Moving cancer care fwd

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A message from
Tom Purcell, MD, MBA

Director, Cancer Care

Executive Medical Director
Oncology Services

Associate Director Clinical Services
UCHealth University of Colorado Cancer Center – Anschutz Medical Campus

Chief Medical Officer
UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital

Associate Professor
University of Colorado Denver

We're currently working on 3 new hospitals, to open in the next two to three years, and all of this is just the beginning. So I invite you to explore our site here and discover more about UCHealth Cancer Care and it's flagship NCI designated University of Colorado cancer center. For a deeper dive you can download the PDF overview from right here as well."

Service Area

Adding locations to make treatment more accessible.

Located throughout Colorado, the eastern plains and southern Wyoming, we constantly strive to cultivate convenience for cancer patients at the heart of the nation.

Northern Colorado
  • Poudre Valley Hospital
  • Cancer Center – Harmony Campus
  • Medical Center of the Rockies
  • Cancer Care and Hematology Clinic - Greeley
  • Cancer Care and Hematology Clinic - Estes Park
  • Cancer Care and Hematology Clinic - Laramie
  • Cancer Care and Hematology Clinic - Fort Morgan
  • Cancer Care and Hematology Clinic - Yuma
  • Cancer Care and Hematology Clinic - Wray
  • Cancer Care and Hematology Clinic- Holyoke
Metro Denver
  • University of Colorado Hospital - Cancer Center - Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Lone Tree Medical Center
  • UCHealth Cancer Center - Littleton
  • Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards*
  • Callaway Young Cancer Center in Glenwood Springs*
  • St. Mary’s Cancer Center in Grand Junction*
Colorado Springs
  • Memorial Hospital Central
  • Memorial Hospital North
  • Woodland Park
  • Lamar
Denver Map of UCHealth Locations
*Regional affiliates
Regional Quality Study Northern Colorado

Stirring up interest in cancer rehabilitation services.

What interested us.

The low conversion rate of referred patients taking part in oncology rehab, as well as the lack of knowledge surrounding its benefits only at 47%.

Our plan of action.

Educational sessions were incorporated into departmental staff meetings, as well as Quarterly Service Line Updates and one-on-one meetings with new staff members.

The outcome.

By increasing awareness in staff and dispelling myths of excessive patient involvement, the oncology rehab program saw conversion rates rise between 60-79%.

Regional Quality Study Metro Denver

Going the extra mile to reduce readmissions in the Mile High City.

What interested us.

Improving patient care and satisfaction scores by identifying areas in need of improvement and strengthening them accordingly.

Our plan of action.

Two studies were initiated. One was focused on improving quality and safety in the blood cancer discharge process. The other was about improving patient care from preadmission to post-discharge for gynecologic oncology surgery.

The outcome.

Many opportunities were identified allowing UCHealth Metro to make improvements in readmissions, workflows and patient outcomes.

Blood cancer discharge process.

30-day readmissions
down to
from 28%
14-day readmissions
down to
from 21%
7-day readmissions
down to
from 16%
+ improved workflows and patient outcomes
Regional Quality Study Colorado Springs

Driving advancements in multidisciplinary rounding.

What interested us.

Improving multidisciplinary rounds on cancer patients admitted to the Oncology Patient Care Unit.

Our plan of action.

Surveys were sent to both patients and staff that identified a need for improved timeliness and communication as well as physical and occupational therapy.

The outcome.

A new multidisciplinary rounding tool was developed that made significant improvements in the following areas:

  • Improved timeliness and comprehensive reporting.
  • Daily patient meetings with the oncologist, pharmacist, IP charge nurse and members of the physical/occupational therapy team.
  • More appropriate oncologic discharge prescriptions and patient education.
  • Enhanced inpatient chemotherapy education.
Patient Story: Peyton Linafelter, ovarian cancer survivor.

Rising up against insurmountable odds.

In 2016, teenager Peyton Linafelter was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer, a disease usually found in patients four times her age.

Aside from the fact that Peyton’s cancer had already spread to her lungs and liver, Dr. Saketh Guntupalli, MD, said Peyton’s case was one of the worst he had ever seen and that she may have been one of the youngest patients in the U.S. to be diagnosed with this disease.

With an unprecedented task before them, the oncology team at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital Cancer Center came up with a plan to save Peyton’s life. After a seven-hour surgery to remove tumors and more than six rounds of chemotherapy, Peyton is officially cancer-free.

Peyton approached this with a strength and a grace that I don’t see in women that are three times her age. And she’s really been an inspiration to all of us."

- Dr. Guntupalli

Patient Story: Sara DeBord, breast cancer survior

Setting a new speed for radiation treatments.

Avid runner and fitness enthusiast Sara DeBord was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2016. She underwent chemotherapy from March through June and in the middle of it all, ran the Boston Marathon. After a mastectomy in July, she began planning for radiation.

Wanting to maintain her everyday fitness, DeBord inquired about a fast-track to treatment. When her oncologist told her about a clinical trial nearby, she was quick to jump on board.

Normally, node-positive breast cancer patients undergo 25 to 33 radiation treatments over five to six weeks. With this new therapy, DeBord received half as many treatments, finishing two weeks early.

This was the first investigator-initiated trial to be made available for patients throughout UCHealth. Shorter courses of radiation have already been proven successful in the U.K. and Canada. With the results of this study, we could change the way women with breast cancer are treated across the U.S.

Patient Story: Phyllis Sanchez, breast cancer survivor

Taking the fight to chemotherapy hair loss.

Last May, cancer turned the tables on Phyllis Sanchez. Previously a mammographer in New Mexico, Sanchez found herself on the other end of the imaging machine with the diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer. Now, she’s halfway through chemotherapy at UCHealth University of Colorado Cancer Center.

But breast cancer isn’t the only concern on Sanchez’s mind. She’s also fighting hair loss, the signature side effect of chemo. Before her infusions, Sanchez dons The DigniCap®, a silicone head cover connected to an automated machine that delivers temperature-regulated coolant to her scalp.

It’s the first ever FDA-approved treatment for chemo-induced hair loss and could help countless patients protect their hair during treatment.

Sanchez said she wants to serve as an example for women who would avoid getting mammograms because they fear the circumstances they might uncover.