The Oncology Centers at Franciscan St. Margaret Health are:
• Accredited with Commendation by the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer, a voluntary survey, for the achievement of high practice standards.
• A university-level care center, offering advanced technology, a comprehensive approach, offering a wide range of services.
• Inpatient oncology-dedicated beds.
• Palliative care.
• The only hospital in Northwest Indiana to offer gynecologic oncology services on a regular basis.
• The Oncology Centers offer the following radiation therapy technologies and treatments:
Treatment Planning System
Information from the treatment planning CT scan is transferred to a comprehensive treatment planning system, which enhances modern radiation therapy planning for various types of treatments, including 3-D conformal therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and electron therapy. With the rich functionality in this system, dosimetrists, physicists, and physicians can create, select, and verify the treatment plan that best conforms radiation dose to the area of interest while sparing normal tissues.
Multi-energy Linear Accelerators
These linear accelerators are the most compact system with the greatest clearance around patients available today. Using multi-leaf collimators, they can deliver 3-D Conformal Radiation Therapy and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. IMRT is an advanced way to deliver complex doses of radiation to tumors- including tumors near vital organs and other sensitive areas-while minimizing radiation to healthy tissue. The treatment units have on-board portal imaging and Image-Guided Radiation Therapy capabilities that allow assurance of correct location. A Siemens Oncor linear accelerator is used in Dyer; a Siemens Prius unit in Hammond.
A Nucletron multi-channel high dose rate (HDR) remote after-loading brachytherapy unit and software are used to provide internal radiotherapy, or brachytherapy. The radiation source that is used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors is placed in or close to the tumor itself. A precision brachytherapy approach allows a physician to concentrate a high dose of radiation in a smaller area, with less damage to nearby, healthy body tissues and organs, over a shorter treatment period.
Other outpatient medical services provided at the Oncology Center:
• IV Therapy
• Hydration Therapy
• Blood Transfusions
• Venous Access Management
• Gynecological oncology services are led by Sameer Sharma, M.D., one of the area’s few board-certified, fellowship-trained gynecologic oncologists.
Cancer care support services for patients and their families
• Counseling -- Our social workers assist patients and their families with the social and emotional support needed for cancer therapy. They also help plan the professional services available to patients at home. In addition, our Spiritual Care team provides spiritual support.
• Pain Consultation -- Upon a physician's advice, our Pain Management Center can alleviate some pain through oral and intravenous medications, biofeedback, nerve blocks or elective surgery.
• Breast Health Services -- Our certified breast nurse navigator partners with women with breast health issues to provide education and support.
• Nutrition Services -- A team of registered dietitians educate patients on diets or dietary supplements specially tailored for cancer patients.
• Physical Therapy and Lymphedema Care -- Physical rehabilitation is available as needed. A lymphedema clinic is available to treat lymphedema that can occur after a mastectomy or lumpectomy, or as a result of radiation therapy.
• Financial Counselor -- Financial counseling is available to assist with questions regarding insurance coverage or other financial arrangements.
• Volunteer Support -- A team of volunteers complement medical and nursing staffs by assisting patients and their families.
Breast Care Services
• Digital Mammography
• Breast Ultrasound and Ultrasound-guided biopsy
• Breast MRI and MRI-guided biopsy
• Computer-Aided Detection
• Stereotactic Biopsy
• Breast Radiologist and Nurse Navigator
• Bone mineral density testing
• Mammography After Hours (evening appointments available; call (219) 864-7662
• The Breast Imaging Center is staffed with a board-certified breast radiologist, who performs ultrasound-guided biopsies and stereotactic procedures. A breast health nurse navigator is trained to provide support, education, and resources for patients and their families travelling through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. For questions or more information about the Breast Health Nurse Navigator, call (219) 864-7662.