June 22, 2021 In The News

Want to recognize a GHCI physician, nurse, volunteer or staff member? Please complete the form below to nominate them for our quarterly recognition program! Be sure to use specific examples of how this person demonstrates our values and demonstrates exceptional patient/customer service.

Nomination submission deadline: Feb. 15, May 15, Aug. 15, Nov. 15

The selection committee will review each nomination and choose a winner for each quarter. Those not chosen will be eligible for the award for one full year (from the date of the nomination).

Employees, physicians, volunteers, patients, visitors and family members can submit a nomination.

Click here to nominate a GHCI employee



June 18, 2021 In The News

Thanks to virtual reality headsets, now in use at Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute (GHCI), chemotherapy patients can “travel” to a favorite peaceful destination during their treatments, helping relieve anxiety, apprehension, depression and pain, and reduce the side effects of fatigue. Patients feel more energized after their virtual reality experience.

Research shows, and patients have reported, that the use of virtual reality headsets is improving the patient experience. A pilot study on the virtual reality program documents overwhelmingly positive comments from patients. All of the participants said they enjoyed the experience, 98 percent reported it was relaxing, and 64 percent said it reduced anxiety and boredom. 

“Our virtual reality headsets are a way for patients to transform themselves to a place of happiness, peacefulness and relaxation,” finds Sue Root, Quality of Life director at GHCI, who was instrumental in obtaining the funds to offer this service to patients.

“Patients are worried and anxious about their chemotherapy. What is going to happen? Will they be in pain? Will the treatments work? How long do they need to stay connected to an IV line? The minutes seem to drag on and on during their therapy, and so can their added stress,” Root notes. “If we can provide a positive, relaxing distraction, an escape from their life of cancer, patients will feel much better and more comfortable about their treatments and leave here much happier,” she finds. “We are helping remove them from the reality of their treatment and taking them to a place of peacefulness.

“You can tell someone how to meditate and imagine they are in a place of calmness, but during a chemotherapy session, that is almost impossible with all of the surrounding distractions,” Root finds. “Virtual reality through our headsets allows patients to see the visuals and hear the sounds of comfort, making it so much easier to find that place of peace.”

The headsets are simple to use. They are a hands-free individual unit. Patients can choose from 36 different experiences – life on a beach in Cape Cod, Irish landscapes, swimming with aquatic life or listening to and watching the gentle, soothing sounds of ocean waves. They also can tune into general educational information about their cancer, treatments, side effects and what to expect as a cancer patient – information they received from their physician but also offered visually and in easier to understand terms they can listen to as often as they want. The GHCI staff will show patients how the headsets work and guide them through the process of finding programs they want to watch. Programs run from five to 10 minutes in length.

The headsets are available to any patient undergoing chemotherapy but are not recommended for patients who have issues with dizziness, vertigo or motion sickness. 

To learn more about this new service, offered only at GHCI, call Sue Root at 810.762.8022.



May 11, 2021 In The News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2021

(GENESEE COUNTY, MI) Did you know the bankruptcy rate among cancer survivors is 260 percent higher than those who live without cancer?

New Day Foundation for Families is a statewide organization dedicated to helping relieve some of the financial burden of families dealing with cancer. New Day works in partnership with Michigan hospitals and cancer centers such as Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute to customize a financial treatment plan. Studies show that financial difficulties for cancer patients have led to serious debt, bankruptcy and a disruption of needed medical treatment. 

New Day Foundation provides vital resources to bridge this financial gap, allowing cancer patients to focus on their health instead of their financial concerns. 

Katrina Skelton of Caro, a Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute patient, is just one individual who has benefited from New Day Foundation support.

“Thanks to the foundation, I received a one-year prescription of medical Ensure to help me gain weight. It is quite expensive, and we cannot afford to buy it on our own. I now weigh 101 pounds, the first time in four years that I have weighed over 100 pounds!” she is thrilled to announce. The product is delivered to her home every four months.

New Day Foundation also has paid for Katrina’s gas so she can travel the 112-mile round trip from Caro to Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute for her chemotherapy and radiation treatments. “The foundation also took care of our electric bill. They have helped our family so much!”

Amanda Boes, social worker at Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, helped Katrina complete an application for financial assistance from New Day. “I would not have known about this service if Amanda hadn’t helped me out,” Katrina points out.

This is Katrina’s second battle with cancer, and she is very hopeful it will be her last. Her   physicians – Surgeon Douglas Iddings, DO; Radiation Oncologist Paul Kocheril, MD: and Medical Oncologist Rizwan Danish, MD – all work at Genesys  Hurley Cancer Institute. “I’ve got a great team of doctors,” she reports. “I’m in very capable hands.” 

Katrina admits she initially sought treatment at another cancer center and was disappointed in the care and service. “Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute doctors and staff have a special kind of caring I did not find at the other center.”

“New Day Foundation has helped families of our patients at Christmas so the kids still could enjoy the holidays,” reports Suzy Hosler, executive director of Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute. “The organization also has provided thousands of dollars in financial support for our patients who are struggling with paying rent or utilities. We are very grateful for their assistance.”

New Day Foundation for Families has been in existence for 14 years. The organization has raised more than $5 million to help more than 4,500 families in Michigan. Its services include financial assistance for children and adults undergoing treatment, emotional support – licensed therapists provide services for free – Care Packs to families (containing comfort items such as blankets, prayer shawls, journals and age-appropriate toys), and financial services (New Day can help patients optimize insurance plans and minimize out-of-pocket medical costs and prescriptions). The organization also has volunteers who can grocery shop and deliver groceries to patients unable to do their own shopping.

“Families facing cancer have been hit hard during the pandemic,” reports Gina Kell Spehn, co-founder and president of New Day Foundation for Families. “All of us at New Day are addressing the emotional and financial impact of COVID-19 on our community. From loss of income and delayed treatment to food instability and increased risk of contracting the disease, our families are

facing more obstacles than ever before,” she finds. “We are fortunate to have wonderful hospital partners such as Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute and social workers like Amanda Boes to connect us to families in need.”

To learn more about New Day Foundation for Families, visit its website: foundationforfamilies.org. 

To learn more about Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute and its services, visit the website at ghcr.org or call the institute at 810.762.8226. 

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, right here, where you need us.



April 28, 2021 In The News
Amanda is a patient advocate and views herself as a “neutral source” patients and families can rely on through the many phases of their cancer treatment.

You just received a diagnosis of cancer and you are feeling overwhelmed.

“I’m scared …”

“Will I lose my job? I can’t take time off work.”

“I can’t afford treatment.”

“How am I going to tell my family?”

“I don’t know anything about cancer and treatments.”

“Who is going to help me?”

“I’m just too busy to deal with this.”

Fortunately, Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute (GHCI) has assembled a team of experts to help you. An integral part of the team includes an oncology social worker who will provide the answers you are looking for. Amanda Boes, social worker at GHCI, is trained to educate, guide and equip patients with the tools to help empower them to progress through their treatment.

“I believe that is why Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute excels over other facilities,” Amanda announces. “Each member of the team utilizes his or her own specific skill set combined with the patient’s input to create a comprehensive treatment plan.”

Amanda is a patient advocate and views herself as a “neutral source” patients and families can rely on through the many phases of their cancer treatment. “It is important to be organized when navigating through treatment. One of the ways I can assist patients and families is by helping them plan for the psychosocial challenges they are currently experiencing and may have in the future,” she reports.

“I meet the patients and their families and assess their individual needs. No patient encounters are alike. One patient may only need to talk with me once during treatment, where other patients may need me daily,” she points out. “I help with a variety of needs including connecting patients with needed community resources and teaching coping strategies.

“I’m here to help relieve patient worries so they can concentrate on their treatment. I find solutions to the problems they encounter during their treatment.

“At Christmas, for example, I was able to coordinate with local and state charities who sponsored many of the patients’ families so they could have a memorable Christmas,” she says.

Amanda also shares a story about a patient recently diagnosed with cancer who lost his job. It left him and his wife with no income and no health insurance. Amanda helped the patient with applying for Social Security disability benefits and Medicaid and obtaining food assistance. She also was able to secure funds to help with rental payments and utility bills. Additionally, she has been providing emotional support to the patient and his family as they learn to cope with the cancer diagnosis, treatment and post treatment.

“Removing the psychosocial barriers that prohibit the completion of treatment is critical to the patient’s overall health and well-being,” Amanda finds. “That is why I provide services to patients and their caregivers throughout all phases of their treatment, from diagnosis to survivorship to bereavement.”

Social Work services are available for patients and caregivers in person, by phone or email, and through tele-health. Social Work services are free of charge and no referral is needed.

Amanda Boes has a master’s degree in clinical social work from Michigan State University. She  is a licensed social worker through the State of Michigan. She is a member of The Association of Oncology Social Workers and the National Association of Social Workers.  

To reach Amanda, call 810.762.8112.

 



April 9, 2021 In The News

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute (GHCI) is the only cancer center in Michigan offering AccuBoost, a new, innovative, non-invasive radiation treatment option for early stage breast cancer patients choosing breast conservation therapy (surgical removal of cancerous tissue – commonly known as a lumpectomy).

“Most women with early stage breast cancer want to save their breasts, and now we have a proven technique that allows this to happen,” reports Paul Kocheril, MD, radiation oncologist and medical director of the Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute.

AccuBoost combines the power of breast immobilization and real time image-guidance with non-invasive, radiation shielding applications to achieve safe and excellent outcomes. This technique provides the radiation oncologist with as much control as possible to deliver a well-defined beam of radiation and target the radiation dose accurately and precisely to the site of the lumpectomy – the tissue that is the most likely location of future cancer recurrence.

“In traditional boost techniques, the breast is not immobilized, and often no daily imaging is conducted to ensure localization of the targeted area,” Dr. Kocheril finds. In addition, the AccuBoost technique is “100 percent non-invasive. We don’t insert any type of device or catheter into the breast to deliver treatment.”

According to Dr. Kocheril, MD, numerous published reports in reputable medical journals indicate patients with early stage breast cancer who choose a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy with AccuBoost have as good of a chance at survival as a patient who opts for a mastectomy.

“It is up to each individual patient which option is right for her. At Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, we discuss the options thoroughly with our patients so they can make an educated decision,” Dr. Kocheril reports.

One patient noted: “The AccuBoost technique was a much more positive treatment than previous treatments I received. I had no pain or discomfort, no burning and no side effects.”

The procedure

While the patient is seated at a mammography machine, the technologist immobilizes the breast in the machine applying only a small fraction of the pressure of a standard mammogram. Next, an image is taken while the breast is immobilized to determine the precise lumpectomy size, shape and location. These clear mammography images allow the radiation oncologist to deliver radiation to the exact site of the lumpectomy cavity and surrounding tissue.

Next, AccuBoost® applicators are placed on each side of the breast to deliver a focused radiation site. X-ray guidance targets the radiation to the lumpectomy site. The applicators, similar to a flashlight, deliver beams of penetrating radiation to the breast tissue that lies directly in front. By properly imaging the surgical site and positioning the applicators at multiple angles around the breast, the technologist is able to deliver an accumulated therapeutic dose of radiation in the target tissue without over-exposing the skin and intervening tissue and sparing normal skin and tissues. Several fields of radiation are delivered parallel to the chest wall allowing for full intensity to the targeted area while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue as well as the heart and lungs.

Results

  • Accurate targeting of radiation: real-time mammographic images allow the radiation oncologist to locate accurately the target area with confidence during every treatment session
  • Low toxicity: patients often worry about side effects to healthy tissue. The AccuBoost technique enables the radiation oncologist to minimize radiation to the heart and lungs and substantially reduce the dose to the skin.
  • Excellent cosmetic results: the look and feel of the breast is preserved.

Benefits of AccuBoost

  • The procedure is non-invasive. No devices are implanted in the breast.
  • It is a simple outpatient procedure.
  • It is extremely accurate. Accurate dose targeting is due to daily real-time imaging.
  • It is far less toxic than other techniques.
  • It provides better cosmetic results.
  • Healthy tissue is spared. Immobilization of the breast combined with daily imaging and multiple radiation beams being delivered from shielded applicators provides excellent visibility and confidence in targeting. Rather than delivering radiation directly to the chest wall (standard procedure for traditional radiation therapy), the technologist delivers the radiation beam parallel to the chest wall. When this treatment approach is combined with an immobilized breast and multiple radiation fields, the dose to neighboring organs like the heart, lungs, skin and chest wall is greatly reduced.
  • The radiation field precisely matches the target size, shape and location.
  • It is comfortable and virtually pain-free.
  • The patient has a flexible treatment schedule to fit her life activities.

Two treatment options for patients

In breast conservation therapy, patients have two primary radiation treatment options, Dr. Kocheril points out. They are whole breast irradiation or accelerated partial breast irradiation. Both approaches have shown excellent cosmetic results. AccuBoost can be used for either form of treatment.

Whole breast irradiation (following a lumpectomy) includes daily sessions of radiation therapy to the whole breast for four to six weeks, and a radiation “boost” to the tissue surrounding the site of the cancer, which has proven effective in preventing cancer recurrence. “This approach has been considered the gold standard treatment for decades,” Dr. Kocheril notes. Patients can expect each treatment – from arrival to departure – to take about 30 minutes.

Accelerated partial breast irradiation is a newer non-invasive technique that treats only the tissue immediately around the site of the original cancer. This procedure can be completed in a shorter time frame – approximately five to 10 days (twice a day for five days or once a day for 10 days) – and more easily fits into the lifestyle of active women, Dr. Kocheril finds. “Patients should plan on being at our center for about one hour. Treatment only takes a portion of that time,” he points out.

“Patient comfort, safety and convenience is extremely important,” the radiation oncologist adds. “We take many steps to make sure every patient is as comfortable as possible during treatment.”

To learn more about AccuBoost, offered only at Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, call the center at 810.762.8490.

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute … right here where you need us.



March 6, 2021 In The News

Check out our commercial airing on the pre-role for YouTube videos and other online streaming media.

From aggressive treatments to state-of-the-art technology, Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute focuses on exceptional care in a warm and welcoming setting.

Every year, thousands of Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute patients receive lifesaving care that includes programs to help with spiritual and emotional healing, and the best chance for a healthy, cancer-free tomorrow.

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, right here, where you need us.



November 20, 2020 In The News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Sue Root
Director of Quality of Life
Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute
810.762.8226
sroot@ghci.org

November 20, 2020

(GENESEE COUNTY, MI) The women of Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club – in the midst of the COVID pandemic – once again broke records in fundraising efforts to help local breast cancer patients. This year the organization raised $171,000!

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute (GHCI) patients are one recipient of these funds. This year, GHCI will receive $44,000.

“We are so grateful to the women of Warwick Hills who selflessly work throughout the year to help our cancer patients during a most vulnerable time in their lives,” announces Sue Root, director of Quality of Life services at GHCI.

The Pink Par-Tee 501c3 fund, created in 2010, provides financial support to breast cancer patients in active treatment who need help with basic needs such as rent, groceries and utility bills.

“These funds help relieve stress and worry so our patients can focus on healing,” Root finds.

According to Nancy Gignac, chairperson of Pink Par-Tee, “we were able to surpass all fundraising expectations this year because we kept our eyes on the goal, no matter how many obstacles we encountered this year.

“Our motto – ‘Together, we can make a difference,’ truly spoke volumes this year,” she adds. “The passion to help local women undergoing cancer treatment was overwhelming.”

Last year, the Pink Par-Tee group raised nearly $97,000. A portion of this money was donated to GHCI to support its mammogram clinic that is offered free to the community. Funds also went to the Pink Fund, a non-profit breast cancer organization that provides 90-day non-medical cost-of-living expenses to breast cancer patients in Genesee County who are in active treatment.

“In previous years, Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, thanks to Pink Par-Tee funds, received more than 300 breast cancer care gift bags for our breast cancer patients undergoing treatment,” Root says. Chemotherapy bags as well as radiation therapy bags were distributed to our patients. Each contained needed more than $100 in products to help in the healing process – physically and emotionally, Root points out.

“We are so ecstatic to announce that – over the past several years – the Pink Par-Tee organization has provided more than $110,000 in financial support to patients of Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute,” Root adds. “We’ve been able to help countless women and ease their financial burdens.”

Pink Par-Tee began with two young mothers who were members of Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club to honor a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since its beginnings in 2010, the organization has raised close to $1 million – all to help in the fight against breast cancer.

“We conducted a survey of 587 breast cancer survivors who benefitted from Pink Par-Tee funds to see if the money we were raising was making a difference in their lives,” Gignac says. “We learned that about 1/3 of the recipients were more scared about how their treatment would affect their finances rather than their outcome.”

The survey also revealed that 64 percent of breast cancer patients were paying up to $5,000 in out of pocket medical related expenses, 21 percent were paying between $5,000 and $10,000, and 16 percent were hit with more than $20,000 in out of pocket costs.

In addition, 41 percent of the survey respondents said they skipped treatment or medication to save money. Forty percent are still in debt after treatment.

“A diagnosis of breast cancer is devastating for a woman as well as her loved ones,” Gignac notes. “It can drain a family emotionally, physically and financially. Our hope through Pink Par-Tee is to relieve some of this burden.

“We especially want to extend a huge thank you to our donors who helped us realize such a successful fundraising year in a time of such uncertainty.”

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute provides the newest treatments and technology in a warm,   welcoming, home-like setting – right here where you need us. Visit ghci.org for more information.

 

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Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute

302 Kensington Avenue (Print a Map)
Flint, MI 48503

810-762-8226 | 888-762-8675

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