Comanche County Memorial Hospital’s Lab was recently recognized as a leader in the country for fast and reliable pathology results. Caris is a national reference laboratory that does molecular testing on cancer biopsies from patients. Dr. Robbie Graham, Laboratory Medical Director at CCMH, said reference labs are something institutions across the country use for further testing.

“They study the tissue to see what kind of treatments the patients can receive and if they have certain limitations,” Dr. Graham said. “They can also help with the prognosis for the patient to tell them what kind of outlook that they might have and possible treatment options for the future.”

Dr. Graham said patients with cancer diagnoses are a top priority in the CCMH Pathology lab. Once the lab gets the tissue, it then goes through multiple steps in the Histology department to get it ready for Dr. Graham and others, like those at Caris, to examine.

“We take great pride in quick turnaround time for our cancer patients because the faster we can get results for our cancer patients, the faster they can get treatments for their cancer,” he said. “So because of that, we excelled through Caris for the fastest turnaround time in the country tied with one other place in the country, and that was Mayo Hospital themselves.”

CCMH tied for the turnaround time on getting the tissue specimen to the lab for testing analysis.

“Some places take multiple days,” said Dr. Graham. “As soon as we get a referral, we get it out there because we know our patients need those results.”

They also excelled in other key categories.

“We had the highest percentage of positive tissue in the country for a complete molecular profile,” he said. “A lot of places only get 50 to 75% positive analysis on their tissue. We got 90% which is the highest in the country.”

Dr. Graham said there are multiple reasons for that. Like how closely they work with the other physician groups at CCMH.

“Especially radiology, whenever they do a biopsy of a tumor, we work hand-and-hand,” he said. “We are on-site with the radiologist when they do the biopsy to ensure that they get adequate tissue.”

He said if they’re not on-site, it can be a shot in the dark if they get adequate tissue for the molecular testing. Dr. Graham said it was exciting to see the Caris review.

“Because to me, we’re just doing our job,” Dr. Graham said. “We’re here to help patients in our community. We love our patients. We love our community. We’re just doing our job, and I was shocked to find out we did so well across all these other institutions across the country. It’s shocking, but I’m just very proud of our team.”

He says this shows how well they work with radiology, oncology, and pathology.