Tag Archives: Door County Cancer Center

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.

Nothing but the Best: Jim Sarkis and Dr. Kelton Reitz

Not much has slowed Jim Sarkis down in his 35 years as a successful real estate agent and businessman in Door County. He thrives on involvement and competition, and enjoys having a full plate. When it comes to business, he says “I always try to hire the best, because I want to be the best.” This philosophy extends throughout his life, and when he chose Door County Medical Center (DCMC) provider Kelton Reitz as his primary care physician 10 years ago, he knew he’d found the right fit. “If I demand excellence in my business, why wouldn’t I in my health care?” he says.

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“When it comes to a doctor, I need somebody I can trust. Someone who will listen to me.” Sarkis’ trusting relationship with Dr. Reitz was critical when he was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2014. “With something like cancer, care and compassion are unbelievably important, especially during the initial stages. Kelton provided that, along with excellent health care and professionalism.”

Jim’s wife Meg agrees that the care her husband received from Dr. Reitz was critical to his successful recovery. “At DCMC, we feel we’re among friends, because we are. These people know us. They love us,” she says. Adds Jim, “Kelton’s chairside manner is a great combination of warm and compassionate with professional and very steady. And he speaks my language – Kelton is an excellent communicator.”

Following his diagnosis, Jim received treatment at the Door County Cancer Center, and through participating in a clinical trial, his prognosis is excellent. He has remained busy and involved, maintaining his successful business as well as his roles as President of Door County Charities and Director of Sales and Marketing for the Green Bay Chapter of the NFL Alumni.  Recently, he joined the board of directors at MDCMC. “I got involved in the board because I felt the hospital had done so much for me. I wanted to give back.”

Both Jim and Meg are grateful for the care that Ministry provides. “Both our children were born here, and we feel so fortunate to have excellent care, close to home,” says Meg. “Why would we travel 40 miles or more for health care when we have this facility right here?” says Jim. “The care we get here is nothing but the best.”

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.

Door County Cancer Center Celebrates 10 Years

This year, the Door County Cancer Center at Ministry Door County Medical Center celebrates 10 years of caring for the community. Since 2005, the dedicated nurses and doctors of the Cancer Center have provided care to thousands of local residents. Dr. Sally Schlise helped found the center and served as its director until her retirement in 2012. She recalls how excited she was to be able to provide quality cancer care, close to home, when the clinic opened its doors in 2005.

“At the time I was working at St. Vincent’s, and there were so many Door County residents traveling to Green Bay for their cancer care. As a lifelong resident of Sturgeon Bay, I knew that offering services right here in Door County would benefit so many.” Through an innovative partnership with St. Vincent Hospital and Green Bay Oncology, Ministry Door County Medical Center brought life-changing cancer care to local residents.

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“We hear over and over again how our patients value the personal care they receive here,” says Dr. Schlise. “Patients feel at home here, and they are being cared for by experts who live right in our own community.”

This month, the Door County Cancer Center will begin installing a new linear accelerator that will take state-of-the-art images, providing even greater accuracy for patients receiving radiation treatments. During the installation of the equipment (January through mid-April) patients needing radiation treatments will be treated in Green Bay at either St. Vincent or St. Mary’s hospitals.

Other services at the Door County Cancer Center will continue uninterrupted. Dr. Richard Auchter, oncologist, will continue to see patients at the Door County Cancer Center, and staff will continue to provide medical oncology (chemotherapy) treatments.

For questions regarding the Door County Cancer Center, call (920) 746-7580.

Ministry’s Nurse Navigators: Seeing patients through the journey

Arlene Junion and Jessica Kaye know that receiving a cancer diagnosis is not only life changing, but it can be mind altering, as well. “Once you hear those words, it’s hard to hear anything else,” says Junion. In their roles as Nurse Navigators at the Door County Cancer Center at Ministry Door County Medical Center, Junion and Kaye sheperd patients through the process of cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship.

Jessica Kaye and Arlene Junion

Jessica Kaye and Arlene Junion

“We’re at the patient’s side during their initial consultations with surgeons, radiation oncology and medical oncology,” explains Junion. “Our role is to act as a scribe and an interpreter, to make sure the patient understands what providers are recommending. We’re also here as emotional support, which is so important during this process.”

Navigators stay in close contact with patients throughout the treatment process, checking in regularly both in person and by phone. “We also have a dedicated phone line, so patients can call us directly, anytime, to receive support and have their questions answered,” says Kaye.

The Door County Cancer Center, located inside the front door at Ministry’s Sturgeon Bay facility, is a collaborative including St. Vincent’s Hospital, Green Bay Oncology and other providers who care for Door County cancer patients. “We’re so lucky to have this cancer team here,” says Junion. “It’s the very same expert care you would get in a larger city, but it’s the doctor who does the traveling. It’s comfortable, and the care is close to home – which is so important for people struggling with a cancer diagnosis.”

For Jessica Kaye, working with oncology patients is its own reward. “I love helping people along the way,” she says. “For me, it’s all about the relationships. For breast cancer survivors, we are looking at up to 10 years post-diagnosis that we’ll be following up with them. It’s a great opportunity for a relationship that makes a difference.”

Arlene Junion also loves the personal nature of her work. “It’s amazing,” she says. “I’ve had patients who are going through some trying times, but they will remember what I’ve told them about my own family and asked me ‘How did your daughter’s birthday party go?’ Working with these people gives me a deep appreciation of my own life, and how generous in sprit people can be.”

For now, Ministry’s Nurse Navigators are working primarily with breast cancer patients, but there are plans to extend the services to patients with other diagnoses. “Patients have been very receptive so far,” says Kaye. “They’re grateful to have someone by their side during this process.”

The Door County Cancer Center Makes a Difference for Local Patients

A colonoscopy never tops anyone’s to-do list as a favorite activity. However, when local patients John Acker and Pete Evans were diagnosed with colon cancer after undergoing the routine procedure, they were grateful to have caught their cancer in the early stages. They were also glad that the Door County Cancer Center at Ministry Door County Medical Center could offer them state-of-the-art cancer care in a local setting.

Acker is an active 80-year-old who still reports to work as CEO of Therma-Tron-X, Inc. three days a week. When his routine colonoscopy with Dr. Kurt Scheer of Lake Side Surgical Associates looked suspicious, he quickly sought care at the Door County Cancer Center. In addition to surgery with Dr. Scheer, Acker was cared for by Dr. Anthony Jaslowski of Green Bay Oncology. Green Bay Oncology and Radiation Oncology Specialists of Green Bay partner with the St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center to offer patient care right on Ministry’s main campus in Sturgeon Bay.

Caring Elderly ConceptOne year later, Acker is cancer free, and still reporting to work and enjoying life in Sturgeon Bay. “You couldn’t find a more caring bunch of nurses, doctors and receptionists than at the Door County Cancer Center,” says Acker. “And it’s such a convenience having such high quality of care right here in Sturgeon Bay.”

Pete Evans of Sister Bay was prompted to begin routine colonoscopies when his older brother was diagnosed with precancerous spots on his colon. Now 64, Evans was diagnosed with colon cancer after what was only his third colonoscopy with Dr. Shaun Melarvie. He too sought care at the Door County Cancer Center. “My oncologist, Dr. Mitch Winkler of Green Bay Oncology, was just fantastic,” says Evans. “And when I was in the hospital at Ministry Door County Medical Center after my surgery, the care I received was really something. Even the hospital administrators came in to check on me, to see if my stay was going well, and to ask if there was anything I needed. I think that says a lot.”

Two years later, Evans is healthy and enjoying retirement, finding time to play his guitar and mandolin. “We’re so lucky to have the Door County Cancer Center right here,” he says. “It’s excellent care, and when you’re going through a cancer diagnosis, it means so much to have it right here at home.”