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St. Vincent partners with University of Colorado to expand cancer care

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Posted at 5:35 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 11:08:20-04

BILLINGS — On Friday, St. Vincent Healthcare will be holding a huge fundraiser to benefit women’s health. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as the hospital has just announced a new partnership that officials hope will revolutionize cancer care for women in our region.

Chances are you know a family member or a friend battling cancer in Montana, and a growing number of cancer patients are women.

“The instance of cervical cancer keeps going up. The instance of ovarian cancer is increasing and as the population ages, we see a higher instance of cancer in those women,” said Dr. Patrick Cobb, the medical director of St. Vincent Healthcare’s Cancer Center of Montana.

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That’s why the hospital’s new partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine could not have come at a better time. Up until now, gynecologic oncology care has been hard to find in the state. A gynecologic oncologist is a specialist who performs surgical procedures on cancer patients.

“In the past, we’ve had to send them to other centers, to other places out of town. And sometimes we lose contact with those women,” Cobb said.

Now, a gynecologic oncologist from the University of Colorado will become a permanent fixture on St. Vincent Healthcare’s staff, eliminating the need to send patients out of the area.

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“Knowing that we can follow that pathway and get them the care they need as soon as possible also translates to better outcomes,” said St. Vincent Healthcare internal medicine physician Dr. Erica Bruen.

Early detection and early treatment are integral when treating cancer patients and the partnership has already been put to use.

“Have early detection, have a good relationship with your daughter. And then now that we can streamline that referral process in our community even better, we are able to give women the best treatment that they deserve,” Bruen said.

The 43rd annual Saints benefit will be held at Camelot Ranch on Friday, Aug. 5. Event proceeds will support St. Vincent Healthcare's Women's Health Services.

If you would like to support this year’s SAINTS Benefit by being a sponsor and/or making a challenge auction donation, please visit svh.org/saints to donate online.

Additional ways to give include texting SAINTS to 32037 or calling 406-237-3640.

Related: St. Vincent Healthcare to hold Billings fundraiser for women's healthcare