Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

A peek inside the SIH Cancer Institute


A Room With a View

Using nature’s elements to inspire healing is most recognized in the 4,050 square feet of the new Infusion Therapy Services. The area is surrounded by a large expanse of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the beautiful natural landscape of the Crab Orchard Wildlife Preserve. A man-made pond and walking paths are also in view.

The natural light filters into the space while patients receive their intravenous treatments. The amenities of Infusion Therapy Services are intended to provide a warm, welcoming, comfortable and healing environment for patients, their loved ones, as well as staff.

Patients have opportunities to receive treatment in private setting, or in open “pods” that allows for interaction with other patients. Each infusion station includes a comfortable recliner, access to wi-fi, and individual TVs. Seating for family members at each patient station encourages family involvement in the patient healing process.

Staff members have access to state of the art technology and work space that will improve the level of care patients receive, while maintaining patient privacy.


New radiation technology helps doctors treat patients more accurately with fewer visits.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is a radiation treatment for the body that utilizes a specially designed coordinate system to find the exact location of a tumor in the body. It is extremely precise and involves the delivery of a few high dose radiation treatments, usually five or less. For patients with brain tumors, Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) will be available. SRS delivers treatment in a way similar to SBRT, but it is usually accomplished with a single treatment.

“Undergoing radiation treatment is challenging enough without considering the travel time for other appointments. This center will immediately improve that aspect,” said radiation oncologist, Michael Little. “Perhaps, even more so, it’s a message of hope for the people of southern Illinois.”

According to Lori Cohen, Radiation Oncology Manager, it saves patients from several weeks of daily visits, and by having the technology local, it saves them from going to St Louis for treatment.

The two radiation therapy machines will feature SBRT, SRS, and Rapid Arc therapies as well as the conventional therapies of IMRT and 3-D Conformal.

Radiation oncologists, Drs. George Kao and Michael Little, will both now see patients at the new SIH Cancer Institute in Carterville exclusively.

“23 years ago, one of my patients told me, “Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day,’ said Kao. “I’ve remembered that quote watching this dream of the cancer center become real—a place where patients are treated with respect and kindness; and while getting best cancer treatment in the area.”

You’re invited to the Grand Unveiling of the region’s own comprehensive cancer center built for the community, by the community.

Friday, February 20at 11:30am – 6:30pm
1400 Pin Oak Drive, Carterville, IL

Self-guided tours available during the open house. Ribbon cutting takes place at 12:30 pm.

View the event on Facebook

We’re Starting the Move

This November, Southern Illinois Healthcare received keys to the new cancer center structure in Carterville. Now the work begins to move the various cancer departments into the facility.

The list below represents the comprehensive components of the center. What you may not have realized is that nearly all of the departments have existed in southern Illinois for some time. The impressive list helps you see what we’ve been working all along—how all these elements, under one roof, will make it easier on patients fighting one of nature’s toughest diseases.

Radiation Therapy
Medical Oncology
Surgical & Specialty Clinic
Infusion Center
Cancer Rehabilitation
Patient Navigation
Cancer Registry
Cancer Education Resource Center
Beauty Within Boutique
Green Leaf Café
Conference/Education Classrooms
Complementary Therapy
Support Groups/Services

In the coming months the tedious work begins of bringing all these elements in the same space to function together in a seamless process. All the technological equipment will be installed: phones, computers, radiation therapy equipment, etc. Departments will move in with medical records, staff and supplies. Process flows will be fine-tuned, analyzed and reworked. The finer details of interior design will happen including the installation of the local artwork from our Inspiring Hope Through Art contest.

The many moving parts will take some time, but our goal is to open in March of 2015. Look for future announcements regarding our grand opening.

Purple =
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month begins in November. Many people may have heard of Pancreatic Cancer but during this awareness month, Surgical Oncologist, Suven Shankar, MD, urges you to help raise awareness by educating yourself, educating others and getting involved.

What is pancreatic cancer?

  • Pancreatic cancer is the 8th most common malignancy and the fifth leading cause of adult cancer death in the US.
  • Pancreatic cancer can be divided into tumors from exocrine pancreas and endocrine pancreas.
  • The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for pancreatic cancer in the United States are for 2014:
    • About 46,420 people (23,530 men and 22,890 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
    • About 39,590 people (20,170 men and 19,420 women) will die of pancreatic cancer
  • Rates of pancreatic cancer have been increasing slightly over the past decade or so.
  • Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US, and accounts for about 7% of cancer deaths.
  • The average lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 67 (1.5%).
  • Etiology is uncertain.
  • Pancreatic cancer will surpass breast and colon cancer to become the second leading cause of cancer death around 2020.

How can we raise awareness?

Awareness can be raised by discussing about the cancer not just in November but all through the year.

Its mention in media (TV/Radio/news) is important but also getting together pancreatic cancer patients and survivors to talk about it.

Goals about raising awareness?

  • Making the public aware that all pancreatic cancers are not the same.
  • Educating the public about the types and it symptoms.
  • Understanding different treatment options.

How do we get people involved in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month?

  • Wear purple to support it.
  • Get local organizations to arrange for pancreatic cancer talks/walks/ educational material to be given to public etc
  • Events to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research
To learn more or to make an appointment with Dr. Shankar, please call 618.457.0006.

2014 Cancer Star Survivor Nominations

Have you been inspired by someone who has been diagnosed with cancer? We want to hear about them!

In 300 words or less, tell us how a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker has amazed you by their journey or inspired you by making a difference to others.

Click here to submit your nominations by September 18, 2014.

Last year’s winner was Chuck Wright, of Valier

Wright was diagnosed with a deadly testicular cancer in November 1981, when his physician told him to go home and enjoy his last Christmas with his family. That didn’t happen.
Chuck was nominated as a star survivor by his wife, Jeanne who was inspired by his will to keep fighting and keep positive. He overcame this cancer and lived the next 31 years of his life.
Back then, his then 4-year-old son offered the source of his inspiration. “I wanted to watch him grow up,” said Wright.

Upon accepting his award, Wright said that he praises God every day. And when he recollected Christmas 1981, he said, “The hardest thing was when my 4-year-old son opened the last Christmas present. It was pretty tough.”

Wright has had his struggles along the way, also surviving two strokes. “Never give up,” said Wright.
Wright worked as a custodian for the Sesser-Valier school district for 27 years before retiring in 2011.

Click here to submit your nominations by September 18, 2014.
Call 618.457.5200 ext 67128 for more information.

Salukis Black Out Cancer

A father, a mother, a sister, a brother, a childhood friend. For the third consecutive year, SIH and Saluki Athletics have teamed up to honor family and friends in their battle against cancer at the Salukis Black Out Cancer football game on Saturday, September 27 at 6:00 pm.

What started with former Saluki football stand-out Mike McElroy’s vision to engage his team mates “in something bigger than themselves,” has since grown in size and significance, as members of the football Salukis don black Under Armour® jerseys bearing the name of someone impacted by cancer on game day. Over the years, businesses, schools and communities have rallied together to bid on a jersey for a particular namesake.

From bidding on a Black Out Cancer jersey to purchasing commemorative t-shirts and attending the Salukis Black Out Cancer football game, southern Illinoisans and Southern Illinois University alums have sent a clear message that while cancer affects all of us at some point in our lives, we will do our part to battle the disease on our own turf. Proceeds from the Black Out Cancer jersey bids and a percentage of ticket and t-shirt sales directly benefit the SIH Foundation’s Hope is Home campaign for a new cancer center now under construction in Carterville; a center designed to provide comprehensive treatment under one roof and spare southern Illinoisans cumbersome and costly travel to and from other treatment facilities.

To get a real sense and feel for the impact this game has on the young men who wear these jerseys and the friends, family and community that unite around them, visit

Jersey bidding is open on this official website until 8:00 pm on Monday, September 15.

Visit to bid

Things you might not realize about Breast Cancer

85 percent of new breast cancer diagnoses do not have positive family history.

If you were relying on the fact that none of your family members had breast cancer as a reason not to have a mammogram, think again.

According to breast surgeon, Nova Foster, while immediate family history (mother or sister) raises the risk, the actual cases of an inherited breast cancer due to abnormal genes passed from parent to child is only about 5-10%.

“Family history is always a red flag for us,” she said, “but I’m afraid only thinking about family history may give women a false sense of security.”

This is precisely why the Breast Center encourages women to get screened yearly at age 40 regardless of history.

Technology today allows breast cancer to be detected that is no larger than the head of a pin.

Certainly the monthly self exam is important. In fact about 20% of cases are detected because the patient or her doctor discovered a lump.

However, with new technology like 3D mammography, tumors can be detected that are mere millimeters–so much earlier than what can be felt by the hand.

Every case of breast cancer is different.

It’s a beautiful thing to see the camaraderie surrounding those with breast cancer. Women often find comfort sharing their stories with those in similar situations. It’s definitely an important support system. However, that is where the similarities end.

“Every case is different, every woman is different and every cancer is different,” Foster said. She recommends that each case be taken step by step. The answer may not be a double-mastectomy like Angelina Jolie. “My hope is that women don’t have a preconceived notion about their treatment.” Foster encourages women to understand going in that their treatment will be unique to them.

You Might Be Hearing Two Different Stories. Screenings Starting at Age 40 or Age 50?

Lately, some preventative teams have been reevaluating whether 40 is too soon to begin screening. However, ask Dr. Foster or any of the staff members at the Breast Center. Their answer is a definite “No, 40 is not too early to get a screening mammogram.”

According to Foster, “So many of my patients have received a cancer diagnosis before age 50 and it was because we caught it during their screening mammogram. When you see it that much, I can’t help but believe that 40 is the age to start.”

And, as with all cancers, the earlier you catch it, the better the opportunity to cure it.

The Breast Center Welcomes New Breast Surgical Director.

Dr. Nova Foster is the latest physician to join the SIH Medical Group. A board certified breast surgeon, she practices at the Breast Center in University Mall.

“It is such an amazing breast cancer program that has been put into place at SIH,” she said. “I was so impressed with the quality of care and physician caliber, especially for a rural area.”

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 May 29.
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. The January class had 100% success rate in smoking cessation!

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.

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 Contest
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.