Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and colorectal surgeon and expert, Satyadeep Bhattacharya, MD, is speaking out with advice for consumers on this potentially life-threatening disease.

“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with over 56,000 people expected to die from this disease each year,” Dr. Bhattacharya explains. “However, it is a preventable and very curable disease if caught early.”

Because there are often no symptoms when it is first developing, colorectal cancer can only be caught early through regular screening. “The benefits of early detection and treatment are dramatic,” Dr. Bhattacharya says. “The possibility of curing patients after symptoms develop is only 50%, but if colorectal cancer is found and treated at an early stage before symptoms develop, the opportunity to cure it is 80% or better.”

“Most colon cancers start as non-cancerous growths called polyps. If we are able to find these polyps while they are still non-cancerous, we remove them and the cancer may be prevented. Major surgery can usually be avoided, as well,” Dr. Bhattacharya adds.

Colorectal surgeons are experts in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of colon and rectal problems and play an instrumental role in the effective screening, prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. Studies have shown that patients treated by colorectal surgeons are more likely to survive colorectal cancer because of their advanced training and the large number of colon and rectal disease surgeries they perform.

For the first time ever, this area has a Fellowship trained colon and rectal surgeon. Satyadeep Bhattacharya, MD, was a colorectal surgical Fellow at Brown University in Rhode Island. Many of the procedures that Dr. Bhattacharya performs were once unavailable locally. Patients now have the option to stay here.

Some of Dr. Bhattacharya’s specializations include:
  • Colorectal cancer and polyps
  • Anorectal abscesses and fistulas
  • Hemorrhoid and anal fissures
  • Diverticular disease
  • Chrone’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis
  • Constipation, incontinence, rectal prolapse
  • Minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic colorectal surgery
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy
Dr. Bhattacharya is located at Memorial Professional Office Building, Suite 300. To make an appointment, please call 618.457.3006.

Whipple Procedure Success

Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease that has one of the poorest prognoses. The survival rate of pancreatic cancer is low since symptoms develop late. However, for some pancreatic cancer patients, a complex surgery known as the Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy) offers an option for surgical removal of the tumor. This may extend life and could be a potential cure.

Surgical Oncologist, Suven Shankar, MD, has completed two successful Whipple procedures since his start with SIH Medical Group in July 2013.

The Whipple procedure can take several hours to perform and requires great surgical skill and experience. Dr. Shankar attributes his successful Whipple procedures to pre-operative multidisciplinary care, meticulous surgical technique and excellent post operative nursing care that involves a team of doctors and ancillary staff.

Dr. Shankar is located at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Professional Office Building in Suite 302.For an appointment, call 618.457.3006

Inspiring Hope Through Art

art hope email Inspiring Hope Through Art
Calling all artists and photographers. Your commissioned work could inspire hope and healing by being displayed at the new comprehensive cancer center in Carterville.

Our goal is to design the cancer center in a way that promotes health and healing for our cancer patients. Your art could be a part of that vision

Join us for a special preview of the cancer center.

Tuesday, January 28
5:30pm to 6:30 pm
SIH System Office
University Mall, Carbondale

  • Find out how to submit a proposal.
  • Join us for a virtual tour of the center.
  • Get a feel for how you can blend your artistry with our vision.
  • Learn more about this unique opportunity.

RSVP Requested: 866.744.2468
Please share with other artists & photographers

You can still submit art even if you cannot make the event. Download the Artist Packet with all necessary information.

Make 2014 Your Year to Get Free From Smoking

  • Your blood pressure decreasing
  • Your pulse rate dropping
  • The body temperature in the feet and hands increasing
  • Smell and taste improving
  • Lung function increasing
  • Heart attack risk decreasing
  • Improved circulation
  • Less coughing
  • Less shortness of breath
  • Less sinus pain and congestion
  • Your risk of lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder and kidneys decreasing
  • Your risk for ulcers decreasing

All of this, when you quit smoking.

Register now for Freedom From Smoking. This new American Lung Association, 7-week program is now offered at Herrin Hospital beginning January 9.
Call 618.942.2171 ext. 35394.

This program addresses the physical, mental and social aspects of nicotine addiction. Sixty percent of participants quit smoking by completing Freedom From Smoking in conjunction with smoking cessation medications. You’ll be six times more likely to be smoke-free after one year and be reaping the benefits above.

Most insurance plans cover this outpatient service. However, if you do not have insurance, please inquire about payment options. Call 618.942.2171 ext. 35394.


Let Your Holiday Spirit Shine, Even With Cancer

Looking cancer in the face every day can be challenging. Facing that challenge over the holiday season can be exceptionally difficult. One important thing to remember is to put one foot in front of the other and take one day at a time.

Below are some tips to help both patients and caregivers handle the additional challenges that the holidays can bring.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. It is perfectly normal to go through an array of emotions during holidays and special occasions. You may feel joyful, sad, hopeful, worried, happy and angry, which are all to be expected. The important thing is to talk to someone about your feelings. Don’t hold everything in.
  2. Take time for yourself. The holiday season can cause fatigue for those not facing cancer. Take time to rest and relax. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to an event or task.
  3. Adjust your expectations. Realize that this holiday may be different than those you’ve had in the past. It might be time to start a new tradition.
  4. Talk to your health care team. If you are having difficulties with coping, talk to your doctors and nurses about your concerns. If you need to change an appointment date or time, ask your health care provider. Most can be flexible to accommodate a special occasion.
  5. Ask for help. If you’ve always been in charge of organizing your holiday celebration, ask someone else to take charge this year.
  6. Enjoy special moments. Though this holiday may not be the same as it’s always been, it can still be memorable. Stay flexible and be kind to yourself and your family.

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FAQ: What Women Need to Know About Dense Breast Tissue

Why you need to know

The Illinois legislature has passed Senate bill SB2314 which requires that all mammography/breast imaging facilities notify patients if they have dense breast tissue. Beginning January 1, 2014, if your mammogram at either the Breast Center in Carbondale or Herrin indicates that you have dense tissue, you will receive a results letter informing you about the impact of tissue density.

What is breast density?

Breast density refers to the amount of fat and tissue in the breast as seen on a mammogram. A dense breast has more tissue than fat. Younger women usually have dense breasts. As women get older, their breasts become less dense. After menopause, breast tissue of most women is replaced by fat. Some older women who use hormones may have higher breast density though until they stop using hormones.

density 550 FAQ:  What Women Need to Know About Dense Breast Tissue

How do I know if I have dense breasts?

Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. There are four categories of mammographic density. The radiologist assigns each mammogram to one of the categories. Your physician should be able to tell you whether you have dense breasts based on where you fall on the density scale.

Breast Density in the U.S.

  • 10% of women have almost entirely fatty breasts.
  • 40% of women have scattered areas of fibro glandular density
  • 50% of women have either heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breast tissue

density piechart FAQ:  What Women Need to Know About Dense Breast Tissue

Why is breast density important?

Having dense breast tissue may increase your risk of getting breast cancer. Dense breast also make it more difficult for doctors to detect breast cancer on a mammogram. Dense breast tissue can look white or light gray on a mammogram. Lumps, both benign and cancerous, also appear white on a mammogram. Learn more about Screening & Diagnostic Mammograms at the Breast Center

If I have dense breasts, do I still need a mammogram?

Yes. A mammogram is the only medical imaging screening test proven to reduce breast cancer deaths. Many cancers are seen on mammograms even if you have dense breast tissue. 3D mammography and breast MRI can also help find breast cancers that cannot be seen on conventional 2D mammography. How to prepare for a mammorgram.

What should I do if I have dense breasts? What if I don’t?

If you have dense breasts, please talk to you doctor. Together, you can decide if any additional screening exams are right for you. If your breasts are not dense, other factors may still place you at increased risk for breast cancer-including a family history of the disease, previous chest radiation treatment for cancer and previous breast biopsies that show you are high risk.

Talk with your doctor and discuss your history. Even if you are at low risk, and have entirely fatty breasts, you should still get an annual mammogram starting at age 40. Breast Center

Inspired by a cancer survivor? We want to hear about them!

The SIH Cancer Institute is celebrating survivors! Perhaps you are amazed by someone making the cancer journey. Maybe you’ve been inspired by their strength. Or, you want to share how they make a difference in the lives of others. These are the stories we want to hear. In 300 words or less, tell us about a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker who possesses these attributes. While all of you are heroes, we will be choosing one star survivor in particular whose inspiration goes above and beyond.

Nominate a Survivor

Nomination Form

Please submit nominations by August 16 via email to or mail to
Valerie Baker c/o SIH Cancer Institute
PO Box 3988
Carbondale, IL 62902-3988

Mark Your Calendar

Be sure and mark your calendar for August 24, 2013 as we plan to toast all of our cancer survivors in the Walkers Bluff Wine Cave. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Stick around and enjoy live music at The Tasting Room following.

RSVP is required as seating is limited. Simply contact Valerie Baker at or call 618.457.5200 ext 67128 to reserve your space. This event is free for a survivor and one guest.

Honoring survivors is an important part in providing strength and support to those who face the rigorous battle of cancer. We look forward to reading your stories of inspiration, hope and courage. They motivate us to keep moving forward in our mission to treat cancer locally, providing the highest quality care, and to make a difference in the lives of our patients.

We hope you partake in this celebration of life.

celebrating survivors Inspired by a cancer survivor? We want to hear about them!


Survived Cancer… Now What?

Cancer Transitions Program Available for Cancer Survivors.

Cancer survivors are living longer. In fact, cancer today is increasingly being viewed as a chronic illness. The SIH Cancer Institute, through its survivorship series, offers Cancer Transitions™, an evidence-based program for survivors of any cancer diagnosis who have completed treatment. The program is targeted to those who have completed their treatment within the last 24 months; however, Cancer Transitions may benefit survivors at any time in their survivorship beyond 24 months. The program covers the benefits of exercise, nutrition, emotional support, and medical management—core issues for cancer survivors.

SIH Cancer Institute Patient & Family Support Services

The six-week class, taught by Tonica Anderson, Registered and Oncology Nurse, will begin on July 30. Sessions are Tuesdays from 1:00 – 3:00 PM at The Place at University Mall in Carbondale. To register, contact Anderson at 618-457-5200 ext. 67133

Life After Cancer Can be Anything but Ordinary

“Survivors often face both physical and psychological problems,” said Anderson. “This program teaches the importance of exercise, good nutrition, emotional health, quality of life and medical management in the transitional time after treatment ends.”

There is also one follow-up session four weeks after the core program ends. Every session is two and a half hours long and focuses on specific survivorship issues, led by an expert in that subject:

  • Session 1: Get Back to Wellness: Take Control of Your Survivorship
  • Session 2: Exercise for Wellness: Customized Exercise
  • Session 3: Emotional Health and Well-Being: From Patient to Survivor
  • Session 4: Nutrition Beyond Cancer
  • Session 5: Medical Management Beyond Cancer: What You Need to Know
  • Session 6: Life Beyond Cancer

To register, call 618.457.5200 ext. 67133

Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Snacks will be provided and participants will receive a free pedometer.


Cancer Rehabilitation Services Now Available in Southern Illinois

Life just got a little bit easier for cancer patients and survivors in southern Illinois.

Southern Illinois Healthcare in alliance with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) now offers cancer rehabilitation services at four locations. This brand new service offering is available before, during and after cancer treatment in order to hasten a patient’s return to normalcy. Cancer rehabilitation therapy is available at all Rehab Unlimited locations in Herrin, Carbondale, Murphysboro and Anna.

Plans are also underway to include an 1800-square foot cancer rehabilitation suite in the new SIH cancer center under construction in Carterville.


If you are a cancer patient or cancer survivor interested in learning more about how rehabilitation services can enhance your treatment and recovery, call Rehab Unlimited at (800) 597-5790

Visit Cancer Rehabilitation Online

Staff Training

Nationally renowned cancer rehabilitation educator Leslie Waltke formally trained 50 members of SIH staff, including physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), athletic trainers, assistant PTs and OTs, this spring.

“Cancer rehabilitation has been shown to improve quality of life, lengthen life span and save lives,” Waltke said. “Research show that cancer survivors who exercise have less risk of dying than those patients who are sedentary.”

Need for Cancer Rehabilitation

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 13.7 million cancer survivors were living in the United States on January 1, 2012, compared to 3 million in 1971.

“For many of these survivors, including those undergoing treatment, a multiplicity of side effects resulting from aggressive, life-saving treatments conspire to drive them down,” said Terrence Glennon, M.D., medical director of SIH/RIC Rehabilitation Services.

Cancer patients and survivors struggle with generalized weakness, fatigue, pain, poor nutrition, limited mobility and a host of other issues such as difficulty swallowing, lymphedema and bladder dysfunction. Cancer rehabilitation can help build strength and mobility and hasten a cancer patient’s return to normalcy, while enhancing their quality of life, Glennon noted.

Fresh Approach

SIH/RIC Administrative Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Dena Kirk has been actively involved in helping develop and implement the new program.

“More than 90 percent of cancer patients can benefit from rehabilitation; yet, fewer than 30 percent receive care,” Kirk said.
With more people surviving cancer than ever before, Kirk believes a service line like this is a necessity and will help build strength and endurance so cancer patients can better tolerate chemotherapy and treatment and get on with their lives.

“The response from physicians and staff has been tremendous,” Kirk said. “This is an exciting time and we have worked really, really hard to get this started!”


Cancer Center Receives Unanimous Approval from the State

Today we received unanimous approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in Chicago to build the region’s first freestanding cancer center.

The approval came on the heels of overwhelming regional support for the 42,000 square foot facility to be located on Route 13 in Carterville on 15 acres of wooded property just west of John A. Logan College.

“We are excited to move forward. From the beginning, this project has received substantial community support by way of the many letters sent to the Review Board on our behalf and fundraising support through our SIH Hope is Home campaign. We look forward to building the region’s first comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer center,” said SIH President and CEO Rex Budde.

The new center will bring all of our cancer care services—radiation, medical and surgical oncology, infusion therapy, cancer rehabilitation, clinical trials, specialty clinics and support groups—under one roof.

“This will improve quality and coordination of care, not to mention convenience for patients in the region who are at risk for or are fighting cancer,” said SIH Cancer Institute Administrative Director Jennifer Badiu.

The park-like setting along Route 13 provided the ideal location for the cancer center in terms of its central location. The site selection was critical in terms of accessibility, as many southern counties are among those with the highest cancer incident rates in Illinois.

“Of the 16 counties in our primary and secondary service areas, Franklin, Johnson and Alexander fall in the top 10 for cancer incidence rates in the state. With the exception of Jackson County, the majority of counties in deep southern Illinois have cancer rates that are higher than the state average,” Badiu said.