Wed. Dec 6th, 2023
Another step is being taken when it comes to comprehensive cancer care with the announcement that clinical research will soon be available here in the lake area.
Kathy Hirst, Director of Clinical Research at Lake Regional’s Cancer Center, says the research will really have a two-fold objective.
“Patients that participate in clinical research help us discover the effectiveness of new medical approaches and provide information that might help others in the future. And really, you know, research empowers patients to actively participate in their health and health care….when patients are given the chance to participate in it.”
Hirst also says that clinical research consists of observational and interventional treatments and, by offering the research here in the lake area, it will also mean not having to leave the area for most forms of cancer treatment.
The announcement of the clinical research being offered also gives a new meaning to National Cancer Survivors Day which, this year, is being observed on Sunday.
Lake Regional Health System is pleased to welcome Kathy Hirst as director of Clinical Research. Hirst will lead Lake Regional in launching a clinical research program. Her first focus will be connecting patients at Lake Regional Cancer Center with clinical trials.
“Kathy is a trusted researcher and leader,” said TJ Sweet, director of Lake Regional Cancer Center. “I’m very excited to have her join our team so we can keep improving the quality and depth of care that we provide to our community. Our work with clinical trials will help us find new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. With the addition of Kathy, we continue to advance our capabilities to be one of the best cancer centers in Missouri.”
Hirst said the development of this clinical research program reinforces the progressive reputation of Lake Regional Cancer Center.
“Oncology clinical trials have been instrumental to the increases in survival and quality of life of cancer patients,” she said. “This clinical research program has the capability of bringing new, innovative and potentially life-saving treatments directly to the community.”
In clinical trials, people volunteer to test drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioral treatments and other medical interventions. Many clinical trials explore whether a new treatment is more effective and/or has fewer side effects than the standard treatment. Other clinical trials test ways to find a disease early, sometimes before there are symptoms. Still others test ways to prevent a health problem.
Eventually, Lake Regional plans to expand its clinical research program from the Cancer Center to provide all Lake Regional patients with opportunities to participate in clinical research and trials.
“With clinical research opportunities being offered right within the heart of the community, local patients will spend less time traveling for these resources,” Hirst said. “We can give patients, including underrepresented patients, treatment options they may have never experienced before.”
Hirst comes to Lake Regional from the MU Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment in Columbia, Missouri. As a senior research specialist, she supervised and collaborated with a clinical research team to plan and execute research studies and clinical trials. She also coordinated with research entities, pharmaceutical companies, clinical research organizations and principal investigators to ensure that all study activities followed protocol.
Lake Regional Cancer Center offers state-of-the-art capabilities to find and treat cancer. The determined, compassionate care team offers deep expertise in many types of cancer, including bladder, breast, colon, lung, lymphoma and prostate cancers. Services include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, genetic testing, social work, nutrition counseling and palliative care.
To learn more, visit lakeregional.com/CancerCare.