Patients have options for quality cancer treatment

When people find out they have cancer, they face difficult choices. Should they have surgery? Should they have chemotherapy or radiation? Or should they refuse treatment?

Sally Stocks Eissfeldt of Champaign faced those choices in January 2015 when doctors found brain and lung cancer.

She was referred to Carle Radiation Oncology by Kendrith Rowland, MD, Sally's medical oncologist.

"Doctors gave me options to treat my cancer," Eissfeldt said. "They weren't pushy. They gave me my options and let me make my decision. Some of the options were very drastic. After talking with my children, I told the doctors that I wanted to do radiation only—no chemo or surgery."

Because each cancer treatment is different, Sinisa Stanic, MD, radiation oncologist, and his colleagues take the time to make sure all patients receive the care that’s right for them. That’s one of the reasons the American College of Radiology recognized Carle Radiation Oncology.

"In Illinois, there are only 14 ACR-accredited radiation oncology programs. This is a high achievement that says that our patients receive high-quality cancer care,” Stanic said.

With Eissfeldt, the cancer-care goal is to shrink or even destroy the tumors.

At Carle Cancer Center, Dr. Stanic’s team treats her cancer with Stereotactic Radiation Therapy.

"We use focused radiation beams to shrink the tumors,” Dr. Stanic said. “We guide the beams using a three-dimensional scan of the tumor to make sure the radiation attacks the tumor and leaves healthy tissue alone."

Once faced with overwhelming choices, his patient couldn’t be more pleased.

“Dr. Stanic is a miracle worker in my eyes. He and the entire staff take time to talk to me and make me comfortable during the radiation treatments,” Eissfeldt said.

Eissfeldt uses other tools to fight cancer.

"I'm part of a head and neck cancer support group at Carle. We meet twice a month and talk about our experiences, and many times I learn new things," Eissfeldt said. "I also rely on prayers and support from friends.”

"It takes a lot of support to help me fight cancer."

Kimberly Harden, LCSW, a Carle Cancer Center social worker, agrees.

"Support groups help people learn more about their cancer. Participants also help one another through listening to each other, giving advice or sometimes just sharing a laugh," Harden said.

Eissfeldt's next step is a follow-up appointment in August. Dr. Stanic and Dr. Rowland will see if she needs additional treatments.

Optimistic she'll get a good report, she said, “My physicians and their support staff have provided me excellent care and support.”