New University of Maryland cancer center opens in Prince George’s County

A state-of-the-art healthcare facility, the Center for Advanced Medicine, has opened its doors in Prince George’s County.

The 100,000-square-foot facility houses cancer treatment services and “offers a comprehensive and centralized approach by the University of Maryland Medical System toward cancer care in Prince George’s County,” said Dr. Magesh Sundaram, director of surgical oncology and medical director of the center.

Patients have access to medical cancer services, including medical oncology and radiation oncology, as well as surgical specialists for consultations, said Sundaram, who is also an associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Sundaran sat down with WTOP for its 2024 Get on Top of Your Health series to talk about what patients can expect from the center, located off I-95 and the Capital Beltway, and accessible on the Blue and Silver Metro lines at the Largo Town Center Station.

Goal: Save lives through early detection, personalized care

“Finding cancer in its early stages means less of a focus on intensive cancer treatments and earlier return to work and a good quality of life,” Sundaram said. “That’s why prevention and screening is really an important part of our mission.”

There are certain types of cancers that affect minorities disproportionally and can be linked to socioeconomic factors, smoking and obesity, he said. “These are some factors in the community that we will track toward cancer prevalence.”

Personalized cancer care is the standard at the Center for Advanced Medicine, Sundaram said. That means knowing more about each individual patient and ordering the appropriate tests. It begins with a nurse navigator.

“If you think about going to a really top-notch hotel and you have a concierge who helps guide you through all of the different services and amenities, it’s the same thing for a cancer program,” he said.

Nurse navigators help patients identify appointments they need to go to, specialists they need to see and X-ray imaging they need done as well.

Navigators will serve as a constant line of communication so that medical providers establish confidence and trust with each patient, Sundaram said.

Connecting patients to specialists and additional screenings

The new cancer center is also able assist patients who have advanced or rare types of cancer.

“We have a great partnership with the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center in downtown Baltimore, where we can offer more specialized cancer treatments such as immunologic treatments and biologic treatments that perhaps are not available at the cancer center in Prince George County. That also allows for access to a portfolio of clinical trials,” Sundaram said.

In addition, if it’s determined that a patient needs additional screenings, they have access to many types of health care services available at the adjacent UM Capital Region Medical Center and through a comprehensive medical network as part of the University of Maryland Medical System.

“We have cardiology, interventional pulmonology and gastroenterology specialists in the building, so those types of specialists would be available for consultations,” Sundaram said. “If the cancer team says that the patient would need specialized X-ray treatments to further investigate to stage their cancer, we have a great partnership with radiology. We have all the state-of-the-art radiology techniques and imaging available to help define the cancer problem for the patient.”

Helping patients navigate life during and after cancer treatment

Quality of life concerns during cancer treatment are important. The goal is to help patients feel good about themselves and know that their bodies are functioning and recovering from the cancer.

“We have an emphasis on recognizing each patient’s needs and beliefs. We have social workers, but also psychosocial support, for cancer patients going through depression or anxiety. And then we also have occupational therapy, rehabilitation medicine and speech medicine,” Sundaram added.

The center also has a survivorship program that begins once treatment has concluded. It involves long-term follow-ups and surveillance to reduce cancer risk factors. The program also addresses smoking cessation, weight management and nutritional care, he said.

Listening to and serving the community

The citizens of Prince George’s County expressed the need for high-quality cancer care in the community, and our expert team of providers and specialists will be paying attention to meeting those needs, Sundaram said.

“Our main focus is to listen to the community, provide the care that they asked for, be receptive to feedback and learn how we can do a better job. It’s a very integrative cancer program that wants to deliver a high quality of services to the citizens of Prince George’s County.”

Learn more about the new cancer center now. And discover additional tips and tactics to get on top of your health on WTOP.

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