Sally Rudy has come to know the Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) Cancer Care Center well during the past 12 years. First, she accompanied her son, Brian, to his daily treatment sessions 11 years ago when he was battling testicular cancer as a college student. Last year, Sally returned—this time as the patient.
Screening and diagnostic mammograms in January 2009 brought a breast cancer diagnosis for the teacher, who retired from Covington Elementary School in 2007 after 30 years. After undergoing a biopsy and then surgery in March, she made the daily trek to the Cancer Care Center for 37 days of radiation treatment.
When she first moved to Miami County, Sally thought she’d have to travel to a big city medical center for treatment of any major illness. Her experiences with the care available in her own backyard at UVMC have changed her mind.
A Personal Touch
“I was very thankful it was just a short drive for me,” Sally said. “I was so happy that I was able to have my surgery and my treatment here. It meant a lot, because I know people who had to travel to Columbus for care. I think that would have added much, much more stress. I knew I was getting good care here.”
She recalled how radiation oncologist Ronald Setzkorn, MD, serving as director of radiation for the Cancer Care Center, assured her that a “really great team” would handle her care.
“From the time I stepped in the door to the time I left, it was maybe 10 minutes. They were very efficient, on time, and yet they were very professional,” Sally said of the Cancer Care Center staff. “I was not stressed out coming here for treatment every day.”
About 500 new cases come to the Cancer Care Center each year. “Most are local residents, all requiring the professional approach, but also personal touch,” said Jean Heath, director of the Cancer Care Center. “When you work close to home, you meet people you see at the grocery store or elsewhere in the community,” Heath said of the center’s staff. “We’ve learned how to do that special touch without being too invasive. We’ve found a balance with helping patients along on this journey.”
“It is important for cancer patients to realize they are not alone in the journey,” Sally said. “I think more and more people realize that. Almost everyone, in some way, has been touched by cancer, either through a family member or friend.”
She admits to having a “soft spot” for people she sees entering the Cancer Care Center. “You just know a little bit of what they might be going through,” Sally said.