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St. Joseph’s Hospital Cancer Institute Treating Cancer Patients for 30 Years

TAMPA, Fla. (June 26, 2013) – This summer, St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the start of its complete cancer program, St. Joseph's Cancer Institute.  St. Joseph's Hospital has been treating cancer patients since its inception nearly 80 years ago and became an American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer approved multidisciplinary cancer program in 1981.

“St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute would not be the program it is today if not for its founders, former St. Joseph’s Hospital Administrator Sister Marie Celeste Sullivan and Jenö Szakacs, M.D., chairman of the pathology department, who helped pioneer the cancer program at St. Joseph’s Hospital,” said Carl Brannan, M.D., a former surgeon and former cancer liaison physician at St .Joseph’ s Hospital for the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

“We set out 30 years ago to provide the best care possible for adult and pediatric cancer patients, with the Fred J. Woods Radiation Therapy Center under the direction of Radiation Therapist Ralph Jensen, M.D., a special oncology unit, a tumor registry, an ostomy project and other support services for patients and their families,” said Brannan, who also served as the first chairman of St. Joseph’s Cancer Committee from 1971-1988. 

The American College of Surgeons approved the cancer program in January 1981 (for the period 1980-83), even though St. Joseph’s had already established its tumor registry, a key component to the cancer program, in 1970, and opened its radiation therapy center in 1968. 

Although much has changed in the last 30 years, there are still many familiar faces around St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute.

Joseph G. Sinkovics, M.D., an oncologist, joined St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1981 and was named the first medical director of St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute in 1983.  He still works at the hospital as the Cancer Institute’s senior medical and scientific advisor.  A handful of oncology nurses from the early 1980s who were the Cancer Institute’s first team members are still caring for oncology patients.

In 1986, Dr. Carl Brannan’s son, Anthony Brannan, M.D., joined his father in surgical practice at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  He then took over his father’s position as the cancer liaison physician for the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer when his father retired two years later.  He too, became the chairman of St. Joseph’s Cancer Committee, a position he still holds today.

Cancer services continued to grow with the opening of St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Hematology and Oncology Department in 1990.  Hardeao Panchoosingh, M.D. now leads the pediatric program as it continues to grow and treat Tampa Bay area children.

“As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute, we again want to express appreciation for the enthusiasm and generosity of the many loyal cancer professionals who care for our cancer patients and who make the successes of the St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute possible,” said Brannan.  “With their leadership and support, we are confident in our ability to fulfill our mission and set the standard for high-quality, compassionate cancer services in our community.”

Today, St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute treats more cancer patients in Hillsborough  County than any other facility. It serves as a community resource dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through collaborative efforts in prevention, testing and diagnosis, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care. Board-certified surgeons, oncologists and radiologists at the Cancer Institute specialize in diagnosing colorectal cancer, breast cancer, pediatric cancer and blood diseases, gynecological and ovarian cancers, lung cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and other types of cancer.

The Cancer Institute functions within St. Joseph’s Hospitals (St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital–North) and within its affiliated independent physician offices/practices.

In addition to providing the best possible care to every patient, St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute partners with several organizations to maintain state-of-the-art performance.

St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute continues to partner with the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to a common cause: improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care.  The hospital also monitors quality standards, benchmark performance and improved survival rates through the Commission on Cancer’s accreditation process and National Cancer Data Base (NCDB).

St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute maintains a relationship with many community and national organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, CancerCare, FORCE, Ovacome and Chapters Palliative Care to promote and support prevention, screening, early detection, staging and treatment, rehabilitation, survivorship and a wide variety of complementary services. In 2012, the Cancer Institute expanded services to St. Joseph’s newest location, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North, bringing infusion therapy to the Lutz community.

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