BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — After experiencing a sore throat for several weeks, Tony Gwin of Bowling Green decided to seek treatment from his doctor.
After a round of antibiotics failed to alleviate the problem, he went to an ear, nose and throat doctor. Again, no course of treatment relieved the problem. Then, his lymph node became swollen, resulting in more comprehensive tests, including a CT scan, biopsy and PET scan. The results indicated that Gwin had tongue cancer caused by the HPV virus.
His treatment regimen, which included seven weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, took place at the ProMedica Maumee Cancer Center located outside of St. Luke’s Hospital.
“I talked about going to the Cleveland Clinic, in fact I was planning to go there, and then I met these guys and I know we have really good cancer care right here,” Gwin said. “Everyone here is great – all of them, all the way through. What is nice is that Dr. Hertzfeld is always roaming around, or Dr. Kielhorn, so if you have a question, they are here and they will just talk to you.”
While the prognosis is good for Gwin, he is recovering from the intensive treatment, which resulted in weight loss and the need to change his diet and watch what he eats.
“I have to watch spicy food and I don’t make much saliva – but the doctors think it will come back,” he said.
In September, the ProMedica Maumee Cancer Center marked one full year in Maumee. Prior to opening the center, the building was utilized by two independent service providers offering radiation and other medical services.
The cancer center offers both medical oncology and radiation oncology services, providing treatment for all types of cancer, including prostate, breast, lung, head, neck and gynecological. Last year, the center also added other care services for patients, including genetic counseling, a social worker, nutrition services, healing care and even transportation services to help patients get to appointments.
Dr. Kara Hertzfeld, who specializes in radiation oncology, said the additional services enhance a comprehensive approach to care.
“They have been very nice for our patients,” she said.
The center continues to track overall health even six months after treatment to make sure the patient is doing well, she added.
Depending on the type of cancer, patients may receive radiation, which is specific to one area, or chemotherapy, which is a systemic treatment that travels throughout the whole body. Some patients receive both.
The center offers advanced technology services and state-of-the-art procedures, including stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT, which provides precise treatment fields through a single high-dose radiation treatment.
Advances in drug therapy are also making treatment much more precisely targeted, and treatments such as respiratory gating, which track a patient’s breathing, are especially important for lung cancer patients.
Genetic testing is also available and according to Dr. Hertzfeld, the guidelines for testing have changed over the past year, making testing more prevalent; however, the testing is also very specific and should be carefully monitored.
“That’s a huge bubble, so anyone concerned about their family history should see a genetic counselor,” she said. “For insurance purposes, most of the time you can only get tested once, so if they don’t test for the right gene a person may use their window. We are finding more and more genetic links for other cancers, so it is extremely important to get tested the right way.”
To prevent cancer or any disease, Hertzfeld recommends living an active, healthy lifestyle and avoiding things that increase the risk of cancer, such as sun exposure and smoking. She also recommends routine primary care visits and following up with important health screenings such as mammograms.
The ProMedica Maumee Cancer Center is located at 5805 Monclova Rd.