Leading the Way in Cancer Care
When Richard Conklin, MD, envisioned what a new cancer center would look like in Aberdeen, he wanted one-stop access for his patients who often had multiple specialists to see and frequent treatments.
Conklin, who has been practicing oncology in Aberdeen for 27 years, is the area’s leader in oncology care. His practice is located in the newly expanded Avera Cancer Institute facility, located on the southeast wing of Avera St. Luke’s Hospital.
Here’s what he has to say about why Avera Cancer Institute in Aberdeen is a leader in cancer care.
A Space for Patients
The Avera Cancer Institute in the Don and Carmen Meyer Center of Excellence recently opened with 27,500 square feet for patient care.
- Chemotherapy, featuring 24 infusion stations
- Radiation therapy offering enhanced imaging and precise beams of radiation to destroy cancer cells
- Outpatient infusion services
- In-house pharmacy
- Screening programs
- Nutritional counseling
- Social work
- Chaplain services
- Patient navigation
- Gene-directed therapies
- In-house psychology services
“The facility that I dreamed for patients was one that had a lot of the services under one roof – things like physical therapy, nutrition counseling, social work, palliative care. And we did it. We created a center that has these services to treat people for everything — not just chemotherapy and immunotherapies and targeted therapies — because there are many more aspects to comprehensive cancer care,” Conklin said.
Innovation in Genomic Medicine
Avera Cancer Institute in Aberdeen participates in research and clinical trials through the National Cancer Institute. Avera Cancer Institute in Aberdeen is also a member of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.
Aberdeen patients have access to world-renowned genomic medicine expert Brian Leyland-Jones, MB BS, PhD. His research uses genomic testing to better pinpoint which treatments will work best for a patient’s specific type of cancer, a breakthrough that is revolutionizing cancer care.
“Brian Leyland-Jones is at the top of the field in genetics and we have him on the Avera team working with each of the oncologists to help us with more advanced therapies. Only a small percent of cancer centers in the country even have that capability,” Conklin said.
Collaboration Creates Better Care
Avera’s integrated cancer team of oncologists work together across the Avera system. The team frequently collaborates on cases and has developed standard protocols of care to be used at every location.
“We’ve become a team, and with this team we have standardized our care across the network and frequently collaborate,” Conklin said. “Our goal in everything we do is to provide patients a high quality of care and give them access to the highest level of care available.”