Avera Cancer Institute History
Avera has been a cancer care leader for three decades:
- In 1982, the region’s first inpatient oncology unit opened in what was then McKennan Hospital.
- In 1986, this new and growing cancer program was the first in the state to be nationally recognized as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. Avera McKennan and the Avera Cancer Institute have held this important designation ever since. The most recent three-year accreditation in 2009 was received with commendation, with the highest score possible – a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5. Receiving care at a CoCaccredited cancer program ensures that a patient will have access to the full quality spectrum of comprehensive cancer care close to home.
- In 1990, McKennan opened the region’s first free-standing comprehensive cancer center, then known as the Dakota Midwest Cancer Institute, offering all cancer services in one location. It was renamed the Avera Cancer Institute in 1998.
- In 1996, Avera added the region’s only bone marrow transplant program, which is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy and the National Marrow Donor Program. This program makes the Avera Cancer Institute the most comprehensive cancer program in the region.
The Avera Cancer Institute in recent years has continued to break new ground in cancer care. This includes a growing emphasis on survivorship and holistic care. For example, the Avera Cancer Institute’s new Integrative Medicine program offers therapies which complement traditional medical treatment by relieving pain or nausea, promoting relaxation, and fostering a sense of well-being.
Avera physicians treat cancer with the latest techniques and technology, including robotic procedures for gynecologic and prostate cancers; ERCP (Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) for diagnosing certain tumors of the GI system; oncoplasty for breast cancer and bone marrow transplant for hematological cancers. Through Intra-operative Radiation Therapy (IORT) research, Avera physicians are pioneering innovation in breast cancer care.
The ACI has built comprehensive breast and GI programs, which include genetic counseling, navigators and weekly multidisciplinary conferences which review cancer cases to ensure each person is receiving the best care. This comprehensive approach to patient care is making a difference in patient lives.