ALPENA - Alpena Regional Medical Center's Cancer Center has been open for the past 11 years, treating patients diagnosed with cancers and other hematology-related diseases through a partnership with the University of Michigan. On Friday, Theodore Lawrence, MD, PhD, and Isadore Lampe, professor and chair of the department of radiation and oncology at the University of Michigan, visited Alpena as doctor for the day, caring for any radiation oncology patients at the cancer center.
"The partnership with the University of Michigan allows our patients to get the same care that they would receive in Ann Arbor, it's pretty special to deliver this kind of care in a rural setting," Douglas Kreis, director of ARMC diagnostic imaging, said.
Kreis said the partnership provides exceptional care for the community, and provides support for local physicians who are able to interact and collaborate with other physicians in Ann Arbor.
"Dr. Lawrence is here as our coverage, making sure patients are taking care of. He's also responsible for the indirect supervision of the radiation side of Alpena's cancer center. He brings new techniques to the table and is nationally known for his work," Kreis said.
The cancer center is a radiation venture, owned 50 percent by the University of Michigan and 50 percent by ARMC. According to Kreis, the university provides physician services, resources and invaluable tools to Alpena.
Lawrence was busy during his visit to Alpena, where he covered 16-20 radiation patients on Friday, but Dr. Andrew Young soon will take over as a full-time physician at ARMC on Monday.
"We have eight different sites, but this is one of our gems in the system. This site and part of the state is under-served, but coming here has changed the way people are cared for. In some ways I'm the proudest of this place and the impact it has on this town," Lawrence said.
According to Lawrence, the biggest change in the way the community is being served can be articulated in numbers and facts.
"If a woman had breast cancer, she had a 90 percent chance of losing her breast without radiation therapy. Now, the numbers are around 70 percent. This site looks like what patients would see in Ann Arbor, and it makes a dramatic difference," Lawrence said.
Lawrence said the partnerships with the different sites are expanding opportunities to work with local physicians and community members, which collaborate as a team, going beyond radiation oncology.
"A lot of strategic planing is involved. We looked at different areas and explored to see if people had an interest in radiation, it's really a two-way street. Our services here are immediate and are really helping people," Lawrence said. "We're really in it from A-Z from care to techniques and purchasing equipment, it's a team approach."
Lawrence said the overall goal with the partnerships is to help people living in Michigan receive the best care they can get, while remaining close to their home and families.
According to Kreis, ARMC receives approximately 200 new radiation and oncology patients every year, and diagnoses 450 cancer patients annually while primarily servin Presque Isle, Montmorency, Alcona and Alpena counties.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.