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Feature Article

Where You Receive Cancer Care Matters

Being diagnosed with cancer can be a frozen moment in time. A free fall where all you hear is a roar of panic in your ears.

You know you want to receive good cancer care, the best cancer care. But what goes into high-quality cancer care?

At Samaritan, cancer care encompasses not just the medical process, but a philosophy focused on patient safety, clinical excellence, emotional support and financial impact.

Cancer treatment is technical, advanced and ever-changing. Physicians at the best cancer treatment centers are committed to staying informed of the latest evidence-based research and following national guidelines in their approach to care. That means finding a cancer center that is nationally accredited, with board-certified physicians and surgeons.

“The accreditation and board certifications are all pointing toward the quality of care,” said Brad Betz, director of Samaritan Radiation Oncology. “They hold cancer centers to technical and safety standards to ensure high-quality care.”

Accreditation also ensures the cancer center offers a wide range of services using a multidisciplinary team approach, as well as access to clinical trials and follow-up care into survivorship.

Samaritan’s comprehensive approach means providing supportive services that can help make a difficult time a little bit easier. Support groups, integrative medicine, transportation, nutrition counseling and prescription assistance are all part of the package. And for out-of-town patients, access to an on-campus guest house like the Mario Pastega House can mean one less worry during lengthy treatment.

Local care has a lot of advantages, especially when Samaritan promotes team-based care.

“Our physicians meet weekly to discuss difficult cases,” said Tana Riley, who manages the program’s medical oncology services. “To get everyone in a room across all specialties — pathology, radiology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, surgery and research — to talk about treatment options is a tremendous benefit for our patients, especially for rare or difficult cancers.”

At the heart of any good cancer program is a staff that genuinely cares about its patients. As a non-profit entity, Samaritan is filled with employees who show up to work every day eager to help others.

“It’s always amazing to me that cancer patients, with everything they go through, will come to the end of their treatment and bring you cookies and give you a hug,” said Betz. “It really speaks to the excellent staff we have that patients can be so touched by their time here.”

The Samaritan Cancer Program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer, the American College of Radiology and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancers. To learn more, visit