Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is one of five centers in New York State, and only 90 nationwide, to be designated a Blue Distinction® Center for Complex and Rare Cancers by the BlueCross BlueShield Association (BCBSA).

The designation is the result of a strategic collaboration among BCBSA, BlueCross BlueShield of WNY and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), of which RPCI is a founding member.

The program focuses on providing information to patients who have complex, aggressive or rare cancers to help support their decision making. Complex and rare cancers comprise approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases each year, and it is often difficult for patients to locate or research facilities with oncology teams experienced in treating these specific types of cancers.

Roswell Park has met or exceeded the following criteria required to be designated a Blue Distinction® Center:

  • Offering cancer care using a multidisciplinary team approach, including subspecialty-trained teams for complex and rare cancers with demonstrated depth of expertise across cancer disciplines in medicine, surgery, radiation oncology, pathology and radiology
  • Having sufficient volume of experience in treating rare and complex cancers
  • Providing ongoing quality management and improvement programs for cancer care
  • Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to using clinical data registries and providing access to appropriate clinical research for complex and rare cancers.

“While there is nothing we would like more than for research, diagnosis and treatment of cancer to become obsolete, as long as cancer continues to be a part of life, having Roswell Park Cancer Institute available to the people of Western New York and the world is critical to our health and well-being,” said Alphonso O’Neil-White, president & CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “For our Blue members and everyone who needs to find specialized care for the very specific range of cancers identified as ‘rare and complex,’ Roswell Park’s designation lets them know that they will receive the very best care available.”

“As a Blue Distinction® Center, Roswell Park is participating in an exciting new paradigm designed to provide vital information to patients as they make decisions about their cancer care,” said Stephen B. Edge, MD, former Chair, Department of Breast Surgery at Roswell Park, and an expert advisor to the NCCN initiative. “The bottom line is that patients benefit when cancer centers, insurers and institutions such as NCCN work regionally and nationally to define, measure and deliver the very best quality care.”