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Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center Earns National Recognition for Quality

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation to the cancer program at Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center.

This is the fourth time that Tunnell Cancer Center has gained the coveted Commendation designation as part of the three-year Certificate of Accreditation, though Tunnell Cancer Center has consistently received CoC accreditation.

To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet or exceed 34 CoC quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care. Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation is only awarded to a facility that exceeds standard requirements at the time of its triennial survey.

As a CoC-accredited cancer center, Tunnell Cancer Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care.

“We are extremely proud to have earned the Commission’s highest approval award,” said Cherrie Rich, RN, MSN, Executive Director of Oncology Services at Beebe Healthcare. “This is a tribute to all of those involved in the cancer program, including the medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and cancer center nurses and staff, as well as the pharmacists and all those in the laboratory, in dietary, in home health and community outreach, and those in our Tumor Registry who accurately report the data. This true team effort signifies our commitment to our patients and our community.”

Tunnell Cancer Center opened in November of 1995 at Beebe’s main campus in Lewes. Following more than a decade of growth, in 2006, the center moved into its present modern and spacious location at the Beebe Health Campus on John J. Williams Highway in Rehoboth Beach. Tunnell Cancer Center began in 1995 with two doctors and a handful of staff. Today, it is served by thirteen oncology specialist physicians and surgeons, two specialized nurse practitioners, one specialized physician assistant, and more than 90 clinicians and other experienced personnel, and visited by nearly 300 patients a day.

Tunnell Cancer Center provides progressive, compassionate and comprehensive care. It offers patients the latest in chemotherapy and radiation treatment, as well as screenings, education materials and dietary counseling, support groups and outreach programs. Its patients also have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials used to study the latest breakthroughs in cancer treatment through the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). Since 1995, 12,356 new diagnosed patients have received treatment at Tunnell Cancer Center.

The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for Tunnell Cancer Center to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care. When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling, and patient centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.
Like all CoC-accredited facilities, Tunnell Cancer Center maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society (ACS). This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care. CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.
Beebe Healthcare Breast Health program also is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Health Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. Beebe offers digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), also known as 3D mammography, as part of the Breast Health Program.
More information about Tunnell Cancer Center and about overall cancer care at Beebe can be found in the annual report on the Beebe Healthcare website at /patient-care-services/beebes-tunnell-cancer-center or by calling the center at (302) 645-3770.

There are more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico, representing 30 percent of all hospitals. CoC-accredited facilities diagnose and/or treat more than 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients. When cancer patients choose to seek care locally at a CoC-accredited cancer center, they are gaining access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home. The CoC provides the public with information on the resources, services, and cancer treatment experience for each CoC-accredited cancer program through the CoC Hospital Locator at

Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving patient outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons. For more information, visit:

Beebe Healthcare is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. It offers services throughout Southern Delaware for residents and visitors, including a 210-licensed-bed hospital, a cancer center, and outpatient facilities providing walk-in care, lab, imaging, and physical rehab services. For more information, please visit us online at