Barrett Cancer Center Offers World-class Treatment and Care
Dr. William Barrett
Photography by Daniel Smyth and Greg Grupenhof
“It is our goal to be in the national top five cancer programs within the next 10 years,” says Dr. Barrett, director of the UC Cancer Institute and medical director of the Barrett Cancer Center. “Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is already a perennial top-five hospital for children and has been ranked No. 1 in the country in cancer care, and we are on our way to achieving a similar status.”
Already, the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute and Barrett Cancer Center are delivering world-class treatment and care.
They’re home to more than 90 physicians (60 at Barrett and 30 throughout the Cancer Institute) and another 90 or more research scientists who treat more than 2,500 new cancer patients each year.
The three-story 60,000-square foot Barrett Cancer Center is the main outpatient facility for cancer care at the university and provides everything from diagnosis, imaging and screening to chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other treatments. The main hospital hosts surgical procedures and in-patient care.
“The expertise we are fortunate to have at the University as an academic medical center,” says Dr. Barrett, “means that most of the physicians are sub-specialized, with one or two areas of focus. Community physicians are excellent Jacks-of-all-trades who are very well-rounded and have experience with a lot of different areas, but at the University our physicians have particular expertise with specific focus.”
For patients, this means the benefit of clinical multi- disciplinary groups comprising 10-30 physicians each. “For each type of cancer, the people in different specialties work together,” explains Dr. Barrett. “Whether it’s breast cancer, brain tumors, lung cancers – any in a whole spectrum of cancers, we are able to bring together those who focus on that specific area to come to a consensus on the best course of treatment and care for each patient.”
He describes how this works in practice. “For instance, we met for our weekly head and neck tumor board to review patients with newly diagnosed cancers. There were 30 people in the room including head and neck surgeons from the ENT department, radiation oncologists who focus on cancers of the head and neck, medical oncologists who have the same focus, neuroradiologists who focus on head and neck and subspecialized pathologists. There’s tremendous expertise. These very bright people discuss each cases and come to a consensus, and a recommendation is made,” says Dr. Barrett.
“That’s a real strength, the sub-specialty expertise and multi-disciplinary interactions.”
Some patients are treated at the University, while others take the recommendation and are treated elsewhere. Either way, says Dr. Barrett, is fine.
“There’s a lot of excellent cancer care. There are a lot of excellent facilities, physicians and personnel. The role of the University is to try to raise the amount of cancer care across the region. We don’t expect to treat every patient in the Institute, but we want to help influence great out- comes in any way possible. Our common enemy is the disease cancer.”
When patients do see through their treatment with Dr. Barrett’s team, he and his colleagues do everything in their power to achieve the best possible outcome. “We are local. These are our friends and neighbors who we see as our patients, and we want the best for them and their family. There is a strong commitment from the whole staff that we want to deliver the best care.”
This commitment is not just part of the Barrett Cancer Center and the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute, but also their partners, notably Cincinnati-based Western & Southern Financial Group.
The Barrett Cancer Center is named after Dr. Barrett’s late father, Dr. Charles Barrett. “My dad was a radiologist back in the days when radiologists performed therapeutic radiation to treat cancer,” says Dr. Barrett. “Later he became CEO of Western & Southern. He had the concept of trying to develop a cancer center to help bring world-class care and clinical research to Cincinnati. He had the great opportunity of having two careers. Being a physician, and a CEO of Western & Southern. He thrived in both roles and tried to bring the two arenas together with medicine and corporate citizenship. Western & Southern has continued to provide support for so many years. My brother, John Barrett, is at the helm of Western & Southern now and continues that tradition of support. He is quite passionate about Cincinnati having excellent cancer care.”
“Western & Southern is very committed to keeping Greater Cincinnati’s medical infrastructure and health innovation strong and growing,” says John F. Barrett, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Western & Southern. “Our support of the Barrett Cancer Center, which goes back to its founding, is a testimony to that ef- fort. We are excited about the goal of making it a Cancer Center of excellence. Top-quality cancer care benefits our community in many, many ways and we are looking forward to supporting those ongoing efforts. Together we can beat cancer. Our number one priority is to make the Cancer Center a top five center. This needs to become the number one priority for our entire community. We have spent and are committed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on some venues and buildings, which are not in the same league of importance.”
Dr. Barrett recommends that people in the Tri-State take advantage of preventative and screening opportunities. “The first thing to look for is preventative opportunities,” he says. “Avoiding smoking, healthy diet, healthy lifestyle. Avoid obesity, eat fruits and vegetables that can be protective against cancer in general. Second is detection in an early treatable stage. Pap smears, mammography, colonoscopy and chest CT, PSA for prostate cancer can all help with early detection.”
To learn more about the world-class healthcare and clinical research the Barrett Center provides, visit www.uchealth.com/cancer. You can also learn about the Barrett Center’s fundraising and events.
Or, learn more about Western & Southern at www.westernsouthern.com or visit www.westernsouthern.com/ldp/corporatecitizenship.asp to learn about its corporate citizenship focus.