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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the relationship between HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Network® mean?
HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is becoming a certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center.  HSHS St. Anthony’s will be launching our affiliation in March 2018. HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital will also be launching an affiliation in early summer. The overall name of the HSHS Southern Illinois Division (SID) service line will be “HSHS Integrated Cancer Services” with the identifying location (i.e. HSHS Integrated Cancer Services at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital). This branding strategy allows the consumer to recognize this quality cancer service regardless of location, whether in Effingham, O’Fallon, or other locations in the SID.

What is MD Anderson Cancer Network?
MD Anderson Cancer Network is a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Located in Houston and founded in 1941, it is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer care, research, education, and prevention. The institution is one of the nation's original three comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Act of 1971. MD Anderson Cancer Center is recognized as one of the nation’s best cancer hospitals, ranking as one of the top two cancer centers since the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” survey began 25 years ago. The network was created to extend access to MD Anderson’s subspecialized expertise, patient treatment protocols, research and multidisciplinary care and advance the mission to end cancer through collaborations.

What does this mean for HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital?
The affiliation with the network allows HSHS St. Anthony’s to continue its 140-year tradition of meeting health care needs in the area.  By identifying gaps in health care and bringing subspecialized expertise to the local community to meet those needs, together we are able to deliver a new level of cancer care.

What does this mean for St. Anthony’s Cancer Program?
This affiliation builds on St. Anthony’s successes with its accredited Cancer Program, encompassing its Cancer Conferences and Cancer Committee comprised of hospital staff and area physicians committed to providing advanced cancer care locally to keep patients close to home.  These successes have been shaped by our partnership with the oncologists of Crossroads Cancer Center and our Medical Director of Cancer Care and Women’s Wellness Services, Ruben Boyajian, MD. One such example of providing advanced cancer care services locally was the recent launch of St. Anthony’s Oncology Wellness Program through the Physical Rehabilitation and Wellness department.  Oncology Wellness can help improve quality of care and quality of life for those undergoing cancer treatments, from initial cancer diagnosis, through all stages of treatment, and after treatment is completed, to help improve physical function, activity level, and fatigue.

This affiliation provides more clinical options to local physicians, giving them access to the physicians of MD Anderson.  MD Anderson Cancer Center’s evidence-based clinical guidelines and best practices are now St. Anthony’s Cancer Program’s practices, and the team has access to:

•    Routine video conferences with MD Anderson subspecialists.
•    Participation in MD Anderson's tumor boards by certified physicians of St. Anthony’s Cancer Program.
•    Consultative peer-to-peer second opinions.
•    Expanded educational opportunities.
•    Collaborative opportunities with other certified members of MD Anderson Cancer Network.
•    Expanded access to select clinical trials here at home.

What does this mean for local patients?
St. Anthony’s is affiliating with the network to continue advancing cancer care locally, keeping patients close to home and close to family.  This affiliation builds on the work and clinical advancements of our area cancer care experts, and connects them with nationally-known leaders in cancer care.

As a certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network, St. Anthony’s is utilizing MD Anderson’s renowned clinical standards and expertise to elevate the quality of care for patients in the region. Joining forces with the network will allow HSHS Integrated Cancer Services to offer patients access to the latest in evidence-based care from one of the leading cancer centers in the U.S. We know that occasionally a patient may wish to seek another opinion. Through HSHS Integrated Cancer Services, we can now provide patients access to the most advanced treatment protocols for their particular cancer condition and, when possible, still allow them to remain close to home and their family. In the future, patients can benefit from HSHS Integrated Cancer Services’ access to select MD Anderson clinical trials.

Why is MD Anderson Cancer Network offering HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital an affiliation?
MD Anderson’s 76-year-old mission is to eliminate cancer not only in Texas, but across the nation and the world. To fulfill their mission, they saw the opportunity to bring a new level of cancer care to other parts of the country through relationships with like-minded  community healthcare providers. Currently, St. Anthony’s is the 18th certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network.

What is required to become affiliated with MD Anderson Cancer Network?
Being a certified member means HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital has met the rigorous standards, set by MD Anderson Cancer Network, that involve treating patients according to evidence-based medicine. Eventually opportunities will be provided for patients to participate in select MD Anderson clinical trials, in addition to clinical trials offered locally. St. Anthony’s underwent clinical practice reviews and rigorous on-site and off-site evaluations of our surgery, diagnostic imaging, and IV Therapy services, pharmacy and the medical oncology and radiation oncology programs at Crossroads Cancer Center. MD Anderson Physician Network® selects only hospitals that are successful in meeting their rigorous qualification criteria. For additional information about MD Anderson Cancer Network, visit

How did this affiliation come about?
The HSHS Southern Illinois Division (SID) hospitals wanted an affiliation with an established and proven National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center to enhance the ability to provide state-of-the-art cancer care to patients with greater emphasis on quality and safety. The HSHS SID ministries also wanted to provide patients with access to subspecialty expertise, more clinical trials, and more individualized choice of treatment. MD Anderson was impressed by the progressive medical community in the Southern Illinois Division which helped lead to their interest in pursuing an affiliation with the HSHS Southern Illinois Division. With compatible missions and a history of providing high-quality care, the affiliation between MD Anderson Cancer Network and HSHS SID was a great fit.

Does this mean patients will be transferred to Texas for care or teleconferenced into MD Anderson cancer specialists?
No. This affiliation does not mean that patients will have to be transferred to Texas for treatment. Local certified physicians provide oncology services and can confer with colleagues at MD Anderson. In rare cases, patients may be referred to an MD Anderson physician in Houston for further treatment.

Isn't St. Anthony’s Cancer Program providing best practices and evidence-based medicine now?
Yes, St. Anthony’s Cancer Program and the physicians associated with it have been growing and progressing for years, receiving national accreditations. This affiliation builds on their successes and allows our area cancer care experts to collaborate with their experts to share the latest in research, and practice guidelines.

Are all Cancer Care Center physicians certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network?
A number of physicians on St. Anthony’s Medical Staff are now certified physicians of the network and others are in the process of becoming certified. While not all cancer specialists associated with St. Anthony’s will be certified, the priority is to connect patients with the most appropriate specialists for their type and stage of cancer. Patients can be referred to these specialists by talking with their doctor or by contacting HSHS Integrated Cancer Services at HSHS St. Anthony’s at (217) 347-1601.