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Samaritan Cancer Center Procedures and Services

The Samaritan Cancer Center at Good Samaritan Hospital (GSH) in Dayton offers a wide range of services so that every resource is available to our patients. Available services include:

  • Cancer genetics
  • Medical oncology/infusion services
  • Radiation oncology
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Oncology Rehabilitation
  • Clinical trials
  • Breast cancer coordinator
  • Lung cancer coordinator
  • Melanoma coordinator
  • Support groups
  • Oncology data services
  • Lymphedema treatment

Medical Oncology/Infusion Services

Infusion Services at Samaritan Cancer Center are delivered in an environment created for easy access and comfort. Infusions are administered by nurses who are certified in oncology and experienced in providing the highest quality of patient care and education. Patients can receive chemotherapy, blood transfusions, injections, and other needed intravenous fluids in this outpatient setting.

Radiation Oncology Services

Samaritan Cancer Center radiation oncologists use the latest technologies to administer radiation therapy safely and effectively. In many cases, using IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy), physicians target tumors precisely, sparing healthy tissue from radiation, reducing side effects, and increasing cure rates.

Samaritan Cancer Center is a leader in prostate brachytherapy, using both iodine and palladium seed implants. Seed implants are available to newly diagnosed patients and to some prostate cancer patients who have received external beam radiation therapy and need additional treatment.

As a unique service, patients are offered an orientation class prior to starting their radiation therapy. This provides them with an opportunity to ask questions of staff, tour the area, and see the linear accelerators (treatment machines) in the department.

Inpatient Cancer Care

Patients are admitted to a dedicated Oncology in-patient area at GSH for cancer treatment and supportive therapies such as symptom management and palliative care.

The unit has 13 private patient rooms.  Special airflow systems designed to meet the needs of patients with compromised immune systems are available.

Factors that set the Samaritan Cancer Center apart from other programs include biweekly interdisciplinary rounds and a collaborative relationship between the inpatient and outpatient staff.

Clinical Trials

The Dayton Clinical Oncology Program offers cancer patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials approved by the National Cancer Institute and other national organizations such as the Southwest Oncology Group and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Participation in these clinical trials confirms that a cancer center delivers the most up-to-date treatment. A new treatment or new use of a treatment is compared to the standard treatment. If a new treatment is proven to work better, the patient may be among the first to benefit from it. Samaritan Cancer Center nurses and physicians want to provide patients with the most current cancer care available.

The participation rate for clinical trials through GSH is very high. Samaritan Cancer Center has more patients enrolled in clinical trials than any other program in the region. For example, the Samaritan Cancer Center was the first in the country to implement a melanoma clinical trial.

Clinical trials often help patients for whom conventional therapies have not worked. Participation in a clinical trial is completely voluntary and remains voluntary throughout treatment. Patients enter the trial before starting treatment because they may not be eligible after they have started some therapies.

Clinical trials have three phases:

Phase I: The purpose of phase I is to find the best way to administer the new treatment and to determine how much of a new drug can be given safely. By this time, phase I drugs have been studied in the laboratory and in animals, but their side effects in humans may not be predictable. Patients who participate in a phase I clinical trial are monitored carefully for side effects. This phase usually involves 15 to 30 patients.

Phase II: After safety has been established, phase II trials determine effectiveness on certain cancers. Doctors carefully monitor the cancer over the course of the trial to see if the new drug is effective. This phase involves less than 100 patients.

Phase III: The purpose of phase III trials is to determine the effectiveness of the drugs in a wide range of patients. These trials require a large number of people, often thousands. Researchers then compare the two groups over time to ascertain if the new treatment is more beneficial to survival and quality of life.

Lung Cancer Program

Lung cancer diagnosis and treatment is complex and can be fragmented across many specialties. When organized into a multidisciplinary program, however, diagnosis and treatment becomes more efficient and timely.

The program's multidisciplinary physician team meets weekly to review patient histories, radiological studies, and pulmonary findings, and to recommend treatment options. Physicians collaborate in an open forum to recommend treatment while adhering to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. The team of specialists includes pathologists, radiologists, pulmonologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, thoracic surgeons, a nurse coordinator, a clinical trials nurse, and a cancer data specialist.

Lung Cancer Coordinator

Diane Tousignant, RN, BSN, is the Lung Cancer Coordinator. She monitors all chest x-rays done at the GSH main campus and Good Samaritan North Health Center.

Abnormal chest x-ray results are forwarded to the patient's family physician for further follow-up.  The goal is to detect lung cancer at an early stage and thus improve patient outcomes.

When patients are diagnosed with lung cancer, the Lung Cancer Coordinator meets with them to educate and guide them through the diagnostic and treatment process. Diane gives each patient the book "A Journey to Hope and Healing." This publication was created by GSH staff and physicians to help educate patients about their disease and treatment.

In addition to monitoring the program’s quality goals, Diane facilitates the weekly lung cancer treatment planning conference, during which physicians and staff members discuss patient cases, goals, and outcomes. This group is responsible for maintaining the high standards GSH sets for cancer care.

Breast Cancer Program

The Samaritan Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Program is the first in the nation to receive certification by the Joint Commission. The program is based on the belief that a team approach and good communication among providers and with the patient are critical to successful diagnosis and treatment. The program works collaboratively with the Samaritan Breast Center, which provides the latest technology in a state-of-the-art facility.

The Cancer Center's team of breast cancer specialists, who meet weekly to discuss all newly diagnosed cases, includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, a radiologist, and a pathologist, as well as the breast care coordinator, a mammography technician, the clinical trials nurse, and the cancer data specialist. The Breast Cancer Program follows national guidelines from the NCCN.

Breast Care Coordinator

Ann Lensch, RN, BSN, MS Certified Breast Health Specialist, is the Breast Care Coordinator and is available to answer questions, educate, and provide support. When mammogram results are suspicious for cancer, she becomes an advocate for the patient and a liaison to the Samaritan Cancer Center, facilitating patients’ appointments when necessary and communication among care providers.

Ann monitors quality measures and outcomes so that care continually improves. She facilitates the weekly breast cancer treatment planning conference, during which multidisciplinary physicians and staff members meet to discuss patient cases, goals, and outcomes. This group is responsible for maintaining the high standards GSH sets for breast cancer care. In addition, each patient is given a copy of our award-winning book A Woman’s Journey Toward Healing, which guides women through diagnosis and treatment.

High-Risk Breast Cancer Program

GSH Samaritan Cancer Center is planning to introduce a clinical program for women who are at high risk for breast cancer. The program will advise women with risk factors regarding genetic counseling, testing, and diagnostic exams to further assess their risk of developing breast cancer. Those who are identified as having higher-than-normal risk will have the opportunity to participate in a surveillance program to help them monitor their risk for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Support Group

A support group for those who have breast cancer, “SOS - Sharing Our Strength,” meets monthly at Good Samaritan North Health Center in the Education Center, Rooms A & B, on the third Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm. All breast cancer patients and their support persons are invited to attend.

Most sessions include a guest speaker, followed by discussion and sharing among the attendees. This is a warm and friendly environment for those just diagnosed with breast cancer as well as anyone who has had breast cancer in the past.

Most of the women in this group have been to the Samaritan Breast Center, but about 30 percent of the participants have been diagnosed or treated elsewhere. New group members are welcome.

Multidisciplinary Melanoma Program

The Multidisciplinary Melanoma Program is the newest Samaritan Cancer Center program providing coordinated, comprehensive care. The program debuted in 2006, providing patients with timely evaluation and clinical management following NCCN guidelines. Program components include clinical trials for new treatment modalities and referral to our onsite genetics counselor. Patients are referred to the program by a primary care physician or dermatologist. Care is delivered either at the GSH main campus or Good Samaritan North Health Center.

Melanoma Care Coordinator

In addition to her duties as Lung Cancer Coordinator, Diane Tousignant also coordinates the melanoma program. She meets with each patient to discuss abnormal test results and to provide one-on-one counseling and education. As coordinator, she guides patients through the variety of diagnostic and treatment procedures available to them. The coordinator follows patients through the treatment process, helping them by providing care coordination and communication among providers and continually educating patients about their condition.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is an approach to effectively treat the growing number of people with complex, advanced illness. Palliative care is a multidisciplinary program that strives to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for patients, help families navigate a complex and confusing medical system, and help clinicians handle difficult communication issues and coordination of care. This program strives to fulfill the ethical, clinical, regulatory, educational, and financial imperatives required to provide the comprehensive services that our patients and their families need and deserve. Palliative care is for all patients, not just those with cancer.

Cancer Genetics Program

Hereditary cancers are relatively rare but are important to identify. Because people with hereditary susceptibility to cancer have increased risk for early-onset disease and multiple cancers, specific guidelines for cancer management and cancer prevention have been developed for affected families. When a precise genetic mutation is identified, at-risk family members can be counseled, tested, and offered increased surveillance and cancer prevention options.

Genetic counseling has been available for more than a decade at GSH. The program is staffed by three genetic counselors—Faith Callif-Daley, Ruthann Pfau, and Heather Workman. Oversight is provided by a medical geneticist, Dr. Marvin Miller.

Patients are seen at Dayton Children’s Medical Center and the Samaritan Cancer Center.