With 17 locations and 14 cancer subspecialities, Novant Health Cancer Institute continues to expand in expertise with the groundbreaking of the Novant Health Agnes Binder Weisiger Breast Health Center in Charlotte. The vision for this center is to provide comprehensive care and equitable access to services.

Novant Health this year also began piloting a neoadjuvant chemotherapy prehabilitation program for breast cancer patients in Charlotte and Matthews.

“We take our mission and vision to heart at Novant Health,” said David Rizzieri, MD, senior vice president and director, Novant Health Cancer Institute. “When you look at the tagline, ‘Expect Remarkable,’ we view that to mean that we are improving lives within our communities by providing the highest level of care. That requires disease specialization, an integrated team and the ability to offer the most novel therapies, which, for many patients, includes clinical trials.”

Dr. Rizzieri noted five recent advancements that are benefiting patients at Novant Health Cancer Institute locations.

1. Multidisciplinary clinics

Dr. Rizzieri: Integrated, multidisciplinary clinics significantly improve patient care. Specifically, this approach guards against the fragmentation of care in oncology. For example, we’re establishing clinics that have a breast cancer medical oncology specialist working alongside a breast cancer surgeon, pharmacy support and the rest of the care team. This ensures that the evaluation of a patient happens at the same time, with a cohesive and clear care plan.

2. Cellular therapy and immunotherapy as treatment options

Dr. Rizzieri: Novant Health is a leader in offering innovative therapies like immunotherapy, now being applied to every cancer type. This allows us to complement some traditional therapies to stimulate the patient’s own immune system to attack the cancer. We’ve had significant advancements and success participating in research studies devoted to CAR-T cell therapy, in which T cells are modified in a lab to fight cancer. We’re continuing to expand therapy options like these to patients with gastrointestinal cancers, lung cancer, brain tumors and more.

3. New phase 1 clinical trial unit

Dr. Rizzieri: Novant Health now has two state-of-the-art facilities in Charlotte and Winston-Salem that offer patients some of the most novel therapies in our markets, along with our newly integrated center at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina. In the past year, we were among the first in the world to provide doses of new investigational agents to patients battling lymphoma. This was made possible thanks to donations, an efficient team focused on getting important studies opened quickly and a well-trained staff that provides these therapies as safely as possible.

4. New benign hematology center of excellence

Dr. Rizzieri: There is a very large population of patients with bleeding or clotting disorders who could benefit from specialists focused on those issues. That’s difficult to find outside of a very focused, tertiary academic center. At Novant Health, we’ve expanded this specific program, hiring more faculty and advanced practice providers in Charlotte and Winston-Salem so we could achieve status as a hemostasis and thrombosis center of excellence. We have also been able to extend Novant Health’s hemophilia care to pediatric patients at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital.

5. New lung nodule management program

Dr. Rizzieri: In the past it took approximately 65 days from finding a lung nodule to effectively starting therapy. To create efficiencies, we’ve reorganized to create a more integrated effort.

Now, our care teams work with primary care physicians to manage screenings, with a weekly interdisciplinary review of scans showing nodules.

We emphasize quick follow-ups with patients and the creation of a biopsy plan within 10 days of their recent visit. We also keep spaces open for early access for patients who need to be seen. Within the past year, we have already decreased time from identification to nodule management to under 45 days.

More to come

Dr. Rizzieri: This progress is exciting. We’ve made significant advancements and have had success with many therapy types. And we’re continuing this journey of disease specialization while integrating clinics through multidisciplinary support and providing the most innovative therapies for our patient community.

To work with the team at Novant Health Cancer Institute or to refer a patient.

Charlotte: 980-302-6000 Referral Fax: 980-302-6755

Wilmington: 910-667-3000 Referral Fax: 910-338-0965

Winston-Salem: 866-277-8867 Referral Fax: 336-277-8867