Boone Hospital Center announces partnership with Siteman Cancer Network

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COLUMBIA — Boone Hospital Center is the first hospital to join the new Siteman Cancer Network. Its goal is to increase cancer research while decreasing deaths due to the disease.

When Tanna Niemeier was 27 weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. 

"After figuring out that we had cancer, it's the scariest thing you're going to hear," Niemeier said. 

She was sent to the Siteman Center in St. Louis to figure out the best treatment plan. Niemeier said her doctors at Boone Hospital Center worked with the center, making the process less stressful for her.

"Meeting with doctors from both facilities, they made it very easy and calm and stress-free for me. I knew I was in good hands," she said. "I think it's great that they're collaborating as a team together to make the best choices for everybody."

The Siteman Center is creating a new network and Boone Hospital Center's Stewart Cancer Center is the first to be a part of it. The teams will work together to assess cancer's impact on mid-Missouri. 

"It's partnerships like this that will really help patients," said Timothy Eberlein, director of Siteman Cancer Center.

The president of Boone Hospital Center, Jim Sinek, said a huge part of the collaboration will include education for physicians, doctors, patients and the public. The network will help to promote cancer screenings, help reduce smoking rates and endorse healthy activities. 

Sinek said the collaboration will help bring research and knowledge to the team at Boone Hospital Center to adjust and continue cancer care locally.

Boone Hospital Center having patients participate in clinical trials that the Siteman Cancer Center will perform. Sinek said the network is hoping to also refine its care through genomic testing and counseling.

"We want to look more closely at what makes up a human being and use that information to identify and construct cancer care that's customized for them; a patient that has a different makeup than another patient," he said.  

Sinek said the Siteman Cancer Network has a vision of building partnerships across Missouri and potentially outside the state. He said the idea is to build the network so members can collectively work on cancer and try to extinguish cancer "in our lifetime".