The Cancer Center
The Cancer Center staff at Douglas County Hospital understands that your cancer experience is unique. Our staff is here to guide you and your family through your cancer journey. Your cancer treatment may include medical oncology (chemotherapy), radiation oncology, diagnostic and interventional radiology, surgery, and possibly consulting or supportive services. Our mission is to provide personal care and treatment which includes both the physical and emotional needs of you and your family.
Cancer is a life changing diagnosis which can cause uncertainity for the individual and their family. Our medical oncology team provides support and education to you and your family during your cancer treatment and survivorship.
Our medical oncology unit features:
• Eight private, comfortable, individual treatment areas
• Oncology-certified nursing staff
• Individual patient and family education
• Nutritional counseling
• Referrals for other services
Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
Imaging studies are intended to provide the physician with a road map to target areas of cancer and cancer growth in your body. The results of imaging studies assist to direct the appropriate treatment necessary for your cancer. Imaging services available at Alexandria CDI located at Douglas County Hospital:
• CAT Scan (computerized axial tomography)
• MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
• PET Scan (positron emission tomography) CAT
For more information
CentraCare Radiation Oncology at Douglas County Hospital opened in October, 1998. This is a collaborative relationship between CentraCare Health System-Melrose and the Douglas County Hospital.
Radiation therapy, sometimes called radiotherapy or irradiation, is the use of various forms of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. Modern technology allows radiation oncologists to treat tumors more powerfully and precisely while sparing much of the healthy tissue that surrounds the tumor.
Radiation is a special kind of energy carried by waves or particles that works by damaging the DNA within cancer cells and destroying the ability of the cancer cells to reproduce. It can be delivered internally or externally and can come from special machines or from radioactive substances.
Depending on the type of cancer and its stage of development, radiation therapy can be used to slow the growth of cancer, keep cancer from spreading and even cure cancer. It may also be used to kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body and releive symptoms caused by cancer.
Sometimes radiation therapy is the only treatment a patient needs, and other times it is only one part of a patient's treatment. For example, prostate and early stage larynx cancers are often treated with radiation alone. But a woman with breast cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
It is important for you to discuss the goal of your treatment with your radiation oncologist.
Your Radiation Oncology Team
The process of designing and delivering a course of radiation therapy is a complicated process that depends on the expertise of several people pulling together, including:
• Radiation oncologist who plans and prescribes your treatments.
• Medical physicist who works with the radiation oncologist to
ensure the accuracy of your treatment delivery.
• Dosimetrist who calculates the amount of radiation to be given
and works with complex computers to custom design your
• Radiation therapist who actually administers the radiation
treatments and that you will see every day.
• Registered nurse, who specializes in oncology care, is available
to help you and your family during the course of treatment.
There are approximately 5000 surgeries performed per year at the Douglas County Hospital Surgery Center. Surgical specialities available at Douglas County Hospital are:
Cancer surgeries performed at Douglas County Hospital involve but are not limited to breast, colon, lung, prostate, kidney,bladder, and gynecological conditions.
Part of your treatment plan may include surgery or other consulting physician specialities. The surgical service at Douglas County Hospital includes surgery specialists such as general surgery, urology, orthopedics, gynecology, and ophthalmology. Other consulting physician specialties include:
• Cardiology (Heart Specialist)
• Dermatology (Skin Specialist)
• Nephrology (Kidney Specialist)
• Neuro-Oncology (Brain & Nerve Cancer Specialist)
• Neurology (Brain & Nerve Specialist)
• Neurosurgery (Brain Surgeon)
• Pain Specialist
• Head and Neck Surgeon (ENT)
Palliative care is a specialty focused on improving the quality of life of individuals and families who are experiencing serious life threatening illnesses or an illness which limits activities of daily living. The goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering through pain and symptom management, communication, and coordination of care. Palliative care incorporates the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of each individual and family and coordinates care which is specific to that patient and family.
Palliative care is beneficial for individuals who may be suffering from illness such as: cancer, cardiac diseases, congestive heart failure, respiratory diseases (COPD, emphysema), Alzheimer's, AIDS/HIV, kidney failure, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Palliative care can be initiated at the beginning of a diagnosis or at any stage of the illness. It is not just for advanced stages of an illness.
Palliative care consultation is available at the Douglas County Hospital. Douglas County Hospital is listed on the National Palliative Care Registry. www.capc.org
Hospice care is intended for an individual who has a terminal diagnosis. Hospice care is focused on providing quality care for individuals and families in the last months of life who have made a decision to discontinue curative treatments. Care is designed to address pain and symptom management and support individuals and their families during this journey.
Rehabilitation and Speech Therapy
Rehabilitation services are available on site and include the following:
Physical therapy involves mobilizing, strengthening, and reducing pain to promote an individual's highest level of physical functioning.
Occupational therapy involves treatments which assist individuals in developing skills to return to their previous level of functioning which assists them to maintain independence.
Speech Therapy is designed to assist the individual with speech, language, and swallowing difficulties which interfere with communication and eating abilities.
Lymphedema is a condition in which there is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the tissues which causes swelling, usually of the feet and legs. This swelling can be caused by obstructions due to infections, inflammatory conditions, or a blockage of vessels in the lymph system. For more information on the Lymphedema program at Douglas County Hospital:
Reach to Recovery Breast Cancer Support
Reach to Recovery volunteers are specially trained individuals who have survived breast cancer and are available to offer hope, support, and education from diagnosis throughout the entire period that breast cancer is a concern for the individual and their family. Ask your physician about arranging a Reach to Recovery Volunteer visit.
Look Good Feel Better
Look Good Feel Better is a service program which is designed to teach beauty techniques to women with cancer to manage appearance related side effects from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, or other forms of treatment.
American Cancer Society www.cancer.org
American College of Surgeons www.facs.org
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) www.astro.org
American Urological Association www.urologyhealth.org
Centers for Disease Control www.cdc.gov
Minnesota Cancer Resources www.mncancerresosurces.org
Minnesota Hospice www.mnhpc.org/
National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship www.canceradvocacy.org
National Institutes of Health www.nih.gov
Susan G. Komen for the Cure www.komen.org
Commission on Cancer®
Douglas County Hospital is an accredited community hospital cancer center from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.
The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons establishes standards to ensure that cancer patients receive care that is multidisciplinary and comprehensive. For accreditation, the Commission on Cancer evaluates a program's patient outcomes, clinical management, data accuracy, quality improvement activities, research, support services and professional education.
For more information visit:
Cancer Center Annual Report