As a nationally recognized specialist in cancer treatment, Dr. Frank Wilson is known by his peers for his keen clinical skills and a compassionate approach to patient care.
In his role as chairman and professor of radiation oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Wilson has championed an interdisciplinary model for cancer care that he hopes will become the standard for excellence. As part of that effort, he was the driving force behind the development of a new medical facility that is designed to bring an optimal healing environment and make cancer care more coordinated.
As part of his vision, the Froedtert and Medical College Clinical Cancer Center was dedicated on May 19. The new cancer center brings all cancer care specialists for each specific type of cancer together in one location, with physicians, nurses and support staff concentrated in a hub around the patient, providing a high level of care and coordination of treatment. An experienced cancer nurse coordinator and a journey coordinator for each type of cancer make the process smoother for each patient, serving as a single point of contact and guiding the way to every needed resource.
“For each type of cancer, there is a go-to place for the patient that is afflicted – the services they need surround them in that environment,” says Wilson, 67. “This is different than having the patient go from office to office, and hospital to hospital. So, the form follows the function, and the patient is at the center with the various elements around him.”
More than 85 percent of cancer patients need a highly coordinated type of care that requires multiple disciplines. In most medical centers, the treatment is very fragmented, which places an additional burden on someone with a life-threatening illness.
“Most of these people don’t need one thing, they need many things, and they need to be properly sequenced,” Wilson says. “Our motto is to do the right thing at the right time, every time.”
Wilson has held leadership positions in almost every national and international organization in his field and has received Gold Medal Awards from both the American College of Radiology and the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology Oncology.
The field of clinical outcomes has always been a focus for Wilson, leading to numerous peer-reviewed abstracts, manuscripts, book chapters and invited presentations. Since 2001, he has served as the principal investigator in a study funded by the National Cancer Institute to benchmark national oncology practice patterns and patient outcomes.
In more than 35 years in the field of oncology, Wilson has seen the cancer cure rate increase from 50 percent to 76 percent. With current projections that the number of cancer patients will double by 2050, the new Clinical Cancer Center is expected to accommodate the increase in patients well into the next decade.
“The necessary care of cancer treatment has grown highly complex — it’s a team approach,” Wilson says. “So, we don’t put patients on the outside. Their priorities come first, not the programs.”