SMH Regional Cancer Center Opens Comprehensive Cancer Care Clinic

Slidell Memorial Hospital Regional Cancer Center launched a new offering to patients in Slidell: the Comprehensive Cancer Care Clinic. Hospital officials held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at the clinic’s location on the third floor of the Cancer Center.

The 2,947-square-foot new Comprehensive Cancer Care Clinic is designed to allow collaboration among cancer experts while putting patients at ease in a boutique-style, healing environment. By bringing together each patient’s key physicians, including their medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and general surgeon, along with their nurse navigator, at the same appointment, the structure of this clinic program drastically shortens the amount of time between cancer diagnosis and treatment. What used to take six to eight weeks to go to various appointments at different locations may now be done in one day, and patients may begin treatment more quickly.

“The length of time between receiving a cancer diagnosis and beginning treatment is critical in the success of cancer cure, and this comprehensive program can cut this time significantly,” said Matthew McElveen, MD, medical oncologist and SMH Regional Cancer Center medical director. “That time has traditionally taken up to six to eight weeks. Now with the collaborative approach at the Comprehensive Cancer Care Clinic, patients may begin treatment in as few as ten days to two weeks after their diagnosis.”

The clinic’s design includes four hybrid exam/consultation rooms, allowing enough space for patients to bring their loved ones who may be part of their care teams at home. Appointments here are intended to last a few hours as the team works with patients to develop their care plan, so a nutritional area is built into the clinic to keep patients and their families comfortable. In addition, the SMH Foundation, through donations from community members and organizations, funded the clinic’s furnishings and other amenities, like cloth gowns.

“Our goal here is to provide a supportive and nurturing environment that aids in the healing process as we help patients navigate through the next steps of their cancer journey,” said SMH Chief Administrative Officer Holly Sanchez. “Each detail has been carefully selected for not only functionality, but also to make each appointment as easy as possible for those facing a difficult diagnosis.”

With breast cancer being the most prevalent cancer diagnosis in this area, the clinic is currently seeing patients through the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program. In 2021 community members in eastern St. Tammany Parish approved the Breast Cancer Program to allow patients to stay close to home for all of their cancer care and surgical needs. The clinic’s specialists plan to expand its offerings to include programs for additional cancer types, such as lung and colon cancers, in the near future.

Pictured at the Comprehensive Cancer Care Clinic Grand Opening are, from left to right, Ray Holmes Jr.; Edward Mannina Jr., MD; Claire Chitwood; Daniel Bourgeois III, MD; Ronald LeBlanc, MD; Matthew McElveen, MD; Sandy Badinger; Richard LeBlanc, MD; Lisa Reso; Holly Sanchez; Larry Englande; James Newcomb, MD; Kristen Stanley-Wallace; Walter “Dub” Lane, PhD.