Seattle Cancer Care Alliance expanding services in Poulsbo

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is expanding its services and care options at its Poulsbo location.

SCCA Peninsula began as a state of the art radiation oncology clinic in early 2019 at the Peninsula Community Health Services building in Poulsbo. The Poulsbo clinic will expand its existing onsite radiation therapy services and add new services which include hematology and oncology consultation and management, infusion therapy along with a pharmacy and supportive care.

A medical oncology program will also be introduced and will offer assessments, physical examinations, patient consultation and education from SCCA professionals and clinic staff.

Dr. Jennie Crews is an administrative and medical director for SCCA Community Sites and medical director for the SCCA Affiliate Network, with clinical expertise in survivorship.

“What we are seeing, because of the successes that we have now in diagnosis, treatment, and care of cancer, patients are living longer with their disease… So going through cancer and cancer treatment can lead to some late and long-term effects. There’s also a need for a transition from their active care back into wellness. So the practice of survivorship really focuses on that and helping patients recover from the toxicities of their therapy and helps them regain their wellness and helps them in monitoring for those late and long term effects. It guides their practitioners like their primary care physicians and other members of their medical team to know what types of surveillance they need and at what frequency,” Crews said.

According to Crews, by 2026, 20 million people in the U.S. will be cancer survivors.

Oncology is defined as the medical practice of diagnosing and treating cancer and different types of cancer require different types of specialists and care. However the most common types of cancer treatment today are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, so it is important that there are oncologists that specialize in these types of treatment as well.

“Patients who are diagnosed with malignancies oftentimes require both medical oncology and radiation oncology services … Radiation is more of a local therapy, it works where the radiation is aimed whereas the different therapies that medical oncologists give are systemic. So, they’re treating cancer wherever its located in the body. Those services include things like chemotherapy or oral medications,” Crews said.

Another form of care that will be included at the clinic will be supportive care, which includes linking patients up with resources regarding nutrition, mental health, financial assistance, and spiritual wellness.

“We know that patients that are undergoing cancer treatment, need not only the [clinical] aspects of care that radiation and chemotherapy provide,” Crews noted.

The clinic is also flipping the practice of cancer treatment in terms of the care coming to the patient rather than the patient going to the care. The patients still need to go to the clinic to receive care, but rather than being shuffled around the clinic from room to room to see different doctors and nurses for different things, the patient will remain in one room, made as comfortable and relaxed as possible, while all the care comes to them. The idea is being dubbed the “universal room.”

“In that type [traditional] model, the onus is on the patient to move from location to location, to location. With the universal room, we have flipped that on its head…so that we take the patient to one location and we bring all these services to them … so they’re not the ones that have to move around, around and around,” Dr. Crews said.