Featured Image: CyberKnife team: Community Healthcare System’s CyberKnife S7 team includes Andrej Zajac, MD, medical director and radiation oncologist; Santosh Kar, medical physicist and radiation safety officer; Nickie Rollins, radiation therapist; Stacy Millsap, radiation therapist; Roberto Gonzalez, director of Imaging Services, St. Catherine Hospital; Jacqueline Katz, director Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics; and Leo Correa, CEO, St. Catherine Hospital.
Upon receiving a cancer diagnosis, a patient may anticipate the necessity of visiting or even relocating to a large city like Chicago or Minneapolis for treatment. However, Community Healthcare System offers the same type of care in Northwest Indiana.
“Our offerings make us the leader in Northwest Indiana in cancer care,” said Jackie Katz, director of Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics for Community Healthcare System.
With many radiation therapy and radiosurgery options, cancer patients receive treatment that best fits their needs. With prostate, cervical or endometrial cancer, high and low dose rate brachytherapy, which targets cancer while protecting healthy tissue, may be suggested. If lessening the exposure of healthy tissue is a priority, guided radiation therapy may be recommended.
If a cancerous tumor is close to critical organs, stereotactic radiosurgery provides surgeons access to those tumors with focused beams.
The list of specialized treatment options goes on to include other offerings such as CyberKnife S7®, intensity modulated radiation therapy, MammoSite breast cancer targeted therapy and radiopharmaceutical therapy. To learn more about your cancer diagnosis prior to speaking with your doctor about your best treatment options, click here.
With so many cancer treatment options, it may be overwhelming to work through all the details, Katz said. This is why Community Healthcare System connects patients with navigators to alleviate the stress and keep track of the details.
“Navigators identify which patients are coming to Community Healthcare System with cancer, and they help guide them through the process,” Katz said. “They make sure that a patient goes from point to point because some patients have a lot of things they need to do; a lot of doctors they need to see and different treatments. It can be confusing, especially for patients who are not familiar with being in the healthcare system. You have got a whole team of people who are dedicated to getting patients back to the activities that would normally be on their schedule.”
Beyond receiving treatment and navigational aid, Community Healthcare System also safeguards the overall well-being of cancer patients and families through its Cancer Research Centre.
“Radiation therapy is just a piece of the care plan for our patients. We're part of a care team, which may include a medical oncologist, a surgeon, a neurologist and a radiation oncologist. We also have resources like our Cancer Research Centre, which takes a mind-body-spirit approach,” Katz said. “We want not only to get our patients to an optimal level of health but also their families, who may need support as well. We offer education, support and encouragement in addition to radiation therapy.
“We recognize how challenging this is for our patients and their families. Our role is not just about taking care of the patients to get them better. We also are mindful of the fact that they need a lot of support and encouragement because it sometimes gets overwhelming. Our goal is to make it as easy as we can and be as supportive as we can.”
For more information about the Cancer Resource Centre, click here.