Today, millions of people are living with cancer or have had cancer. Their stories inspire family members, friends and others who marvel at the courage and spirit they exhibit during trying times.
To effectively deal with a cancer diagnosis, most people draw upon a wide range of personal characteristics - tenacity to battle the disease, hope and optimism to maintain a positive outlook and courage to face the difficult challenges that cancer might present.
The best treatment plan is determined by a range of factors — available specialists, proximity to a care center, research protocols, up-to-the-minute technology and support services.
Throughout the Northwoods and Wisconsin River Valley, Ministry Health Care provides a range of choices to help a person diagnosed with cancer receive the treatment and support needed to manage their condition. Treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy (medicine) and surgery — in addition to specialty procedures such as daVinci robot-assisted surgery for treatment of prostate and uterine cancer, and Gamma Knife radiosurgery, a non-invasive treatment for patients with deep brain tumors and abnormal blood vessels in the brain.
A Cancer Diagnosis
To help people dealing with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis, physician specialists on staff at Ministry Health Care hospitals in Woodruff, Rhinelander, Weston, Stevens Point and Marshfield draw upon years of experience managing complex disease states. Self exam combined with routine, age-appropriate screenings by a primary care doctor and other preventive measures are simple yet effective methods to improve the likelihood of early detection.
When a mass or other irregularity is suspected, cancer specialists use the most sophisticated diagnostic tests — including MRI, Computed Tomography and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans — to make an accurate diagnosis and develop customized treatment plans.
For some types of cancer, and in certain instances when malignant cells have spread to other parts of the body, surgery is the best treatment. Often, a treatment plan combines surgery with non-invasive drug or radiation therapies. Experienced specialists use the most proven traditional surgical methods and promising emerging techniques — including robot-assisted surgery — to treat a wide array of cases.
Sub-specialists are doctors with additional training in a particular area. At Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, a host of oncology sub-specialists works together with the primary care doctor and medical oncologist to treat the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patient and family. Some of the cancer subspecialty expertise available in Marshfield includes:
- Neuro-oncologist, treating cancers associated with the brain
- Head and neck (ENT) oncology
- Orthopedic oncology
- Gynecologic oncologist, specializing in cancers unique to women
- Pediatric oncologists who diagnosis and treat cancers in children from infant to age 18
- Surgical oncologists
- Palliative care specialists
Patients referred to Marshfield also have access to more than 100 cancer clinical research trials through the Marshfield Medical Research Foundation. Other specialty offerings include:
- Leksell Gamma Knife radiosurgery — painless, non-invasive treatment of tumors and abnormal blood vessels of the brain.
- Robot-assisted technology, used increasingly by urology and gynecologic surgeons who experience greater precision and control when performing prostate and uterine surgeries. Marshfield Clinic surgeons on staff at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield were pioneers in bringing this advanced technology to Wisconsin, and have performed with impressive results the most cases of any regional practice.