Services and Procedures
Clinical Services Radiation Therapy
The Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center includes an experienced and dedicated team trained in providing radiation treatment to cancer patients with compassionate care. Before a patient's first treatment, the Radiation Oncologist meets with the patient to determine what kind of radiation will be most effective.
Radiation therapy treatments are delivered in our facility using advanced equipment:
Linear Accelerators - The Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center has two linear accelerators - a Seimens Oncor and a Varian 21EX. Linear accelerators are used to deliver high intensity X-Ray treatments or high energy electron treatments to the tumor. This treatment utilizes a set of sliding strips of metal called a Multileaf Collimator to protect healthy, non-cancerous tissue while maximizing the radiation dose delivered.
Dedicated CT Simulator - A dedicated CT scanner allows the physician to accurately direct the radiation treatments. Simulation helps your Radiation Oncologist determine your treatment portal - the exact place on your body through which the treatments will be aimed. During the simulation process, you will be asked to lie very still on a table while the dosimetrist uses a special X-ray machine called a treatment simulator. Simulation can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours to complete.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy - This noninvasive procedure allows for pinpoint delivery of radiation therapy, resulting in better tumor control and spares the healthy tissue from the radiation dose. Better control results in less damage to healthy tissues and organs surrounding the tumor, increasing a patient's chance of a better quality of life. IMRT focuses ionizing radiation on a malignant tumor in a way that spares more surrounding healthy tissue than the method commonly used. Because of the longer treatment time and involved planning procedures, this treatment is not for everyone. For those who are good candidates for IMRT treatment, it can decrease side effects and increase the amount of dose delivered safely.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy - This procedure utilizes radiographic or ultrasonic imaging devices to accurately position the patient to within millimeter tolerances.
Low Dose Brachytherapy - Radioactive sources are inserted in or around the cancerous tissues. This treatment option is used to treat gynecological cancers as well as some lung cancers. The sources are left in place for the amount of time determined as needed by the Radiation Oncologist and Physicist. This invasive procedure allows for treating the tumor from the inside-out as opposed to the external radiation produced by linear accelerator treatments.
The Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center Medical Oncology department is comprised of physician practice, and chemotherapy infusion. Patients receive their needed lab and X-Rays, see the physician and receive their chemotherapy treatments most of the time on the same day.
Our registered nurses are specially trained in the most current chemotherapy agents and regimens. They act as patient advocates by providing information regarding the disease and educating on the chemo process. Certified RNs, and some with the National Certification by the Oncology Nursing Society, provide treatment follow-up to assess the patient's chemo process. These nurses also act as a patient liaison to the physicians.
The Outpatient Infusion Center at the Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center is dedicated to meeting the needs of patients from a variety of medical settings who require infusion services, including:
- IV fluid administration
- IV antibiotic administration
- Blood and blood product transfusions
- Blood draws from implanted venous access devices and PICC lines.
Nurses are available Monday through Friday starting at 8 AM, to help patients.
- MRI/Breast MRI
- Digital Mammography
- Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
- Ultrasound Biopsy
Nutrition plays a very important role in the fight against cancer. For this reason, a registered dietitian is available to all Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center patients.
Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville employs a full-time chaplain who oversees the spiritual care of our patients. The Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center also is fortunate enough to have dedicated volunteer chaplains and spiritual counselors who provide services to our patients exclusively.
Road to Recovery
Road to Recovery is an American Cancer Society program that provides cancer patients with transportation to and from medical facilities for treatment. Volunteer drivers help keep them on their regular treatment schedule.
The Shelly Coffman Patient Library
The Shelly Coffman Patient Library at the center was donated in the memory of patient Shelly Coffman, and provides patients access to computer use, the Internet and multiple Web sites related to cancer care. Also available are books, educational brochures, treatment information and more. Additionally, the Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center offers the use of wigs, free of cost to patients. The wigs are supplied to the Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center from various donors. Students from the local beauty college volunteer their time to wash and style the wigs.
The Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center currently follows approximately 25 patients who are enrolled in a clinical trial through the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, or Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. A dedicated research associate follows all patients entered on clinical trials to ensure that all requirements are met.
The Cancer Registry is a computerized database that is connected to the Kentucky Cancer Registry system, a statewide system for collection of cancer data. All cancer cases diagnosed at Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville are entered into the database. Cancer Conferences are scheduled every Wednesday at noon. This provides the opportunity for a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and other cancer care providers to assemble and hear the physician discuss treatment options that are then presented to the patient by their physician.