Beloit cancer services now under one roof

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Gina Duwe
Saturday, January 18, 2014

BELOIT--Cancer patients now will be able to get all their treatment under one roof in Beloit with the opening of the new $11.6 million Beloit Cancer Center.

An open house will give the community a look at new radiation technology and 15 semi-private or private chemotherapy treatment rooms.

Previously, patients received chemotherapy at Beloit Clinic while radiation treatment was provided at Beloit Hospital, said Sharon Cox, director of oncology.

“Now, with opening this center, we're able to provide that in one facility,” she said, providing more convenience for patients who could receive both treatments daily.

Fifty-two percent of cancer patients in the area need both radiation and chemotherapy, she said.

The Beloit Health System/UW Cancer Center facility was built on a five-acre parcel at the corner of Lee Lane and Milwaukee Road/Highway 81 on the east side. It was designed to serve patients in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Cox said.

Collaboration allows doctors at the center to have the expertise of the UW Carbone Cancer Center behind them for both radiation and medical oncology, Cox said. Dr. Walter Vogel, medical oncology; Dr. Peter Mahler, UW radiation oncology; and Dr. Shelly Johnsen, family practice and palliative care, are based at the new center.

The center participates in UW Health's treatment protocols and videoconferencing with UW Carbone Cancer Center and has access to many of the UW Carbone Cancer Center's clinical trials and quality initiatives.

A new Elekta Linear Accelerator, the machine used for radiation treatment, allows doctors to use different techniques that are more precise, Cox said.

“The beams are more focused in the places they need to be for the patient,” she said.

The device also is equipped with video technology run through an iPad/smartphone system that can play music and project photos and video on the ceiling while the patient receives treatment.

“It could be very personal if patients brought in their own technology to plug into our system,” Cox said. “It gives them the ability to hopefully forget what they're doing and pay attention to things more personal to them.”

The new medical oncology area is increased twofold and allows for more privacy while providing easy access outside to walking paths with two serenity ponds, which are connected by a stream and waterfalls.

Cox said the center is taking a multidisciplinary approach, including psychotherapy counselors and integrating massage therapy. Short complimentary massages will be available for patients and family members as part of a line of massage therapy services “to just get a more holistic approach and treat the patient and emotions and everything else,” she said.

The center has social workers available for financial counseling, and a lab at the center adds convenience and reduces waiting times, she said.

The center also is now a stop on the Beloit Transit bus routes.

Plunkett Raysich Architects of Milwaukee was the architect for the center, and Klobucar Construction of Beloit was the contractor.

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