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Vanderbilt-Ingram Named Blue Distinction Center

March 20, 2008

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has been selected as a Blue Distinction Center for complex and rare cancers by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, in collaboration with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

“BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is committed to identifying the highest medical value possible for our members,” said Ken Patric, vice president and chief medical officer. “That process begins by identifying the highest quality providers.

“We at BlueCross are pleased to recognize Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s excellence in this area.”

Blue Distinction is the Blue Cross and Blue Shield program to measurably improve the way health care is accessed and delivered. Cancer centers named to this program must offer comprehensive inpatient cancer care programs for adults, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise in treating complex and rare types of cancer.

“We are honored to receive this important and prestigious designation from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association,” said David H. Johnson, Cornelius Abernathy Craig Professor of Medical and Surgical Oncology and deputy director of VICC. “This award recognizes the commitment of our research scientists and clinicians to providing the most advanced care for cancer patients.”

C. Wright Pinson, associate vice-chancellor for clinical affairs and chief medical officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said he was proud of the recognition. “It affirms the excellence of the unusual aggregation of committed talent and resources at Vanderbilt-Ingram necessary to meet the needs of patients with these relatively uncommon but serious diseases.”

The types of rare or complex cancers covered by this designation and treated at Vanderbilt-Ingram include esophageal, pancreatic, liver, rectal, gastric, brain, bladder, thyroid, head and neck, soft tissue sarcomas, ocular melanoma, bone tumors and acute leukemia.

This group of malignancies comprises less than 15 percent of new cancer cases each year. With the exception of acute leukemia, patients with localized disease require complex surgical procedures performed by highly experienced surgical teams, with support from other specialists, to achieve optimal outcomes.

“Our team science approach enables patients with rare or complex malignancies to receive comprehensive care, based on the latest research and treatment methodologies available,” said Dan Beauchamp, M.D., J.C. Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery, chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences, and associate director for clinical/translational programs. “Patients with these types of cancer benefit when they are treated from the outset by medical professionals who have a great deal of experience treating difficult or unusual cases.”

VICC is a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 39 in the country and the only one in Tennessee to earn this distinction. Its nearly 300 faculty members generate more than $130 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 centers in the country in competitive grant support, and its clinical program sees approximately 4,000 new cancer patients each year. VICC recently joined with 21 of the world’s leading centers in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a non-profit alliance dedicated to improving cancer care for patients everywhere.

Note: Designation as Blue Distinction Centers means that these facilities’ overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians’ and leading medical societies’ recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. To find out which services are covered under your policy at these or any other facilities, please call your local Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield company (“Blue Plan”).


  1. do you treat mastatsis squamous cell neck cancer (unknown orgin)

    Comment by douglas holman — April 13, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  2. Yes, there are treatments for metastases of HNSCC. Treatment with curative intent is usually possible for neck lymphatic metastases with surgery followed by radiation if the patient has not had radiation or it has been some time since radiation. If the patient has had radiation, surgery alone can be tried.

    For distant metastases (lung, liver, etc.), palliative therapy is usually the recommended therapy since in this case, cure rates are very low.

    Comment by Heather Burchfield — April 20, 2011 @ 10:12 am

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