Our community is fortunate. We are rightly proud of the many organizations and institutions that make the greater Fox Valley region a wonderful place to live. From quality arts to thriving businesses and attractive neighborhoods to good schools, this place we call home is pretty special.
When it comes to health care, we have access to great doctors, care focused on patients, the latest technologies and broad options for a community our size. Where cancer care is concerned, that’s never been more true than today. Our community’s cancer care has been good. Today, it’s even better.
I wish no one ever had to face the challenges of cancer. As a physician, friend and member of a loving family that has seen more than our share of cancer, I have all too often witnessed the fear, hardship, confusion, inconvenience and expense this disease creates for families. So when ThedaCare patients told us they wanted cancer care that puts them first and builds a care plan around their personal goals for treatment, health and lifestyle, we listened.
That response is typical for ThedaCare. With our new cancer care program and Regional Cancer Center, we’re applying to cancer care what we’ve been doing for years in all areas of patient care – redefining better.
For example, patients and families told us they want cancer treatment options beyond chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is an important option, certainly, but it’s only one treatment among many, and it isn’t right for every patient. Patients understand that, too. As a result, our cancer care program offers the most complete set of cancer care services north of Milwaukee. Those services include cutting edge, non-traditional and alternative treatments, as well as access to experts at Mayo Clinic. That spectrum of options allows patients and families to choose what’s right for them.
I’m proud that our premier cancer care team is led by a nationally known and sought-after expert and his commitment to honoring patients’ wishes, pursuing cure and leveraging clinical trials is reflected among our entire team. I’m also proud that each one of our providers works to share standards across our system. No matter where patients are seen, or their individual situations, each one experiences the same, high quality care.
Some folks seem to think there’s a cancer care rivalry going on around here. I’ve mentioned before in this column that sometimes competition in healthcare is good for a community. It gives consumers, patients and purchasers real choice. It spurs genuine improvement and better results for everyone.
I propose we all focus our energy on our common rival: cancer. That’s what our community needs, what patients and families deserve, and what will set cancer on its heels – regardless of where patients are treated. As a community, could we be as proud of the quality cancer care available here as we are of the many other amenities that contribute to our quality of life? I’d like to think so.
Dr. Dean Gruner is president and CEO of Appleton-based ThedaCare. To send your thoughts to Gruner, email firstname.lastname@example.org.