Cancer care has changed rapidly in recent years, and Fox Valley Hematology & Oncology provides our patients with leading-edge treatment focused on each individual patient’s needs and preferences. Just as every patient’s cancer experience is different, so is every treatment plan. There are several kinds of treatment available, and our providers will work with you to choose the best course of care. By keeping the patient at the center of all care decisions, we develop treatment plans that help our patients fight cancer on their own terms.
Through a system of specific diagnostic tests, including laboratory and radiological tests, your care team will determine the nature of your illness, followed by additional testing to identify the specific nature and activity of the disease. Your physician will then discuss a treatment plan that fits your individual needs and diagnosis and review any questions you may have. FVHO takes extensive care to provide accurate and fast diagnoses, including in-house laboratories at all of our care sites that enable same-day testing and often same-day results.
The successful treatment of cancer often requires several different approaches, known as multi-modality treatment, that could include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy. Your cancer is as individual as you are, and we make developing your optimal care plan a top priority. We partner this wide variety of treatment combinations with an emphasis on what your needs are as a person, including holistic remedies and an emphasis on mental and spiritual health.
Patient navigators ensure that all of the physicians on your care team, no matter their locations, work together on treatment plans and appointments for the best possible outcomes. You’re already fighting cancer, at FVHO you can leave the navigation of you care to us.
Chemotherapy is any treatment involving the use of drugs to kill cancer cells and may consist of single drugs or combinations of drugs administered through a vein, injected into a body cavity, or delivered orally in the form of a pill. With chemotherapy, cancer-fighting drugs circulate in the blood to parts of the body where the cancer may have spread and can kill or eliminate cancers cells at sites great distances from the original cancer. Your chemotherapy at FVHO will start with an education session with an APNP, who will review your personal regime, possible side effects and any questions you have about your treatment.
Radiation therapy works by using high-energy beams to target and damage the DNA in the cancer cell, disabling the cancer cells from reproducing and growing—this means that the cancer cells die and the cancer shrinks. At FVHO’s north Appleton campus, you will be treated with the advanced technology of the only stomal therapy HDA system in Wisconsin, developed and manufactured at UW-Madison. This academically created cancer treatment system looks similar to a PET or CT simulator and can treat tumors in multiple locations without you needing to reposition. Treatment takes three to five minutes instead of 35-45 minutes and is certified for incision-free brain surgery.
We partner with an expanded team of knowledgeable radiation oncologists, and our north Appleton campus that is currently under construction, will feature a radiation oncologist onsite, enabling patients to have consultations, diagnostics and treatment on the same day, in the same facility, along with holistic treatments such as massage therapy and acupuncture. Wherever your radiation therapy takes place, you will have peace of mind knowing that your FVHO team is committed to developing and coordinating your care to accomplish your health objectives.
Nearly all patients with cancer will have some kind of surgery, but as surgical techniques continue to improve, surgeries are now less invasive and often performed on an outpatient basis. Your care team at FVHO will coordinate with local surgeons to perform a biopsy in order to obtain a specimen for determining an accurate diagnosis, provide local treatment of the cancer or obtain other information to help determine whether additional treatment is necessary.
Certain cells in the body, such as prostate and breast cells, have hormone receptors on their surface. Cancerous cells have many more of these receptors—this is referred to as the receptors being “overexpressed.” Overexpressed cells are particularly sensitive to the growth-stimulating effects of hormones, so hormone therapy reduces the amount of hormones circulating in the body or blocks the receptors, preventing further growth.
Targeted therapies are designed to treat only the cancer cells and minimize damage to normal, healthy cells. This often reduces the chances of treatment-related side effects. There are a variety of methods for this, and your FVHO care team is well versed in choosing the right treatment plan for your illness. These methods include:
- Anti-angiogenic drugs, which block cancer cells from the blood that they need to survive and grow.
- Monoclonal antibodies (also called receptor antagonists), which locate cancer cell receptors and block the receptors from binding to substances in the blood.
- Radioactive monoclonal antibodies, which use radioactive monoclonal antibodies to target and kill cancer cells.
- Tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which stop the growth of cancerous white blood cells.
- Vaccines made from a patient’s own cancer cells, which are used to teach the body to recognize and attack those cancer cells.
Stem Cell Implementation
While FVHO does not provide stem cell implementation on-site, if needed, your care team will work with academic centers on rare conditions and bone marrow transplants.
A clinical trial is a research study designed to evaluate potential new treatment options by testing the safety and effectiveness of new or modified cancer drugs, new drug doses, unique approaches to surgery or radiation therapy and varied combinations of treatments.
FVHO participates in community-based trial programs and international research to provide our patients with opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research and treatments through national and regional cancer research centers. If you choose this option, your FVHO care team can enroll you in the program and monitor treatment and progress.
All of the physicians at FVHO are board-certified hematologists. They are able to diagnose blood disorders through lab tests, determine what treatment is best for the patient, whether it’s oral medication or infusions. Many blood disorders are easily diagnosed and treated within a few visits, but if the disorder is more serious FVHO is fully equipped to provide the best ongoing care.
Our full-service lab enables us to offer many lab results within the same day as your appointment. From diagnostic tests to post-treatment follow-ups, our lab staff is equipped to meet your needs throughout your care, and draws and processes lab results every day that the clinic is open.
FVHO offers multiple types of genetic testing, including blood tests drawn and processed on-site to determine the genetic factors at play in your condition. Additional genetic testing, such as genomic health and breast cancer susceptibility (BRCA) gene testing, is done in cooperation with other trusted organizations.
FVHO now provides weekend clinic hours designed to give you the care you need, in the location that’s best for you – the outpatient setting. In addition to providing urgent care services for ill patients who would otherwise be sent to a hospital, the weekend clinic adds two additional days for patients to receive regularly scheduled multiple-day chemotherapy treatments. Other services include hydration, support therapy and lab work.
The clinic will run every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., with the location rotating between the Grant Street clinic located on the Appleton Medical Center campus and the Madison Street clinic located on the campus of St. Elizabeth Hospital.
Developed for our patients with terminal illnesses, palliative care focuses on comfort and quality of life. We collaborate with physicians and family members to ensure that the transition over a patient’s remaining days is as comfortable as possible, including treatments to provide pain management.