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Expert Cancer Care in Polk County

May 17, 2019 News, Success Stories

Three cancer centers call Polk County home, ensuring expert care for thousands of people and the workforce in Central Florida.

In Polk, Central Florida businesses, will find top notch health resources for their employees. Winter Haven Hospital’s Cassidy Care Center is the only one in the eastern side of Polk County, operated by BayCare. It offers specialized care in the fields of radiation, medical and surgical oncology; pathology; radiology; and others to create individualized treatment plans for each patient. It pairs each patient with a Nurse Navigator, who schedules appointments, helps educate patients and guides them through their care.

Each patient’s health and individual disease information is used for everything from making the diagnosis to planning care to looking for the cause. Data is compiled and used not only for a patient’s follow-up care, but also to provide the cancer center with information to ensure it is providing care that is needed most. “The patient history data provides useful information in advancing our understanding of cancer,” according to the BayCare Cancer Report from 2018.

Last year, the Cassidy Cancer Center’s community outreach efforts focused on screening and prevention, education and support, diagnosis and treatment, and general awareness, said Nafari Vanaski, director of communications. The center also offered free melanoma screenings in an effort to detect this form of skin cancer early.  In 2018, it screened 43 people; of those, 18 were found to have suspicious lesions and 15 were referred to dermatologists.

Throughout the four-county region specified in its Cancer Report, BayCare performed about 75,000 breast screenings. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Lives Saved Rate, those screenings saved about 100 lives. In addition, BayCare’s 50 teams raised more than $71,000 for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2018.

Each month, the center hosts support groups for Cassidy Cancer Center patients, their families and the community. Those include, among others, the Caregiver Support Group, Man to Man Cancer Support Group and Cancer Treatment Education, which is for patients who are starting chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

“A cancer diagnosis is a challenging time for anyone,” said  Deb Schulte, manager of the cancer program and data center. “It’s important, especially in an area as large as Polk County, to provide resources to help our community members who are fighting cancer. From prevention to recovery, our goal is to be a source of help, comfort or whatever our community needs.”

Where a patient gets treatment for cancer may be as important as the treatment they receive. The center’s location allows for easier access to expert doctors, clinical trials, a wide range of services and compassionate medical professionals who care for your body, mind and spirit.

The two cancer centers in Lakeland help serve the western part of the county.

Lakeland Regional Health’s Hollis Cancer Center

The Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center opened in 2003 and was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer in 2018. Last August, LRH’s oncology program was awarded its first gold Accreditation with Commendation, the highest level of recognition, from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. Also last year, the center enrolled about 100 people in trials, and 150 are being followed from previous studies. LRH will be one of 15 sites in Florida working with the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa to study health disparities in pancreatic cancer. It is also connected with the Mayo Clinic Care Network, whose doctors offer second opinions when asked.

Watson Clinic’s Cancer and Research Center

The Watson Clinic Cancer and Research Center has also attained gold Accreditation with Commendation from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. Watson Clinic’s center has held the same accreditation since 2007. It has about a dozen clinical trials enrolling new patients at this time. Watson Clinic works and shares information with other universities and medical centers, most recently with Duke, Yale and Brown universities. Patients can watch the clinic’s website, read its newsletters or ask their primary care doctor or specialists about new trials that might be a fit.

In Polk, Central Florida businesses, will find top notch health resources for their employees.

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