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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Specialized Cancer Care for Special Women

All women are special.  Mom, sisters, friends, and of course you, these  are some of the most special people on earth.  As each women is special, and different, so should her care be, especially when facing a cancer diagnosis.

Cancer will affect 1 in 3 women in their lifetime.  While it’s scary to consider, knowing about cancer it your options before you need them, can be incredibly comforting.  Here is an overview of the basics of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Locally there are experts in cancer available to care for you and your family during this difficult time. Your care team might include:

  • Nurse navigator - This nurse will assist with every aspect of coordinating care, from helping to get financial resources or transportation, to answering questions and scheduling appointments.  
  • Surgeons - Your condition may require surgery and there are many surgeons that specialize. PinnacleHealth has surgeons specific to breast, gynecology, gynecologic oncology and many more.
  • Medical oncologists - Oncologist is a term to describe someone that deals with cancer.  Medical oncologists deal with cancer with medical or drug therapies.
  • Radiation oncologists - Radiation oncologists treat cancer with safe and targeted radiation therapy delivered in a comfortable setting, often time in short treatment sessions.

These expert providers will discuss your case together and decide what is the best plan for you every step of the way.  This is your support team and these compassionate providers are always available  to answer questions and work to keep you comfortable and moving towards better health.

Many people think that cancer treatments are very painful, or very scary.  Thanks to advanced technology treatments have become very tolerable and are given in comfortable settings with minimal side affects.

Radiation therapy treatments are provided in a warm and inviting room where patients lay on a table and can enjoy music of images on a screen above them.  The linear accelerator does all the work, moving around the patient and delivering short bursts of painless radiation doses designed to target the tumor but not the healthy tissue, thus reducing or even eliminating side effects.

Chemotherapy brings up many questions about hair loss and nausea.  While these can sometimes be present, all the research to date had provided us with great knowledge about what to expect for each drug so we can help manage any side effects.  For example, to prevent nausea and vomiting, patients often receive medicines before and after treatments to prevent nausea.

Surgical procedures have advanced so that incisions can be smaller ( and sometimes no incision is necessary!) so that there is less pain , less risk of infection and faster recovery.

Many people still believe that to get the best care you need to travel to a big city.  Thankfully this is no longer the case!  The majority of cancers, including breast, cervical and uterine, can be expertly treated in your own community by providers with extensive experience and success.  PinnacleHealth is proud to provide two cancer centers will a large array of services to make extensive travel unnecessary, thus reducing the burden a patient and their family feel during cancer treatment.  With the PinnacleHealth Cancer Center available at the Community Campus on the East Shore and the new Ortenzio Cancer Center at PinnacleHealth on the West Shore Campus, patients can spend less time traveling and more time with family and loved ones.

Cancer can be scary, but knowing you are not alone and have the strength and support of an expert team behind you, can help you or a loved on face the challenge with hope and strength.

For more information about cancer services at PinnacleHealth, visit

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