A cancer diagnosis can turn your world upside down, but one thing is certain, you have access to high-quality cancer care in your community. St. Lawrence Health’s dedicated team of oncologists, nurses, technicians, and caregivers collaborate to ensure you get the best possible care. And, with the latest drugs and cutting-edge medical technology, we can tailor your treatment to meet your needs. It’s big-city medicine delivered with a small-town touch.
At the Center for Cancer Care, we care for your entire person. That means making sure you, your family, and your caregivers have access to all the support services you may need. From dietitians to help you manage the side-effects of treatments to complementary therapies like acupuncture to help you reduce pain and stress, whatever it is, we are here to help. Our care comes with the security of knowing a committed team of top-notch healthcare providers is doing everything they can for you.
Our entire staff works together to ensure you receive personalized care from your very first visit. We will work with your primary care provider, our hospital imaging, and our pathology teams for a quick, accurate diagnosis. From there, our nurse navigator will coordinate your care, helping you schedule any tests and appointments you may need. Together, our team of experts will solve problems at multidisciplinary meetings, ensuring you get well-rounded, individualized care.
We know patients benefit when we put our heads together. That’s why we regularly hold Tumor Board, a collaborative meeting where our oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, nurses, and other staff members discuss patient cases in-depth. Any Canton-Potsdam Hospital staff member who works with cancer patients is welcome to attend, and anyone can introduce a case they believe merits collaborative investigation with their colleagues.
We utilize several types of diagnostic and screening tools to watch for and diagnose cancer.
Regular screenings and tests help us stay on top of any changes in your health. Screenings help your cancer care team detect any recurrences or metastases at an earlier, treatable stage. Our nurse navigator is here to help you schedule the appropriate follow-up appointments.
Your St. Lawrence Health oncologists will create a personalized treatment plan based on your overall health, the stage of your cancer, and your goals. Your treatment options may include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or a combination of several treatments.
Depending on your diagnosis and the stage of your disease, chemotherapy treatment can serve three possible goals: to work to cure cancer, to control cancer, or as palliation, which means it is administered to reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.
While chemotherapy drugs are usually administered intravenously, they can also be taken as a pill, as a cream or lotion, as an injection into a muscle or under the skin, or as an infusion at various sites in the body. Chemotherapy can be extremely effective. It can also result in difficult side effects, including fatigue, nausea, difficulty eating, and hair loss. Our team works to mitigate those symptoms while you undergo cancer treatment and ensure your best possible outcome.
Approximately half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment. Through comprehensive imaging procedures, our oncologists determine the best course of radiation treatment for each patient.
At the Center for Cancer Care, we use the latest machinery to administer radiation therapy. Our Elekta Synergy Linear Accelerator targets cancerous cells with precision and spares healthy tissue, and our medical physicists ensure that radiation therapy is delivered as safely and effectively as possible.
Our treatment technology has undergone extensive upgrades and is now equipped to perform SBRT (stereotactic body radiation therapy). This technology, also known as radiosurgery, targets tumors with high-precision radiation beams. The treatment is used to treat both lung cancer and brain tumors, and it offers some patients who cannot undergo surgery a chance for cure.
We further offer 3D Conformal Therapy, IMRT (intensity-modulated radiation therapy), and Radiopharmaceutical Therapy.
Radiation can produce side effects such as fatigue and skin irritation near the radiation site. Your cancer care team will help you mitigate those side effects and minimize discomfort while you undergo treatment.
Hematology is the study of blood diseases, including blood cancers such as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, and myelodysplastic syndrome. Our Hematology team treats patients with blood cancer and other non-cancerous blood diseases. Hematology patients can receive iron infusions and phlebotomies at the Center for Cancer Care.
Our highly skilled team of board-certified surgeons operates with extraordinary precision: they make sure to remove as much cancerous tissue as possible while only making necessary incisions. Our surgeons collaborate with your oncologist, the entire cancer center team, and their colleagues in the field to ensure you receive the best care possible. In many cases, surgery is paired with chemotherapy or radiation to shrink the tumor.
The Center for Cancer Care providers can collaborate with other providers to ensure you receive the best care possible. Patients may wish to consult with doctors at larger institutions, and then opt to coordinate with their home oncologist and receive treatment at Canton-Potsdam Hospital. If, however, a patient is diagnosed with a rare or complicated cancer, in many cases, it is in their best interest that we refer them to a larger academic or tertiary care hospital with the appropriate specialists.
To make your cancer treatment as seamless and convenient as possible, the cancer center has an on-site pharmacy where cancer and hematology patients can receive the necessary medication. Our pharmacy is staffed by the North Country’s only board-certified oncology pharmacist. In collaboration with our staff oncologists, our pharmacist monitors each patient's treatment and lab results and adjusts dosages when necessary.
Clinical trials are controlled tests of the newest medicines, and precede a drug’s FDA approval and release on the market. A clinical trial offers patients access to new drugs and the opportunity to contribute to scientific knowledge that benefits others.
There are Three Phases to Clinical Trials:
The Center for Cancer Care partners with St. Lawrence Health's Clinical Research department to evaluate opportunities to enroll patients in clinical trials.
Even if we do not offer a clinical trial at the Center for Cancer Care, our oncologists collaborate with and refer patients to physicians at academic medical centers to ensure our patients have access to the most advanced treatment.
A cancer diagnosis is not easy to hear and can leave you with a lot of questions. We are here to help you through your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery with expert providers and helpful, complementary services.Learn more about our cancer resources
"I am elated to be part of this growing network and Oncology/Hematology department at Canton-Potsdam Hospital."
Dr. Higgs noted she is a life-long learner in her field, as oncology is constantly changing.
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