Centers of Excellence

Roswell Park is a leader in delivering the latest and most promising therapies. The Institute is focused only on the care of cancer patients and offers several Centers of Excellence to coordinate patient care. Some of these areas include:

Cancer-Focused Pathology Services – The Pathologists at RPCI are highly skilled in the diagnosis and staging of the disease. Members of the pathology team meet daily to discuss cases of special concern, including second opinions.

Cancer Pain Management – Patients facing cancer may be especially worried about experiencing pain. Drawing on the expertise of anesthesiologists and other physicians, psychologists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists and social workers, Roswell Park’s Cancer Pain Management Service team designs an individualized pain management plan for each patient.

Isolated Limb Perfusion and Isolated Limb Infusion – These specialized treatments are used for melanoma, merkel cell carcinoma and locally advanced, unresectable soft tissue sarcomas of the extremeties. These isolated regional therapies such as ILP or ILI have the potential to provide long-term tumor control.

Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery – The number of patients treated at RPCI with minimally invasive surgical procedures has tripled in recent years. On average, patients who undergo MIS can return to non-strenuous activity 2-3 weeks after surgery, compared with 6-8 weeks for those who undergo conventional open surgery. The procedure results in less pain and blood loss than conventional surgery, and prostate and bladder patients regain urinary control faster. RPCI’s Minimally Invasive Surgical Center, opened in 2005, features the most advanced technology for MIS surgery. One MIS suite is equipped with the da Vinci Surgical Robotic System®, which imitates surgical movements orchestrated by the surgeon from a control module. Robotic surgery can be performed with greater precision than traditional surgery because the slender “arms” of the surgical robot can maneuver more easily in close spaces such as the pelvis. RPCI offers minimally invasive lobectomy and esophagectomy; laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication, partial hepatectomy, distal pancreatectomy, nephrectomy and partial nephrectomy; and robotic prostatectomy and cystectomy.

Radiation Oncologic Services

  • Image-Guided Radiation Therapy – Roswell Park is the only institution in Western New York equipped with Trilogy, a multi-modal, Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) system that can deliver 3D conformal radiation therapy, IMRT, stereotactic radiosurgery, fractionated stereotactic radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiosurgery. Capable of delivering radiation over 60% faster than conventional linear accelerators, it is extremely precise and can pinpoint an area with a diameter as small as one millimeter. This dramatically reduces side effects by blocking the exposure of healthy tissue on the tumor periphery, and makes it possible to deliver much higher doses of radiation to the tumor. In some cases, IGRT can eliminate the need for surgery or sufficiently shrink inoperable tumors so that surgery becomes possible. It may also offer the potential of a cure for some patients whose treatment would otherwise be palliative only.
  • Superior Imaging – Quality imaging enables the medical team to develop the best treatment plan and helps the surgeon map the most direct and effective route for removing the tumor. RPCI’s highly skilled radiologists provide images of unparalleled clarity. Advanced technology enables them to display the skeletal, muscular, vascular and organ systems as discrete images. This capability provides finer precision of measurement, and alerts the surgeon to potential complications that may be encountered during surgery, so planning can be done ahead of time.
  • PET – RPCI is equipped with a combined Positron Emission Tomography (PET)/Computed Tomography (CT) scanner. The PET system is currently used to give a total-body overview of glucose (sugar) metabolism, which can reveal metabolic changes of cancer before anatomic abnormalities can be detected with conventional imaging tools such as stand-alone CT and ultrasound. Special software is used to fuse PET images with CT scans, providing a union that is both functional and anatomic. PET scans can differentiate malignant from benign tissue. They can also grade tumors, define distant metastases, and assist in treatment selection and evaluation. Finally, they can lead to early detection of recurrence, and timely implementation of salvage therapy.

Balloon Kyphoplasty – Roswell Park offers balloon kyphoplasty for the repair of spinal compression fractures, which often occur in cancer patients, either as a direct result of the disease or as a consequence of radiation treatments or long-term steroid use. The procedure provides significant relief from severe and intractable pain while simultaneously correcting spinal curvature.

Comprehensive Genetic Consults – RPCI’s Clinical Genetics Service provides genetic consultation and risk assessment for individuals or families who wish to learn more about their personal risk for certain types of cancer. This includes evaluation for inherited/familial cancer syndromes, as well as genetic testing and/or DNA banking for future clinical use. While the genetics services of most cancer centers are disease-specific, RPCI takes a broader perspective, looking for familial patterns that may indicate hereditary susceptibility for a range of cancers. In some cases, patients with one type of cancer have discovered that they and their blood relatives actually are at higher-than-average risk for other types of cancer. This knowledge is important for making recommendations for the types of cancer screening that should be done and when screening should begin.]

Supportive Care – A diagnosis of cancer affects both patient and family. Along with worries about the patient’s health come concerns about finances, the day-to-day running of the household and the logistical problems of making travel arrangements for patients from out of town. RPCI’s Social Work and Case Management Program helps relieve some of the stress through direct assistance or referrals to agencies that can provide support. RPCI also provides a network of support services to address the psychological and spiritual needs of the patient and family. These include counseling and pastoral care, support groups, programs to improve the patient’s quality of life, resources to address the family’s financial concerns and assistance to help patients deal effectively with medical treatment.