University of Missouri

A Unique Approach to Cancer Care

Five key aspects set apart the care delivered at Ellis Fischel
A Unique Approach to Cancer Care

An oncology nurse cares for a patient at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.

Kevin Staveley-O’Carroll, MD, PhD

Kevin Staveley-O’Carroll, MD, PhD

Ellis Fischel Cancer Center’s team of physician specialists and other trained professionals work together with a common goal: to provide the latest treatments and improve the quality of life for thousands of people each year.

Five key aspects of the care delivered at Ellis Fischel set the center apart for Kevin Staveley-O’Carroll, MD, PhD, director of the cancer center and chair of the Hugh E. Stephenson Jr., MD, Department of Surgery at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

1. A Team Approach

“Our care is multidisciplinary and hosts specialists from a variety of disciplines, essentially under one roof,” said Staveley-O’Carroll. “We bring together surgical, medical and radiation oncologists as part of every patient’s care team. Beyond that, we have nutritionists, palliative care specialists and physical therapists for our patients. It’s truly a team approach that allows us to treat the whole person.”

Because not all cancers are the same, the providers at Ellis Fischel focus on different types of cancers. The multidisciplinary teams help patients and physicians navigate their care to ensure coordination between Ellis Fischel and community physicians in the following specialties:

  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Gynecologic cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Hematologic cancer
  • Hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancer
  • Lung and thoracic cancer
  • Neurosurgical cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Soft tissue and sarcoma cancer
  • Urological cancer

2. A Family Atmosphere

“Our cancer center has a long and storied history as the first cancer center west of the Mississippi,” Staveley-O’Carroll said. “It’s a heritage that we’re proud of, and our clinicians and staff love working here. It really is a family atmosphere at Ellis. That engagement helps translate to better and more coordinated patient care.”

Staveley-O’Carroll cites the annual memorial service at Ellis Fischel as part of the family environment. It is a time that offers loved ones a chance to remember those they have lost to cancer.

“When I attend these memorials, it’s clear just how much our staff care for our patients and their families,” he said. “Unfortunately, not every cancer can be cured, and that loss is felt by us all. I am just in awe of the compassion our team shows for each patient.”

3. Recognized Quality

“We are the first academic certified member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network®, and that affiliation means we’re bringing the highest quality of care to mid-Missouri,” Staveley-O’Carroll said. “Through this collaboration, we’re learning absolutely everything they have to offer, and we’re applying that to the care we provide here every day.”

As an MD Anderson Cancer Network® affiliate, care teams have access to a wide range of multidisciplinary care resources, including disease-specific and evidence-based guidelines, treatment plans and best practices developed by MD Anderson Cancer Center experts. With regular peer reviews and treatment collaboration, some of the best cancer expertise is close to home at Ellis Fischel.

4. Access to Clinical Trials

“As the state designated cancer center, we’re designed to serve the people of Missouri for their specialized cancer care,” he said. “While that means specialized surgeries and therapies not offered at many other centers, it also means offering the very latest treatments through clinical trials.”

Through the clinical trials program at Ellis Fischel, patients can have access to treatments years before they become widely available. Research studies can give patients a head start in their recovery, and physicians can develop personalized treatment plans to best beat a patient’s cancer.

5. Research Capabilities

“I often stress to people that here at MU, we are one of only six public universities that can claim a law school, a medical school and a veterinary medicine college on one campus,” Staveley-O’Carroll said. “Coupled with the nation’s most powerful university research reactor, we are primed to bring our basic science research from the bench to the bedside.

“The brainpower we have at Ellis Fischel and the MU School of Medicine is incredible,” he said. “Our specialized researchers are working diligently to advance cancer medicine in specialized areas such as tumor immunology.”

To learn more about the resources available to patients at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, visit www.MUHealth.org/EllisFischel.