Lorain County Cancer Patient Finds Peace of Mind with Close-to-Home Care
June 13, 2023
Being diagnosed with cancer can be overwhelming for a person of any age. But when you’re 75, relatively new to the area and your spouse does not drive, the prospect of getting to downtown Cleveland for daily radiation treatments when you’re already physically and emotionally depleted can feel insurmountable.
The existence of University Hospitals’ state-of-the-art cancer center in Avon, just 20 minutes from her home on familiar roads, brought Peggy Weiler of Vermilion immeasurable peace.
“Not being from here, I just couldn’t go downtown,” says Peggy, who recently relocated to Northeast Ohio from Florida. “I know we’ve got GPS, but under the circumstances, my mind was focused on other things – not on directions to main campus.”
UH opened the two-story UH Seidman Cancer Center just off I-90 in Avon in 2021 to provide convenient access to medical, radiation and surgical oncology for residents of Lorain County. Patients also benefit from services at the adjacent UH Avon Health Center, including diagnostic imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scan, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound, digital mammography and X-ray, plus laboratory services and a medically based fitness center.
Peggy was diagnosed with locally advanced cervical cancer after she experienced some spotting of blood. Her primary care physician and gynecologist from another hospital system referred her to UH gynecologic oncology team lead Kristine Zanotti, MD. Dr. Zanotti was able to see Peggy at her office in Westlake.
The team worked to accommodate Peggy’s treatment needs in Avon. She underwent more than five weeks of daily external beam radiation treatments to her pelvis and associated lymph system, along with weekly chemotherapy aimed at weakening the cancer cell’s ability to repair radiation damage and thus improves survival rates. Only Peggy’s complex brachytherapy needed to be administered at UH Seidman Cancer Center’s inpatient hospital at main campus.
“The delivery of these treatments is not just complex but it is also time sensitive and must be well-coordinated for seamless care delivery,” Dr. Zanotti said, adding that chemotherapy nurses, radiation nurses, oncologists and physicists, the inpatient team and schedulers all worked together to navigate Peggy’s treatment close to home. “Interruptions in treatment once patients get started is associated with worse outcomes. And these treatments can have toxicities that need to be actively managed both for the sake of the patient’s experience but also to avoid side effects that would lead to treatment interruption.”
Peggy said the experience could not have been more pleasant.
“I had to be there every day, so that was a godsend that they were right there in Avon,” Peggy said. “The people were fantastic. The nurses were wonderful, the people in radiation were spectacular. It is so clean and everyone is so pleasant. You couldn’t feel down because they made you feel good about yourself.”
UH Seidman Cancer Center is part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University, one of just 53 comprehensive cancer centers in the country. Patients at the Avon center also have access to clinical trials that others across the system do.
Care close to home has given Peggy peace and a new lease on life: “I’ve got lots of years left in me. My warranty hasn’t run out yet.”