Partners in cancer care

Partners in cancer care

UF Health and Orlando Health team to battle rising tide of cancer cases in Florida


According to recent studies by the National Cancer Institute, Florida now has the second-largest cancer burden in America, and cancer has surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death in the Sunshine State.

With cancer cases on the rise across the state, UF Health and Orlando Health have joined forces to establish one of the state’s largest, most comprehensive cancer programs. The UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health will expand care and treatment options for patients throughout the region.

“A need of this magnitude requires an innovative strategy for meeting this growing demand for cancer treatment and care,” said Orlando Health Board Chair Dianna Morgan. “By connecting some of the nation’s most experienced cancer doctors and leading cancer researchers, we can collaborate to provide the best possible care and the most favorable treatment outcomes for
cancer patients.”

The program officially begins Jan. 31, when Orlando Health’s affiliation agreement with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center expires.

Orlando patients will continue to receive their cancer care with the same Orlando Health physicians, oncologists, surgeons and staff they have come to know and trust. In addition, patients also will have more options for leading-edge treatment and expanded access to additional specialists, new drugs, clinical trials and other resources. The program also provides greater flexibility by offering care at community medical facilities closer to patients’ homes, whether in the Orlando or Gainesville areas.

“This is an important new step for cancer treatment in Florida,” said UF President Bernie Machen. “By connecting our university’s research and treatment expertise with the exceptional health care organization that is Orlando Health, we bolster our capacity to improve patient care and outcomes.”

Mark Roh, M.D., will be president of the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health. He is currently president of MD Anderson-Orlando.

One of the first new initiatives to launch at the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health will be personalized cancer care. With an anticipated introduction in the spring of 2014, Dr. Phillips Charities has committed $1.5 million to the program, which offers the most promising direction in cancer treatment. Personalized cancer care involves genetic exploration of tumors and appropriate chemotherapy treatments based on that analysis.

“Everything we do at UF Health is centered on our patients and our mission to improve quality of life. We are unwavering in our commitment to address the health needs of Floridians with the most compassionate, highest-quality care,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health. “This new relationship will create Florida’s leading program to respond to the state’s increasing demands for oncology clinical care
and research.”