St. Nicholas Hospital offers patients battling cancer and their families a source of strength, care, support, and hope through comprehensive, integrated oncology (cancer) services. The cancer program has been approved by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. In addition, St. Nicholas Hospital participates in the Regional Cancer Collaborative, a cooperative effort that brings together top medical specialists, the latest medical technology and highly-integrated treatment options. For specialized treatments, patients may be referred to St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay, which serves as the large base of the Collaborative, providing high-end, high-tech services not available in every community. Visit www.stateofthearthope.com for additional information.
The oncology care team includes board-certified medical and radiation oncologists, oncology-certified nurses, radiation therapists, dietitians, spiritual and pastoral support staff, and other highly skilled individuals from a variety of specialized fields of medicine needed to treat the complex disease processes of cancer. The team works with the patient and family, the family physician, and doctors specializing in surgery, pathology, and radiation and medical oncology to provide complete care.
Radiation therapy is often an important facet of cancer care on either an inpatient or outpatient basis. With a state-of-the-art, dual-energy linear accelerator, highly-trained radiation therapists are able to treat cancer patients with both photons and electrons, as well as with IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy). IMRT is another form of radiation therapy that uses three-dimensional imaging and a specialized treatment planning technique to target cancer cells with high doses of radiation. While at the same time minimizing the radiation received by nearby healthy tissue.
Radiation therapy destroys tumors or reduces their size through exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation which kills or damages tumor cells. The therapy is usually delivered in a series of small treatment doses over a period of several weeks to allow healthy tissue surrounding the tumor the opportunity to repair itself between doses. In the case of prostate cancer, brachytherapy, or radioactive seed implantation, offers a therapeutic treatment option.
Radiation therapy can be used for curative purposes in combination with surgery or chemotherapy or by itself. It can also be used in a palliative manner to control bleeding or pain or be used to shrink tumors, making them easier to remove surgically. Services are provided by board-certified radiation oncologists and registered radiation therapists and physicists.
Chemotherapy, which is also given on an inpatient or outpatient basis, is the use of drugs to treat cancer. These drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying at one or more points in their cell cycle. Because some drugs work better together than alone, chemotherapy may consist of more than one drug. This is called combination chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery and/or radiation therapy and may be palliative or curative. Registered nurses who administer chemotherapy complete the Oncology Nursing Society's Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course. This specialized education and preparation validates that the nurses have the knowledge needed to provide a safe level of care for the individuals receiving these agents.
Prevention and early detection of cancer are encouraged through a variety of programs such as skin cancer screenings and the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, which provides free mammography for under-insured or uninsured women.
A lending library of books and videos, support groups, and other services provide other support for patients and families. In addition, wigs, hats, turbans, and other head wear items are available for women who experience hair loss as a result of cancer treatment.
2012 Annual Cancer Report (pdf)
Radiation Therapy 920-459-4767
Medical Director: H. Marshall Matthews, MD
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