Highlands Oncology Group Practice Administrator, Kathey Parker, answers questions about what happens when you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, cancer care, and cancer treatment right here in Northwest Arkansas.
If I (or a loved one) am diagnosed with Cancer – do I need to travel outside of Northwest Ar to receive quality treatment?
No, Highlands Oncology Group is the premier cancer facility in the state, with convenient locations in Northwest Arkansas. We provide every form of cancer treatment, have board certified oncologists, radiation oncologists, oncology certified advanced practice nurses and chemotherapy nurses. We also have clinical trials available for breast, colon, endometrial, hepatocellular, and lung cancers as well as non-small cell lung cancer, small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, basal cell, carcinoid, chronic myelogenous leukemia and pancreatic cancers.
What are some of the latest cancer treatments and technology that Highlands Oncology Group offers here in Northwest Arkansas?
Highlands has acquired some of the most advanced technology in the world. We have Trilogy technology for radiation therapy. It is manufactured by Varian. We also have a GE 64 slice PET/CT scanner as well as GE manufactured MRI and ultrasound technology.
In what type of setting is chemotherapy administered?
The chemotherapy suites are open with the ability to interact with other patients going through treatment. There are televisions available as well as private bedrooms. They have large windows that allow the patients to relax as they look out and see the beautiful scenery. Massage therapists are always available in the chemo suites to give hand or foot massages. They also have a chaplain available now. There is a refreshment station in the suite as well as a coffee shop on site for those wanting more than just a light snack.
What does chemotherapy feel like? Is it painful?
No it isn’t painful. Most chemotherapy drugs are given intravenous (IV) through a vein. A small plastic needle is inserted into a vein in the arm. The infusion can last anywhere from 30 minutes to many hours. Some chemotherapy drugs can be injected into a muscle or under the skin; there are new oral drugs that are taken by mouth.
They can also be given into the abdomen through a catheter, or through a needle in the spinal column or with a device placed under the scalp. There may be side affects related to the chemotherapy drugs but the medications associated with them have improved substantially over the years.
Have any advances in technology improved cancer patients experiences with treatment?
Yes there have been many advances in technology. There is cutting edge equipment for the delivery of radiation therapy which targets the cancer with unprecedented accuracy, diagnostic imaging equipment advances allowing for multiple modalities like PET and CT to be combined, the patient only has 1 scan instead of 2 and allows the radiologist to interpret and the oncologist to plan for treatment. Equipment in general is continually being upgraded based on research and development.
For more information please visit www.highlandsoncologygroup.com