Category Archives: Door County Cancer Center

State-of-the-Art Technology, Close to Home – Advanced Detection Methods

Door County Medical Center is one of the top 20 critical access hospitals in Wisconsin. More than a hospital, Door County Medical Center is an integrated health system providing the residents of Door and Kewaunee counties with state of the art technology and procedures, and top physicians.

High Tech Reason #4: Advanced Diagnostic Imaging

There are 4 big ways, Door County Medical Center brings state of the art technology to our community. #4 is our advanced detection methods.

At Door County Medical Center, we provide up close and advanced detection methods rarely offered in rural communities. With 3-D Mammography, MRI and CT scanning, we get the clearest possible internal images. This helps us detect irregularities early on, drastically improving your chances of recovery. Advanced detection is second only to prevention.

3-D Mammography imaging is a type of digital mammography that, instead of taking a flat 2D image of breast tissue, creates a 3D image from a composite formed of image layers. 3D mammography has been shown to detect 41% more invasive breast cancers, on average. As a result, there are fewer cancers missed and less invasive treatments. One common way to describe the process is to compare the 3D image to the pages of a book, allowing doctors to examine breast tissue layer by layer.

“I am incredibly excited that we have this technology,” says DCMC’s Diagnostic Imaging Director, Amanda Feldbruegge, “Because of the greater detail that 3D mammography provides, the early detection rate is far higher. So, we are going to be able to detect cancers much sooner, and at a much smaller size. As a result, doctors will be able to start treatment sooner—we can catch the disease at stage 1 rather than at stage 3 or 4.”

Even though it has been estimated that a woman born in the United States today has a 1 in 8 chance of developing some form of breast cancer during their lifetime, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100% when breast cancer is detected early.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the latest in cutting-edge technology, helping doctors diagnose and care for patients with needs including oncology, injuries and vascular issues. DCMC invested in a more comfortable and inclusive scanner in March 2017.

“Our MRI scanner is larger and more easily tolerated by claustrophobic patients,” says Donald Renfrew, radiologist at DCMC. “In addition, the new machine has improved the quality of the images. These improvements allow more confident diagnosis leading to better patient care.”

Patients agree that the combination of high-tech and personalized care make their experience stand out. “The new machine is less noisy than I had experienced in the past. It was very comfortable and I didn’t feel so confined. The technicians are always very nice, and that makes all the difference,” says patient Caroline Link.

CT Scanning technology uses 640 visual slices to provide the clearest possible images for doctors to diagnose patients by generating images that can be turned into three-dimensional pictures. Door County Medical Center was the third hospital in the United States to adopt the CT scan technology that reduces streaks from implanted metal such as rods and pacemakers. This enables doctors to diagnose patients with a variety of symptoms such as headache, chest pain and abdominal pain.

“This top-of-the-line scanner is both quicker and more comfortable for the patient, and reduces the radiation dose to the patient as well,” says Amanda Feldbruegge.

One of the unique abilities of the scanner is to eliminate the appearance of metal implants, such as artificial joints, on a scan. “It used to be difficult to obtain images from patients with everything from tooth fillings to hip replacements because the metal caused streaks on the images,” explains Feldbruegge. “This new technology allows us to see everything clearly.”

At Door County Medical Center, our patients experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing the best possible early detection technology is available so close to home. “The combination of leading edge technology and compassionate care helps us provide the best possible outcomes for our patients,” says Feldbruegge.

It’s never too early to take a look at your health: schedule an appointment today!

A Holistic Approach to Cancer Treatment

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, or is undergoing cancer treatment, every aspect of their life changes. Door County Medical Center believes that it is important to address all of these changes, not only the illness. “The traditional medical model is wonderful, it’s brilliant,” says Jennelle Berg, coordinator of The Healing Project Program at DCMC, “it does so much for us, but I think there are sometimes pieces of the healing experience that are lacking, or missing, that get lost in the delivery of healthcare. Sometimes, the total healing experience isn’t always pieced together.”

The Healing Project

Started in 2012 by Josephine Guenzel, Laura Fredrickson and Jennelle Berg, The Healing Project is an integrative healthcare program that offers a range of holistic therapies to individuals in Door County and Algoma that have cancer. The program is of no charge to the participant, and is available to someone who has cancer at any stage: recently diagnosed, currently in treatment, or in remission. The Healing Project seeks, through the different therapies offered, to facilitate the self-healing process and to support the entire individual—their mind, body and soul. “Individuals going through cancer treatment, they are quite compromised,” says Ms. Berg, “there is often anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis, and individuals with cancer frequently have trouble getting enough nutrition. There is also the nausea and pain that usually accompanies cancer treatment—in general, there is an overall lack of well-being. Integrative healthcare therapies—adjunct healthcare therapies—fill some of the niches that are left unaddressed by traditional medicine.”

In order to help alleviate some of this discomfort, The Healing Project works by combining several therapy sessions, each session focusing on a different aspect of the mind and body. Therapies include:

  • Acupuncture, provided by Healing Project Director and Primary Care Physician, Dr. Chona Antonio.
  • Counseling, provided by DCMC’s Behavioral Health Coordinator, Barb Johnson-Giese.
  • Massage, provided by Licensed Massage Therapist, Monica Guilette.
  • Nutrition Counseling, provided by Judy Sowl, Registered Dietician.
  • Energy Therapy, provided by Jennelle Berg, Healing Touch Certified Practitioner.
  • Mindfulness, provided by Barb Wulf, B.S. Trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

Ms. Berg points out, “The Healing Project can provide educational opportunities as well. It can teach you about ways to feel better, about how to make lifestyle choices that positively affect your heath and life going into the future.” She also notes that, following several sessions, “our participants often say things like ‘I don’t know what’s different, but I feel better. I have less anxiety, less pain.’ They feel as though they have a better understanding of themselves, of being more comfortable and of knowing how to better treat themselves. They are thankful that they have new ‘tools” to utilize when life’s challenges arise”

Shop n’ Dine

In partnership, the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center, Door County Medical Center and The Healing Project have created the annual Shop and Dine Day, which for one day asks participating businesses to donate 10% or more of their sales to The Healing Project. This year’s Shop and Dine Day will be held on Saturday, November 4th. “It’s beneficial for so many when we can get out and support local businesses,” says Ms. Berg, “and through Shop and Dine, we can both support local business and support our local program.”

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, is undergoing treatment, or is in remission and is interested in The Healing Project, please contact Jennelle Berg at 920.746.0726 or visit Door County Medical Center’s website at for more information. All integrative therapy sessions are held at the Sturgeon Bay campus, and all sessions are free to residents of Door County and Algoma.

HSHS St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center Receives National Recognition

Hospital Sisters Health Systems (HSHS) St. Vincent Hospital Regional Cancer Center was recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the 100 hospital and health systems with great oncology programs in 2016. The Door County Cancer Center, located on campus at Door County Medical Center (DCMC) in Sturgeon Bay, is part of the St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center. The Door County Cancer Center has provided state-of-the-art radiation and chemotherapy oncology care to local patients since 2005.

oncology-programs-2016Since 2002, the Cancer Center at HSHS St. Vincent has collaborated with the National Cancer Institute to deliver access to cutting edge clinical trials, drugs and prevention studies to local residents. The center received an outstanding achievement award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (Coc) for 2015, and is currently recognized by the CoC as an Integrated Network Cancer Program, the highest level of accreditation for non-teaching hospitals.

“We congratulate our health care partners, HSHS St. Vincent, for this honor,” says Jerry Worrick, President/CEO of DCMC. “We are pleased to provide state-of-the-art cancer care close to home because of the relationship we have built with the HSHS St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center and Green Bay Oncology.” DCMC is in the process of forming a partnership with HSHS that will permit the two organizations to continue to deliver high quality health care to Door County and northeast Wisconsin.

The Healing Project: Integrative Health Care for Cancer Patients

Now under the auspices of Door County Medical Center (DCMC), The Healing Project provides free integrative health care services to individuals with cancer. Services include acupuncture, energy therapy, massage therapy, nutrition counseling and behavioral health counseling.

healing project_brochure

Integrative therapies have been shown to benefit the physical, mental and spiritual health of those living with cancer at any stage. “Through The Healing Project, we offer opportunities to experience the interrelation of body, mind and spirit, and we educate people about the benefits of integrative health care,” says Jennelle Berg, program coordinator.

Studies have shown integrative therapies to be helpful in boosting the immune system, alleviating pain and managing the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. “Integrative health services can also be tremendously helpful in coping with the emotional side effects of the disease, including anxiety, stress and depression,” says Berg.

A recent Healing Project participant spoke to the program’s impact. “I was truly broken after going through surgery, chemo and radiation,” she says. “You listened, aided me in finding answers, and helped put my aching body back together. Thank you.”

Healing Project participants receive services from DCMC staff. The program is overseen by Healing Project Medical Director Dr. Chona Antonio, who also provides acupuncture services. The program is funded by the Cancer Healing Fund at the Door County Medical Center Foundation.

For more information on The Healing Project, contact Jennelle Berg at DCMC at 920.746.0726.

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. But this disease is highly preventable, by getting screened beginning at age 50.

Colorectal Cancer AwarenessEgg Harbor resident Pauline Peterson, now a 14-year survivor of colorectal cancer, received her chemotherapy treatment at Ministry, and has continued to be active in cancer support groups since her recovery. “It’s so important for people to be aware that this disease affects so many, and to be vigilent with screening for early detection,” she urges. Talk with your provider to find out which screening method is best for you.

What You Can Do

  • If you’re aged 50 to 75, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. Screening tests help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed. Screening also finds this cancer early, when treatment can be most effective.
  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke.

Fast Facts

  • Risk increases with age. More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people aged 50 and older.
  • Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. If you have symptoms, they may include: blood in or on the stool (bowel movement), stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away, or unexplained weight loss. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of them, see your doctor.
  • Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. If you think you may be at high risk, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.
  • There are several screening test options, including colonoscopy. Talk with your provider about which is right for you.

For more information on Colorectal Cancer Screenings, talk with your doctor or call the Door County Cancer Center. 

Local Patients Benefit from David Spude Cancer Center Fund

While the Door County Cancer Center (DCCC) installs a new, state-of-the-art linear accelerator to offer patients ultra-precise radiation treatments, patient who need to travel to Green Bay for radiation therapy in the interim are benefitting from a local charitable fund.

David Spude Cancer Center Fund committee members with items donated by the fund.

David Spude Cancer Center Fund committee members with items donated by the fund.

“The David Spude Cancer Center Fund was created to give local patients comfort, care and support as they receive treatment at the Door County Cancer Center,” says Mike Herlache, director of the Door County Medical Center Foundation who administers the fund. With the temporary interruption of radiation services at the DCCC, the fund is providing gas cards to local patients needing to travel to Green Bay for radiation services. “We’ve heard from many patients about what a help this has been,” says Herlache.

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Some patients are also finding relief in Integrative Medicine therapies offered at Ministry. “We know that therapies such as acupuncture, meditation and massage can be enormously beneficial to people being treated for cancer,” says Dr. Chona Antonio, a Ministry provider who specializes in Integrative Medicine. “Combining western and eastern medical approaches serves the whole person, alleviating pain and improving patient comfort.” In addition to clinic services for Integrative Medicine, The Community Clinic of Door County also sponsors The Healing Project in collaboration with Ministry. The Healing Project provides free integrative health care services to Door County men and women with cancer at any stage.

The new linear accelerator is currently being calibrated, and is expected to be operational by April. Patients needing chemotherapy and cancer consultations are still being seen as usual at the DCCC. For questions about the David Spude Cancer Center Fund, integrative therapies or the Door County Cancer Center, call 920.746.7580.

Door County Cancer Center Installs New Technology to Deliver Ultra-Precise Radiotherapy Treatments

The Door County Cancer Center (DCCC) is installing a new, state-of-the-art Trilogy linear accelerator with advanced imaging technology to offer patients image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT). IGRT is an extremely precise form of radiation treatment that utilizes multiple imaging techniques to target tumors, resulting in faster treatments, greater patient comfort, and the potential for better outcomes.

“This state-of-the-art technology will enable us to treat patients with advanced radiotherapy techniques,” says Dr. Richard Auchter, radiation oncologist with HSHS St. Vincent Hospital who provides care to patients at the DCCC. “It provides us with tremendous versatility and precision for customizing treatments according to the specifics of each patient’s case.

Dr. Richard Auchter, radiation oncologist

Dr. Richard Auchter, radiation oncologist

The new technology performs precise imaging of the tumor and automated patient positioning, and enables clinicians to concentrate radiation doses on the tumor while protecting surrounding healthy tissue.  This means that high doses of radiation can be delivered quickly and with great precision. “The new accelerator also expands our ability to treat more types of cancer right here in Door County, providing cutting-edge care close to home,” adds Dr. Auchter.

Radiation therapy is used today in more than half of all cancer treatments due to its unique clinical advantages.  This new technology gives the providers at Door County Cancer Center the potential to substantially improve treatment outcomes by doing a better job of protecting healthy tissue while delivering more powerful doses to cancerous tumors.

The new linear accelerator is expected to be installed and operational by mid-April.

Experts Bring Passion, Vision to Door County Cancer Center Patients

Dr. David Groteluschen believes that cancer care has two essential elements: bringing innovative medical therapies and technologies to patients and providing social and emotional support to those experiencing the cancer journey. As a cancer expert at Green Bay Oncology, Dr. Groteluschen and his partners bring their expertise to patients at the Door County Cancer Center (DCCC), located at Ministry Door County Medical Center, every week. Groteluschen“Along with providers from St. Vincent, we bring expert cancer care to Door County so residents don’t have to travel when they’re experiencing the life-changing and stressful event of a cancer diagnosis,” he says. Not only that, but the DCCC team also brings the latest in clinical trials and the most advanced radiation technology to local patients.” Cancer care has come so far,” he adds. “And we are proud to be using the same targeted therapies and clinical trials here in Door County that patients would find at top cancer clinics around the country.” Groteluschen says that his local patients are very appreciative that they can receive cutting-edge care close to home. “They say it eliminates some of the stress, and gives them more time with family and friends, which is so important.” The Door County Cancer Center is currently installing a new, state-of-the-art linear accelerator that will target radiation therapy with even greater precision, leading to more effective treatment and fewer side effects. “Recent advances in cancer technology mean that many people living with this difficult disease are able to live longer, and experience a greater quality of life,” he adds. “And quality of life is really what we are after.”