Cancer patients in Anne Arundel County do not need to travel far to receive life-changing care. Nine doctors, who have trained at some of the best medical facilities in the world, have opened an independent practice called Maryland Oncology Hematology in the Annapolis area to provide compassionate, affordable cancer care to patients in their own community.
“The quality of the physician makes the engine go here,” said Dr. Ravin Garg, who completed his hematology and oncology fellowship at world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. “Physicians demand excellence and want the best and brightest in their group, they want the best for patients, and they will collaborate with the best doctors on a patient’s care — that’s the benefit of being physician-owned.”
It’s important for patients to know that they have the freedom to choose their oncology doctor.
“Where you start your journey matters, because if you have a misstep along the way, your care could be compromised,” Garg said. “I think it’s very important from the beginning that you’re with a team of doctors who are providing the best cutting-edge care and is going to put you in the right hands, whether it be for surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or immune therapy.”
The doctors at Maryland Oncology Hematology come from some of the world’s best schools, including Johns Hopkins; the University of Maryland Greenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center; and in Garg’s case, the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“It’s rare for one community practice to have so many specialized doctors,” explained Dr. Ben Bridges, whose specialties include gastrointestinal and lung cancers.
“In the majority of community oncology practices, the physicians in those practices are seeing whatever walks through the door,” Bridges said. “They don’t necessarily have the opportunity to develop any sort of special clinical interest or expertise. At Maryland Oncology Hematology, we are fortunate that each physician has a developed area of expertise.”
Between the nine doctors at Maryland Oncology Hematology, almost all cancers can be treated by physicians who are experts in that specific disease.
“Dr. [Carol] Tweed is really a nationally known breast cancer specialist. Her level of knowledge and research in breast cancer is almost unbelievable to get in a community setting,” Garg said. “Dr. Bridges and Dr. [Adam] Goldrich are phenomenal lung cancer physicians. Dr. [Jason] Taksey is one of the best genitourinary physicians I have ever met. Those are doctors who deal with things like testicular cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer. He was at Johns Hopkins for a long time, teaching and seeing patients there, so he’s been providing the best of care. Dr. [Jeanine] Werner does a lot of gynecologic malignancies, so ovarian, uterine, cervical – and she’s a top breast cancer specialist too. Dr. Weng is incredibly well-trained and he is an expert in any solid tumor type along with hematologic malignancies (lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma). Doctors [Peter] Graze and [Stuart] Selonick are some of the best clinicians I have ever met and both have an expertise in a variety of malignancies including head/neck cancer, lung cancers, brain tumors, and hematologic cancers.”
Because the nine doctors run their own practice, they now have the freedom to work with colleagues from other institutions, giving patients the best care. For example, they are part of several tumor boards, which have representation from many academic institutions in the area. These are meetings of physicians involved in the multidisciplinary care of a patient.
“In addition to presenting cases amongst ourselves, we are getting input in real time from other nationally known experts so we can tell patients, ‘These were the people who were there and these are our overall recommendations,” Bridges said. “That allows us the freedom to make sure, if a patient needs input from outside the local community, we are able to get it but still provide all the care in the community.”
Patients can also get most of their care from one place. Maryland Oncology Hematology also has a comfortable and modern outpatient infusion center.
“We have every type of infusion imaginable: chemotherapy, immune therapy, targeted types of treatments,” Garg said. “Patients like to know it’s a one-stop shop where they can get their labs and infusions. It’s all under one roof.”
Maryland Oncology Hematology now offers inpatient care at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC). By accepting BWMC hospital privileges, patients receive outstanding care, now with greater access for patients to the full inpatient resources of one of the country’s leading academic medical centers: the University of Maryland network.
Maryland Oncology Hematology will soon open an additional office in a thriving community in northern Anne Arundel County, so Severna Park residents won’t have to fight traffic on the Severn River Bridge.
The Maryland Oncology Hematology staff has also been active in the community by supporting the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and Wellness House of Annapolis.
“Wellness House has provided wonderful services for over 14 years to oncology patients, whether its massage, group talks or weekly lectures,” Garg said. “It’s a peaceful environment for cancer patients, during treatment or after treatment, free of charge.”
The physicians at Maryland Oncology Hematology are committed to helping patients and their families through their cancer journeys while creating special connections in the process. They have forged friendships with patients by bonding over common interests like sports, family activities, movies, hiking and other hobbies.
“This is not something, hopefully, that anybody goes through alone,” Bridges said. “For a lot of patients and families, this is the most difficult time in their life, and developing that long-term connection with these patients is extremely rewarding.”
Maryland Oncology Hematology is located at 810 Bestgate Road, Suite 400, in Annapolis and will soon open another location in northern Anne Arundel County. For more information, call 410-897-6200 or visit www.marylandoncology.com.