Transformation & Growth
The Year in Review
From the Upstate to the Lowcountry and beyond, our mission created a local, regional, national, and global impact in 2019.
The term “cancer exceptionalism” describes the tendency for a person with a cancer diagnosis to focus only on that. Cancer exceptionalism may set patients up for poorer outcomes because their primary health needs get neglected.
No one knows that better than Tucker Price, M.D., Ph.D., who is part of an innovative new program from MUSC Health that provides in-house primary care services to patients at the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center.
“Only a few cancer centers in the country offer similar programs,” she says. “I am excited to be a part of starting this clinic to expand the number of services available to our patients and to make Hollings Cancer Center more of a comprehensive medical home.” Price, who says many cancer patients don’t have a primary care doctor, explains that this “one-stop shop” concept can help stream-line their care and limit the number of visits they need to make. It also helps to catch those with chronic medical issues who may be falling through the cracks.
Cancer patients and survivors have specific care needs. “They often have nuanced care needs, depending on their diagnoses and treatments, which a cancer center has specialized resources to offer patients and for which primary care has an important role,” Price says. “Certainly, it’s important to manage any medical issues that they have going into cancer diagnoses and treatments to give them their best opportunity to do well.”
As a physician as well as a researcher with a background in oncology, Price has special insights into serving the needs of cancer patients. “There are a number of issues that we can help patients manage. Anxiety, depression and insomnia, among other things, are common in cancer survivors. Deconditioning is common after undergoing certain cancer treatments for which individuals may benefit from physical therapy or additional home resources.” She also wants to support patients as they transition to life after cancer treatments have ended. “Helping cancer survivors get referred to appropriate support services, including psychological support services, nutritional support and palliative care, is also incredibly important.”
Part of Price’s role gives her easy access to oncologists and other specialists at Hollings so she can help to coordinate care among multiple specialists to tailor care.
“If you’re a patient seen at the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, we want to be able to support you in as many ways as possible, and primary care is an important aspect of that. We want to help make primary care as easy as possible for you to access for any needs that you might have during this challenging part of your life.”