: KFDX-TV (NBC, Wichita Falls)
01/21/2020
Kent Ulrich, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Wichita Falls Cancer Center was featured on KFDX-TV discussing new data from the American Cancer Society that shows a record decline in cancer deaths across the U.S. Dr. Ulrich highlighted innovations in cancer care in recent years, including the benefit of immunotherapy on cancer treatment outcomes and survival.

Discussing Technology's Impact on Cancer Care

Publication: Oncology Times
01/20/2020
Darshan Gandhi, M.D., and Ananth Arjunan, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Methodist Charlton Cancer Center were featured in Oncology Times discussing how technology impacts their practices in 2020, and what they hope to see in future frontiers of medical technology. The story was part of a content series called “Colleague Conversations,” in which two colleagues – one with several years of experience and one newer to the field – discuss their approach to a specific topic.

OCM Practices Take on Two-Sided Risk, but Uncertainty Looms

Publication: OBR
01/20/2020
Lalan Wilfong, M.D., executive vice president of Value-Based Care and Quality Programs at Texas Oncology, discussed Texas Oncology’s participation in the Oncology Care Model. According to Dr. Wilfong, the fact that the alternative two-sided risk arrangement calculates financial payments and penalties on the basis of a practice’s revenue, not expenditures, was one reason Texas Oncology chose to move to downside risk.

Historic Cancer Death Rate Decline

Publication: KTBC-TV (FOX, Austin)
01/17/2020
Following an American Cancer Society report indicating a historic drop in cancer death rates, Athira Unnikrishnan, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Midtown was featured on KTBC-TV discussing racial and gender gaps in cancer death rates, the types of cancers seeing the largest declines, and developments in immunotherapy and targeted therapies contributing to progress in survival rates.

Cancer Mortality Rates Decreasing Nationwide, Still Increasing Slightly in East Texas

Publication: KLTV-TV (ABC, Tyler)
01/16/2020
The cancer mortality rate in East Texas is higher than the nationwide average, but local doctors says it’s getting better. Donald Richards, M.D., medical oncologist with Texas Oncology–Tyler, discusses recent trends in cancer treatments in East Texas, noting the impact of early detection on improved survival.

Data Analytics Improving Care Coordination Programs

Publication: Managed Healthcare Executive
01/09/2020
Lalan Wilfong, M.D., executive vice president of value-based care and quality programs at Texas Oncology, discusses how electronic triage programs can improve patient care. Dr. Wilfong describes Texas Oncology’s implementation of Navigating Care, an electronic triage platform that improves efficiency of patient call transfers and returns.

What You Should Know About Managing Pain During Cancer Treatment

Publication: Austin Medical Times, Houston Medical Times
01/01/2020
Maintaining quality of life and a sense of normalcy are important for cancer patients throughout their cancer journey, but treatment and the disease itself can take tremendous physical and emotional tolls on patients. Shaun McKenzie, M.D., FACS, of Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–South Austin, and Meghana Bhandari, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Sugar Land, share guidance for patients managing pain during treatment.

The Rise In Colon Cancer Among Younger Adults: What You Should Know to Cut Cancer Risk

Publication: The Jewish Outlook
01/01/2020
Staying healthy is important at any age – and it could save your life. In The Jewish Outlook's annual Health & Fitness section, Athira Unnikrishnan, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Austin Midtown discusses the rise in colon cancer among younger adults and steps for improving overall health as it relates to cancer prevention.

Get a DNA Kit for Christmas? Here’s Something You Need to Know

Publication: KWTX-TV (CBS, Waco)
12/26/2019
Often popular Christmas gifts, at-home DNA tests can help people understand their risk for developing certain health conditions, including cancer. However, these tests are only a small piece of a larger genetics puzzle. Carlos Encarnacion, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Horizon Circle, explains that individuals should discuss test results with a medical provider.

There's No Place Like Home. Two Medical Doctors are Breaking Barriers in the Panhandle

Publication: KVII-TV (ABC, Amarillo)
12/10/2019
Amarillo natives Anne Doughtie, M.D., and Rachel Weinheimer, M.D., of Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–Amarillo, were featured on KVII-TV discussing their impacts on Amarillo healthcare. Joining forces in their hometown, the surgical oncologists work towards building a multi-disciplinary cancer center, offering Panhandle patients closer access to comprehensive cancer care.

What They’re Watching: Debra Patt, MD, Texas Oncology

Publication: State of Reform
12/04/2019
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, discussed caring for patients in rural areas. As she looks for ways to improve cancer care delivery across Texas, Dr. Patt explained she’s keeping an eye on telemedicine policy this session.

Why Is Esophageal Cancer on the Rise?

Publication: WFAA-TV (ABC, Dallas-Fort Worth)
11/26/2019
Esophageal cancer patient Shannon DiMascio and medical oncologist Wendy Mahone-Johnson, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Plano Prestonwood, were featured on WFAA-TV discussing life with chronic cancer. In the piece, Dr. Mahone-Johnson explains the clinical details of Shannon’s story and the treatment she continues receiving to control her cancer. The story not only encourages early detection, but also raises awareness of the shift to treating cancer as a chronic disease.

Why Is Esophageal Cancer on the Rise?

Publication: WFAA-TV (ABC, Dallas-Fort Worth)
11/26/2019
Wendy Mahone-Johnson, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Plano Prestonwood discusses esophageal cancer patient Shannon DiMascio’s story and the treatment she continues receiving to control her cancer. Shannon and Dr. Mahone-Johnson shed a light on how the shift toward treating cancer as a chronic disease allows patients to continue living their lives to the fullest.

When it Comes to Cancer, It’s a Family Affair

Publication: Austin Medical Times, Houston Medical Times, Pflugerville Pflag, Round Rock Leader, San Antonio Express-News
11/20/2019
Families play an integral role in cancer care. Many patients walk most of the miles of their cancer journey alongside family members – outside of the clinic or hospital. Susan Escudier, M.D., FACP, of Texas Oncology– Houston Medical Center, Krishna Patel, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Round Rock North, and Emmalind Aponte, M.D, of Texas Oncology–San Antonio Medical Center, share how families can cultivate an environment of care and support.

New Texas Oncology–The Woodlands Radiation Center Officially Opens

Publication: Woodlands Online
11/05/2019
Texas Oncology–The Woodlands Radiation Center officially opened its doors to provide high-quality radiation services to local cancer patients. With the addition of the new 15,000-square-foot radiation facility, Texas Oncology–The Woodlands is now a comprehensive cancer center offering both medical and radiation oncology, sitting on the campus of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands.

Danny Box: Even Cancer Can’t Conquer a Servant’s Heart

Publication: Austin American-Statesman
11/03/2019
After being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, Danny Box’s medical oncologist, Darren Kocs, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Round Rock, recommended him for a genetic evaluation with Jerrad Stoddard, PA-C, M.A., M.S. Test results determined that Danny had an inherited cancer condition known as Lynch syndrome. After Danny’s evaluation, all three of his children were tested and his family swiftly became aware of the importance of cancer screenings.

A Brighter Outlook for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Publication: CURE Magazine
11/01/2019
Michelina Cairo, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Houston Memorial City, was featured in a CURE Magazine article about new metastatic breast cancer treatments that are improving patient quality of life and survival rates. Dr. Cairo explained the role of drug combinations and menopause in metastatic cancer treatments.

A Patient’s Guide to Managing Cancer as a Chronic Illness

Publication: Austin Medical Times, Houston Medical Times
11/01/2019
Treatment advancements have made it possible for some patients to live with and manage cancer as a chronic illness. Punit Chadha, M.D., of Texas Oncology–South Austin and Anish Meerasahib, M.A, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Deke Slayton Cancer Center share considerations for living with chronic cancer.

Business & Professional Women in Austin: Gayle Patel, Genetic Counselor, Texas Oncology

Publication: The Jewish Outlook
11/01/2019
In The Jewish Outlook's annual special section highlighting business and professional women, Gayle Patel, MS, CGC, discusses her role as director of Texas Oncology’s Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing (GREAT) Program, genetic risk associated with cancer, and what inspires her on the job.

Breast Cancer "Myths": Fact or Fiction?

Publication: KABB-TV (FOX, San Antonio), WOAI-TV (NBC, San Antonio)
10/29/2019
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, KABB-TV and WOAI-TV shared Texas Oncology’s facts debunking common breast cancer myths. The common misconceptions about breast cancer relate to family history of the disease, gender risks, surgical options, cancerous lumps, and recurrence after treatment.

Moving Into the Future of Cancer Care Through OCM 2.0

Publication: American Journal of Managed Care
10/29/2019
What would a successor to the Oncology Care Model (OCM) look like? Lalan Wilfong, M.D., medical oncologist with Texas Oncology–Presbyterian Cancer Center Dallas, and other community oncologists discussed ways to build on the investment at the Payer Exchange Summit sponsored by the Community Oncology Alliance.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: New BRCA Gene Mutation Guidelines

Publication: KTBC-TV (FOX, Austin)
10/28/2019
During the final installment of their Breast Cancer Awareness Month series, FOX 7 Austin's Amanda Salinas catches up with breast cancer survivor Rachel Belkin to discuss life after treatment, and Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president of Texas Oncology, who highlights recent updates to BRCA screening guidelines and the impact of these updates on patients like Rachel.

Turner Industries Employees Donate to Texas Oncology Foundation

Publication: The Paris News
10/27/2019
Turner Industries, inspired by co-worker Valerie Vanderburg’s cancer journey, decided to donate funds to Texas Oncology Foundation in her honor. Valerie Vanderburg is a current patient at Texas Oncology–Paris and a quality coordinator at Turner Industries in Paris.

#IAMUP: Breast Cancer Myths

Publication: WFAA-TV (ABC, Dallas-Fort Worth)
10/23/2019
Katrina E. Birdwell, M.D, FACS, of Texas Breast Specialists–Methodist Dallas Cancer Center, appeared live on WFAA-TV to discuss breast cancer myths with an in-studio audience of breast cancer survivors and supporters. In the interactive segment, which aired during the station’s special morning show dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Birdwell clarifies common misconceptions about breast cancer occurrence and prevention.

Breast Cancer Myths, Separating Fact from Fiction

Publication: KXXV-TV (ABC, Waco)
10/23/2019
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Thomas Harris, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Waco was featured on KXXV-TV’s Central Texas Living show to clarify myths and reinforce truths about breast cancer prevention and treatment.

Hair Salon Owner Loses Hair During Breast Cancer Battle

Publication: Shine Online
10/21/2019
Salon owner and hair stylist Ursulia Hall was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in October 2018, and now she’s using her salon to help breast cancer patients during chemotherapy. According to her breast surgical oncologist, Katrina E. Birdwell, M.D, FACS, of Texas Breast Specialists–Methodist Dallas Cancer Center, when patients like Ursulia have positive outlooks through treatment, they have better outcomes.

Chantal Rice: Fighting Cancer on Her Terms

Publication: Austin American-Statesman
10/20/2019
As the managing editor of Austin Woman magazine, Chantal Rice provides editorial oversight for thought-provoking stories that inspire and support women. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Chantal was treated by Bridget O’Brien, D.O., at Texas Breast Specialists–Georgetown, and Mika Cline, M.D., at Texas Oncology–Austin Midtown. She credits the support of her family and friends, colleagues at Austin Woman magazine, and her partner, Thomas, for helping her through her cancer journey.

Prakash Joins Rural Cancer Care Task Force

Publication: The Paris News
10/18/2019
Sucharu “Chris” Prakash, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Paris, was appointed to the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Rural Cancer Care Task Force, furthering his longtime efforts toward improving cancer care access and quality in rural Texas. Dr. Prakash, who also serves on the board of directors for Texas Oncology, the U.S. Oncology Breast Cancer Research Committee, and the Texas Medical Association Committee on Cancer, was appointed to the task force in recognition of his expertise in serving patients in Paris and his long-established interest the health care needs of rural Texas.

Bonus Episode: All Around the Oncology Clinical Pathways Congress

Publication: Journal of Clinical Pathways
10/18/2019
As part of the Journal of Clinical Pathways' Outspoken Oncology podcast, Lalan Wilfong, M.D., of Texas Oncology–Presbyterian Cancer Center Dallas discusses aspects of clinical pathway integration. Dr. Wilfong highlights ways in which clinical pathway integration can help in potentially reducing the administrative burdens placed on physician, due to decreased authorization needs, and about Texas Oncology's network review process for off-pathway justifications.
 

How Obesity Affects Cancer Treatment

Publication: American Journal of Managed Care
10/16/2019
Debra Patt, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical oncologist and executive vice president at Texas Oncology, discussed the effects of obesity on cancer treatment and prevention strategies. Dr. Patt addressed obesity-related cancer incidence, treatment effectiveness, and prevention through diet and exercise.

Lack of Awareness

Publication: Radiology Today
10/15/2019
Proton therapy uses particles to deliver a highly concentrated amount of radiation to a cancer target. Because of its physical properties, the particles don’t impact surrounding organs to the same degree as conventional X-rays. Proton therapy also allows patients who receive radiation and experience a recurrence of