The fourth annual Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Survivorship Breakfast was filled with stories of love and support.
June is National Cancer Survivor month and many of the team of Advocate Good Shepherd Cancer Care Services doctors, nurses, treatment navigators and hospital leadership were on hand to help kick-off the month with current and former cancer patients at the annual breakfast.
After a welcome from Lanndon Rose, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Vice President of Operations and a beautiful invocation from Pastor Curlie Anderson, the event featured three special speakers.
Dr. Gia Compagnoni, MD a breast surgery, and breast oncology specialist shared her personal story with the survivors. A Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine graduate, Dr. Compagnoni explained how cancer had affected her family, including her own mother. She shared the advancements made in surgeries available at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital allowing patients less invasive procedures and shorter postoperative radiation. Robotic Surgery, specifically the da Vinci® Surgical System, uses minimally invasive methods and unlike traditional large incision surgeries where surgeons make long cuts through skin, muscle and sometimes bone. Robotic Surgeries are performed through one or more small incisions. For patients this allows:
- A shorter hospital stay
- Less pain and scarring
- Less risk of infection
- Less blood loss and fewer transfusions
- Faster recovery
- Quicker return to normal activities
Dr. Compagnoni also explained Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), a procedure performed for breast cancer patients reducing or even eliminating the need for traditional radiation. This radiation procedure can eliminate or reduce the time frame for external beam radiation treatment following surgery with a single 20-30 minute targeted radiation therapy performed during surgery directly on the area where the cancer was removed. Delivering a concentrated dose of radiation to the tumor site in surgery can destroy the cancer cells that remain, yet spare normal breast tissue.
Radiation Oncology Specialist Dr. Catherine Park MD also shared her story and explained advancements in radiation therapy and chemotherapy delivery that allow patients to be more comfortable and have fewer side effects than in years past. She explained that with the advancements in screenings and diagnostics they can better target areas to be treated. She expressed gratitude for the many patients and their families she has come to know during such a difficult time in their lives, explaining that they impacted her with their compassion and strength. Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital's Cancer Care Services offers many postoperative therapies and services including:
- Radiation Therapy:
- RapidArc radiotherapy
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) with the Varian TrilogyTM linear accelerator
- High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
- Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT)
- Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)
- Advanced Diagnostics:
- Advanced mammography with computer aided detection (CAD)
- Breast MRI
- 64-slice CT scanner
- Clinical Trials
- Support Services:
- Fitness program
- Genetic Counseling
- Lymphedema Prevention and Treatment Program
- Nutrition counseling
- Patient Navigation Program
- Spiritual support
- Support groups
The final speaker was patient and cancer survivor Collette Wiggens who shared her personal journey with cancer from diagnosis through treatment. Wiggens told stories of her learning and discoveries filled with humor everyone could relate to - from wigs to breast implants, she did not hold back! As a strong independent single person, she also shared her gratitude to those who supported her through her treatments as she found things she had trouble doing for herself. Gifts like Uber gift cards, ginger tea and saltines made all the difference in the world to her.
The annual Cancer Survivorship event wrapped up with time for survivors to mingle and a raffle for the floral centerpieces. Each attendee was also given a special bookmark made by the hospital volunteer Luv Ewes.