Baystate Health print this page

Patient's Guide to Cancer Care Online

 

Patient's Guide to Cancer Care

Contents:

Partners in Your Care, Every Step of the Way 

Our Philosophy of Care 

The Best Cancer Care, Developed Especially for You 

Comprehensive Cancer Management 

Medication Therapy 

Radiation Therapy 

Surgical Treatment

 

Our Locations


D'Amour Center for Cancer Care 

Lyn Katz Oncology Unit 

Baystate Breast & Wellness Center

Baystate Franklin Medical Center 

D'Amour Center for Cancer Care - Baystate Mary Lane Satellite

 

Specialized Services

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 

Clinical Research and Outcome Measurement 

Prostate Seed Implant Program 

Adult Hematology Services

Adult Oncology Services

Stereotactic Radiosurgery 

Supportive Care and Hospice 

Health Information Services

 

Partners in Your Care, Every Step of the Way

Most of us know someone with cancer, and there's a lot of talk about the disease in newspapers, magazines, an on television.  But when it's you receiving the diagnosis, it is as if you are hearing about cancer for the very first time.

At the Baystate Regional Cancer Program, we understand.  That's why we take the time to answer your questions and keep you informed about your care every step along the way.  You can feel confident knowing that our coordinated approach assures that you receive state-of-the-art treatments, promising the greatest likelihood of a successful outcome. ALT

Our accreditation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as a "Teaching Hospital Cancer Program," as well as our designation  as the Western Campus of Tufts University School of Medicine, provide further recognition of our commitment to quality care, research and teaching.  In addition, we are a MagnetTM  hospital for nursing excellence, an honor achieved by only three percent of hospitals in the country.

 

We also recognize how important it is for you to be close to home, near your friends, loved ones, and job.  Our broad geographic coverage allows for diagnosis, therapy and clinical research in modern, hospital-based facilities convenient to the communities we serve.  In addition to our Springfield locations at Baystate Medical Center, the D'Amour Center for Cancer Care, and The Comprehensive Breast Center, our physicians supervise therapy in cancer programs at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware and Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield.  Free shuttle transportation is available for patients in those areas who need to travel to the D'Amour Center for Cancer Care for treatments.

 

While it is our primary goal to treat cancer, it is only part of the focus of our program.  There are also the very human issues: distress over loss of health and independence, financial and family concerns, as well as possible losses in quality of life.  Our network of support groups, social workers, behavioral medicine and rehabilitation specialists, clergy and complementary medicine providers are here to help you meet these challenges.  In addition, our affiliation with the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice and Baystate Home infusion & Respiratory Services facilities the best possible supportive care available, delivered right in your home.

 

Our Philosophy of Care

Each service we deliver reflects our philosophy of care: every patient is an individual with a unique medical situation and life experience, and a distinct set of social needs that must be addressed.  For those of us who diagnose and treat cancer, there is no greater honor, no greater vote of confidence, than to have a patient who is at their most frightened and most vulnerable put his or her trust in us to care for them.  It represents an opportunity:

  • To do our best work
  • To make our best effort
  • To take responsibility to do no less. 

And we never forget that.

 

The Best Cancer Care, Developed Especially for You

If you are diagnosed with cancer, you will most likely discuss your treatment options with your primary care doctor along with several cancer specialists at the Baystate Regional Cancer Program.  This may include a surgical oncologist, a medical oncologist, and a radiation oncologist.

 

While the Baystate Regional Cancer Program includes a wide array of services provided by many health care team members who are al specialists in their fields, the care you receive will be specifically tailored to meet your individual needs/

 

Cancer is not just one disease.  There are many types of cancer, and each one behaves differently in different people.  Every patient's situation is different, and our approach to care reflects this need to create personalized treatment programs.

 

Working together, you and your care team will determine which approach is likely to work best for you and your family.  This will be an ongoing process.  The effectiveness of your treatment will be continually monitored to make sure you are benefiting from the most effective approach.  Each step along the way, we will keep you informed about your treatment and the reasons for using the methods chosen.

 

If you have questions or concerns regarding your care, please let a member of your treatment team know.  Through open communication. we can make sure that you receive the best care you need and deserve.

 

Comprehensive Cancer Management

Most patients diagnosed with cancer require special attention and follow-up by medical specialists trained in the management of cancer.  These doctors represent a number of specialties such as hematology, medical oncology, radiation oncology. pediatric hematology/oncology, gynecologic oncology and surgical oncology.

 

You will see the specialist who is best suited to manage your condition.  You may see a number of these specialists or have your case discussed with other specialists to guarantee that the most current treatments are recommended.

 

Baystate's world-class pathology and radiology departments provide outstanding support to our efforts to diagnose and treat malignancies.  And our rapidly-expanding clinical research division offers you access to the latest investigational therapies and assures you of high-quality care by monitoring the outcomes of our efforts.

 

 

ALT

Medication Therapy

Many patients require treatment with powerful medications for their cancer.  Clinical research has demonstrated the value of these medications - including chemotherapy drugs, hormones, and biological agents - in the treatment of many cancers.

 Your doctors will discuss which treatments are most appropriate to your situation.  In some instances, they may recommend treatment with drugs in combination with radiation therapy.  In these cases, your oncologist will coordinate your care with a radiation oncologist.

 

Radiation Therapy

Cancer, particularly when it is localized to one area of the body, best be treated with radiation therapy.  There are many different types of radiation, but all have on thing in common: these therapies treat cancer through the use of energy fields or beams.

 

In general, radiation, like surgery, treats cancer in a specific area.  For this reason, and because some chemotherapy agents sensitize cancers to the effects of radiation, chemotherapy or other medication treatments are often used along with radiation therapy.

 

The experienced Radiation Oncology team at the Baystate Regional Cancer Program offers the very best in radiation therapy technology and expertise.  Radiation oncologists are trained in the use of radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer and other conditions, and work with your oncologist or surgeons as part of your overall treatment plan.

 

More about radiation oncology at the Baystate Regional Cancer Program.... 

 

 

Surgical Treatment

 

Many patients are initially referred by their primary care provider to a surgeon, or, in the case of concerns regarding the female reproductive organs, a gynecologic oncologist.  These specialists are highly skilled at evaluating suspicious findings on physical exam and making a diagnosis, usually by performing a biopsy.  They may, if appropriate, recommend removal of the tumor surgically, and they often work with other cancer specialists to combine treatment methods.

 

Surgeons with the Baystate Regional Cancer Program perform some of the most advanced procedures available to treat cancer, including minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery, "keyhole" craniotomies, and photodynamic therapy.

ALT

 

OUR LOCATIONS

 

D'Amour Center for Cancer Care

Patients who come to the Baystate Regional Cancer Program for care have their appointments and receive outpatient care and therapy at The D'Amour Center for Cancer Care at 3350 Main Street in Springfield.  The Sadowsky Center for Children is also located in the D'Amour Center.

 

Radiation therapy services are provided here, including state-of-the-art CT simulation, linear accelerators, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), high-dose rate brachytherapy, prostate seed implantation, and stereotactic radiosurgery.

 

Medication therapies - including chemotherapy, hormones, and biological agents - are also administered at the D'Amour Center.  Also, supportive care, pain clinic services, and clinical research staff are conveniently located here.  One area of the building is dedicated to patient needs such as social services, nutrition counseling, and financial counseling.  There is also a multifunctional space for activities such as patient and family support groups.

 

Lynn Katz Oncology Unit

 

Adult patients who need inpatient care are usually admitted to the Lynn Katz Oncology Unit, a full-service cancer unit on the main campus of Baystate Medical Center at 759 Chestnut Street in Springfield.  This unit provides a wide array of inpatient therapies and comfort measures.  Specialized units also provide post-operative care to surgical and gynecologic patients.  Children with cancer who need inpatient care are admitted to Baystate Children's Hospital, located within Baystate Medical Center. 

 

 

Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield also offers a Comprehensive Breast Program, including a multidisciplinary clinic, digital mammography, stereotactic biopsy capability, and counseling.  

 

ALT

 

 

 

ALT

Baystate Franklin Medical Center

Located in Greenfield, the Baystate Regional Cancer Program (BRCP) at Baystate Franklin Medical Center provides access to the most up-to-date cancer care, including national research protocols, through our medical staff and oncology specialists.

 

Operating primarily on an outpatient basis, our oncologists, specially-trained oncology nurses, and social workers provide both physical and psychological support from cancer patients and their families.  Care includes evaluation, diagnostics (including digital mammography), therapeutic intervention, chemotherapy, cancer support groups, community-based public education programs, and counseling.

 

Our physicians are the same specialists you will find at the BRCP in Springfield, some of whom divide their time between the two locations.  Following identical treatment protocols, they take pride in offering clear explanations and providing the best treatment options available.

 

Our surgical oncologist also works in conjunction with a surgical oncologist at the BRCP in Springfield.  Patients who require radiation therapy can take advantage of the free round-trip courtesy shuttle to the D'Amour Center in Springfield.  In addition, the same radiation oncologists are available at Franklin Medical Center one day each week to provide consultation and follow-up appointments.

 

For more information about the BRCP at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center, call 413-773-2251.

 

Baystate Mary Lane Hospital

The D'Amour Center for Cancer Care - Baystate Mary Lane Satellite in Ware offers a home-away-from-home setting for patients with cancer and their families.

 

Our outpatient suite includes three exam rooms and two infusion spaces. It is decorated with framed artwork and inspirational words.  Patients can registers, have their blood work done, and receive their cancer treatment, all in this one area.

 

Our physicians are the same top cancer specialists you will find at the BRCP in Springfield, so our patients have access to the most current cancer care, including evaluation, diagnostics (including digital mammography), therapeutic intervention, chemotherapy, cancer support groups, community-based public education programs, and counseling.

 

Baystate Mary Lane Hospital also offers a free courtesy shuttle for patients from the North Quabbin region who require radiation therapy at the D'Amour Center in Springfield.

 

For more information, call 413-967-2241.

 

SPECIALIZED SERVICES

 

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Hearing that anyone has cancer is difficult, but few things are as troubling as learning that your child has cancer.  Parents can feel some comfort, however, in knowing that at the Sadowsky Center for Children at the D'Amour Center for Cancer Care, we are specially prepared to meet this challenge.

 

Children with cancer suffer from diseases that are very different from adults.  They have reactions to illness and treatment that vary with their age.  Our specialists are uniquely qualified to provide comprehensive and compassionate treatment of childhood cancer and blood disorders.  Our expertise is enhanced by affiliation with the Children's Oncology Group, a national cooperative group for clinical trials, giving patients access to a broad range of studies in which they may qualify to participate. 

 

We treat a full range of hematology/oncology conditions, including anemias, sickle cell disease, bleeding disorders, thalassemia, thrombosis, and all types of malignancies including leukemias.

 

In addition, to support the need to care for the well-being of the child and family, child life specialists, family therapy, social work, neuropsychological services, nutrition counseling, home care and hospice providers are an integral part of our program.

 

Clincial Research and Outcome Measurement

Clinical research is a critical factor in our ability to improve care for cancer patients.  Not only are new treatments discovered and validated, but patients entered into clinical trials have, as a group, been shown to experience better outcomes in terms of the management of their condition.

 

This is why we subscribe to the National Cancer Institute's view that, whenever possible, a patient's best cancer treatment is a clinical trial.  We encourage you to discuss this option with your doctor and treatment team.

 

The BRCP has an active clinical research program, including affiliations with National Cancer Institute-sponsored cooperative research organizations.  Also available are clinical trials of new cancer agents and novel approaches to cancer care being investigated by Baystate's own physicians.

 

Our research efforts do not include just prospective clinical trials.  We also conduct research into our past performance through our active tumor registry. In this way, we continue to monitor our quality and ensure the best possible outcomes for future patients.

 

Prostate Seed Implant Program

The only program of its kind in Western Massachusetts, this program offers certain patients with prostate cancer a treatment that avoids many of the difficulties and permanent impairments associated with surgery (radial prostatectomy) and external beam radiation.  Experienced urologists and radiation oncologists collaborate closely to perform the procedure, and patients return home the same day.

 

Adult Hematology Services

The BRCP adult hematology services provide the region's largest and most highly-regarded leukemia practice, offering therapy to people afflicted with these rare but serious disorders.  Our hematology laboratory and transfusion service supports patients with the intensive therapy these diseases require.  Our staff actively diagnoses and treats all types of blood disorders, including anemia, bleeding and blood clotting abnormalities, sickle cell disease, and other hemoglobinopathies.

 

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Sterotactice radiosurgery (SRS) is a radiation therapy procedure that uses specialized equipment to position the patient with great accuracy and to precisely deliver large radiation doses to a brain tumor in a single session, while almost completely sparing nearby normal tissue.

 

While experienced radiation oncologists work in conjunction with neurosurgeons to perform this procedure, SRS is not surgery in the conventional sense.  No surgical incision is made and no anesthesis is used; there is no risk of infection, and patients return home the same day.  It is often used in addition to whole-brain radiation as part of an overall treatment plan.

 

Supportive Care and Hospice

A cancer diagnosis often comes with uncomfortable physical symptoms, and almost always by psychological and spiritual unease.  We are fully prepared to help provide relief from these kinds of difficulties.

 

At the BRCP, our supportive care services engage patients with distressing symptoms and make every effort to reach out to those who may not feel confident about expressing their concerns.  We provide referrals for pain control, counseling, relaxation  techniques, hypnosis, and behavioral medicine as needed.  Spiritual counseling and nutritional assessments and support are also available.

 

When curing the disease is no longer a realistic goal, we work closely with patients to maintain comfort, independence and dignity through the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice and with other supportive care professionals.  Hospice does not hasten or postpone death, but helps people live fully, prepare for death, and maintain personal control over their lives for as long as possible.  Pain and symptom management are emphasized with the goal of improving the patient's quality of living during this final stage of life.

 

Health Information Services

If you have questions about your condition or treatment, we encourage you to talk to your treatment team.  In addition, we offer several resources for you and your family.  Baystate Health Link is a free physician referral service staffed by representatives who can provide information about all BRCP services and programs.  Call Baystate Health Link at 413-794-BRCP (2727).

 

We offer community resource libraries and learning centers for you and your loved ones in the D'Amour Center for Cancer Care, in the main lobby of the Daly Building of Baystate Medical Center, at 3300 Main Street in Springfield, at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, and at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware.  You are also welcome to conduct health-related reserach at our main Health Sciences Library in the Chestnut Building at Baystate Medical Center.  In addition, a wealth of health information and links to pertinent websites can be found on this website.