Cancer Care Services

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the three main types of treatment for cancer. WhidbeyHealth Cancer Care provides surgery and medical oncology with chemotherapy services. Radiation is coordinated with centers off-island.

Surgery

Surgery is usually the first treatment for cancer. A surgeon might obtain a biopsy for diagnosis or remove the tumor itself. Radiation and chemotherapy before surgery may shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove.

Allison Alberton, MD, John Hassapis, MD and Garth Miller, MD are experienced, board-certified general surgeons. Even if you need specialized surgery off-island, you can return to WhidbeyHealth for medical oncology care ─ chemotherapy and ongoing monitoring of the cancer.

 

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is often the second step for cancer that has been staged as needing additional treatment. Most chemotherapy is given intravenously (IV) in our light-filled outpatient infusion center. We provide two private treatment rooms and eight treatment chairs with numerous amenities in a supportive and comfortable environment. A growing number of chemo-therapies are in pill form.

We know chemotherapy can be a challenging experience for patients and loved ones. Our compassion, experience and understanding come from nearly 25 years of providing chemotherapy. You are in good hands.

 

Medical Oncology

Cancer care is usually managed by a medical oncologist, who also orders chemotherapy. Three expert medical oncologists from The Everett Clinic come to the island via the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership. Wendy Wang, MD, PhD, Nancy Sharma, MD and Peter Jiang, MD, PhD see patients at WhidbeyHealth Care Care clinic on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, respectively.

These physicians collaborate closely with local primary care providers, clinic nurses and inpatient staff. Most cancer care can be managed on Whidbey. If specialized care such as stem cell transplants or a research protocol is needed, your medical oncologist will refer you accordingly and help coordinate care. We want to help you stay in your community as much as possible.

Highly-skilled nurses administer IV chemotherapies and teach people how to manage symptoms they may experience with either IV or oral medications.

Better symptom management helps ensure the person tolerates treatment well and stays on schedule. If they do, there is a higher success rate to beat the cancer. Our nursing staff, which is led by an Oncology Nurse Practitioner, includes more than a dozen Oncology Nursing Society-chemotherapy certified nurses.

In addition, most staff are oncology nurse-certified. Many of our nurses are experienced in oncology nursing in bone marrow transplant, hospice/home care and inpatient settings.

 

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the third form of treatment and is usually given five days per week for two to six weeks. Radiation therapy is a portion of total cancer care, so patients do not need to get both chemo and radiation care off-island.

Therapy is coordinated with radiation centers in Sedro Woolley at United General Hospital, in Mt. Vernon at Skagit Regional Cancer Center and in Everett at Providence Regional Cancer Center.

Referrals are usually made based on patient preference and convenience. A van is available from United General for those with transportation concerns.

 

In addition to the services listed above, our interdisciplinary Cancer Care Program team includes expertise in: