Recognized for its excellence in treatment and health care for various forms of adult cancer, the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center received the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ Blue Distinction earlier this month. DHMC is one of three medical treatment facilities to win the award in the Complex and Rare Cancers category, a field recognized by the award for the first time this year.
The Norris Cotton Cancer Center was honored for its “comprehensive inpatient cancer care programs delivered by multidisciplinary teams with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise in treating complex and rare types of cancer,” as well as its “major surgical treatments for bladder cancer, bone tumors, brain tumors, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, head and neck cancers, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer and soft tissue sarcomas,” according to The Blue Distinction for Complex and Rare Cancer’s website.
The Norris Cotton Cancer Center is the only comprehensive cancer center recognized in New Hampshire by the National Cancer Institute. The center also has satellite locations in Manchester, N.H., St. Johnsbury, Vt., and Nashua, N.H, and has partnerships with community hospitals in Vermont and New Hampshire. It is one of the only cancer centers in the nation that is located in a rural area, according to the Institute’s website.
Although this is the first year that Complex and Rare Cancers has been included in the award categories, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies also awards Blue Distinctions in cardiac care, bariatric surgery and other medical fields.
The Norris Cotton Cancer Center was founded in 1970 when former Sen. Norris Cotton, R-N.H., the Center’s namesake, secured a $3 million grant for a regional cancer center. The facility provides care for approximately 20,000 New England residents, and treats 2,800 new patients every year, according to the Center’s website.
The Center employs more than 200 specialists in various areas of treatment, as well as 135 researchers currently undergoing 290 active research projects that are attempting to detect, treat and prevent different forms of cancer.
The facilities also boasts 11 oncology programs and offers access to clinical trials initiated by the Center, National Multi-Centers and pharmaceutical corporations, according to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center website.
According to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s website, criteria for the award include “multidisciplinary treatment teams and surgical case volumes for key complex oncological procedures … ongoing commitment to quality improvement programs, including use of clinical data registries and providing access to clinical trials,” as well as “aggregate clinical information, including aggregate results of selected clinical process and outcome measures.”