Kennewick doctor named as cancer liaison

KENNEWICK -- Dr. Jose Ness of Kennewick received a three-year appointment as cancer liaison physician for the cancer program at Kennewick General Hospital.

Cancer liaison physicians are an integral part of cancer programs accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, a news release said.

Ness is part of a national network of more than 1,600 volunteer physicians who are responsible for being leaders to establish, maintain and support their facilities cancer program.

Ness joined the staff at KGH in August when the hospital's new oncology program opened.

As a cancer liaison physician, Ness is responsible for spearheading initiatives within the KGH oncology program, collaborating with agencies such as the American Cancer Society and facilitating quality improvement initiatives using data submitted to the Commission on Cancer's National Cancer Database.

The commission collects data from its accredited cancer programs and provides tools back to these facilities to better analyze patterns of diagnosis, treatment and quality of care.

The database currently contains patient demographics, tumor characteristics, treatment, and outcomes information for more than 25 million malignant cancers diagnosed and treated at hospital-cancer programs in the United States between 1985 and 2007.

The commission is a consortium of 47 professional organizations dedicated to improving the survival and quality of life for cancer patients.

There are more than 1,400 accredited cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico, and about 70 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients are treated in these institutions.