Community Cancer Care
2837 Ft. Missoula Road
Missoula, MT 59804
The statistics on cancer can tell you a lot about this disease. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that more than 1.5 million people each year get a new cancer diagnosis. Here in Montana, more than five thousand people will hear that they have cancer this year. That makes it likely that you know someone with this disease—or are a cancer patient yourself.
But there’s another part to the cancer story. As research finds improved methods for diagnosis and treatment, many people with cancer are living much longer. In fact, the overall 5-year survival rate for all cancers has risen nearly 20 percent since the 1970s. And many new cancer treatments are less likely to cause side effects than those in the past.
At Community Medical Center, Community Cancer Care is dedicated to providing the latest cancer treatment in the most comfortable and caring setting possible.
The latest therapies
Research continues to produce innovative treatments for cancer. At Community that includes minimally invasive procedures such as using the da Vinci surgical robot for some cancer surgeries. This type of surgery can result in fewer complications and shorter hospital stays than traditional surgery.Chemotherapy at
Community uses proven drugs and treatment protocols to deliver the precise dosages required for the best outcomes. And we ensure the safety of the medicines we use by preparing them here on site in our chemotherapy pharmacy—the only one in Missoula with this level of service. Chemotherapy pharmacies require highly specialized equipment and techniques, including pressurized rooms to protect against contaminants. Our system meets the highest government standards for these facilities.
Our radiation-oncology team uses the newest, top-of-the-line linear accelerator, which is the machine that delivers external radiation therapy. This machine can provide leading-edge treatments such as:
- 3-D conformal therapy. This uses 3-D images of the person’s body structures, along with sophisticated computer software, to tailor the radiation beam.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This uses hundreds of tiny devices called collimators to shape the radiation dose. Collimators can move during treatment to adjust the intensity of the radiation beam, and also to time it with movements of the patient’s body. Both IMRT and 3-D conformal therapy allow higher doses of radiation to the tumor with less radiation to the nearby normal tissue.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy. This delivers radiation therapy to smaller areas in higher doses, which means fewer treatment sessions.
We also treat patients with brachytherapy. Unlike external beam radiation, this therapy places the radiation source inside the body for a short time, as close to the tumor as possible. Our team uses High Dose Rate brachytherapy, which can be shaped to decrease the radiation dose to normal tissues.
Patients at Community Cancer Care are cared for by these highly-trained professionals:
- Patrick G. Beatty, MD, PhD. Dr. Beatty has 27 years of experience treating people with cancer. He is also the principal investigator for the Montana Cancer Institute, a research facility. Cancer patients at Community Cancer Care can apply to participate in one of the Institute’s research trials.
- William C. Nichols, MD. Dr. Nichols has been practicing for more than 30 years. In addition to treating cancer patients, he has lectured and published widely on issues in oncology.
- Michelle Proper, MD. Dr. Proper, a radiation oncologist with the Billings Clinic, came to Missoula to lead our radiation oncology team. She has done extensive research and worked as an associate professor, along with her work caring for patients.
- Patrick H. Archie, MD. Dr. Archie received a fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, which was named the nation’s #1 cancer center by US News and World Report. He came to Missoula from The Dalles, Oregon, where he treated cancer patients.
- Ted Fisher, PhD, medical physicist. Dr. Fisher maintains, tests and calibrates the radiation equipment and also works with others on the radiation-oncology team to ensure patients receive the exact dosage in the exact way prescribed.
- Craig Eyer, PharmD, is a chemotherapy pharmacist specially trained to oversee the safe production of the chemotherapy medications used to treat cancer.
- Dana Cole. As a dosimetrist, Dana is highly trained to prescribe radiation doses and to design precise radiation treatment plans.
- Debra Rivey, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker who is certified in oncology care by the Oncology Nursing Society.
- Michelle Weaver-Knowles, RNC BSN, is a nurse navigator who helps breast cancer patients through the treatment process from diagnosis onward. Nurse navigators educate patients, coordinate appointments, answer questions and give advice about managing treatment side effects and other problems.
- Elizabeth Kellogg, RD, is a registered dietician who specializes in oncology nutrition.
- Jon Rust, radiation therapist.
- Nicole Hagedorn, radiation therapist.
- Beth Monahan, RN, NP.
- Betsy Stockton.
All the nurses who care for patients at Community Cancer Care are certified in oncology care by the Oncology Nursing Society.
A team approach
The professionals at Community Cancer Care work together to plan each patient’s care, to follow through with the best treatment protocols, and to carefully monitor progress. For example, each week physicians, therapists, social workers, nurses and others meet to review each case and make sure the best available and most-appropriate treatments are being used. Patients’ primary care physicians are included in these conferences; to add any information they may feel is important, and to make sure they stay informed about their patients’ care.
We also combine efforts and expertise to bring the benefits of cancer rehabilitation to our patients. We are certified in the nationally recognized Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation (STAR) program, which improves the quality of life for people with cancer and those recovering from treatment. STAR reduces mental and physical impairments—such as pain, fatigue, balance problems, depression, anxiety and others—at every stage of treatment and recovery.
Comfort and wellbeing
Community Cancer Center is designed for your comfort, and it starts even before you walk in the door. You’ll find plenty of parking close by and a heated walkway eliminates slippery walks in winter.
Inside, the bright, welcoming lobby is backed by a double-sided fireplace and ringed with comfortable couches and chairs. The registration kiosks are designed for privacy, and our staff are dedicated to making your visit as uncomplicated and stress-free as possible.
During chemotherapy treatment, you can expect to sit comfortably in one of our specially designed recliners, some of which include heat and massage options. And since each cancer patient is different, we designed our treatment areas to accommodate your personal choices for privacy or company. Semi-private treatment areas allow conversation with neighboring patients, with the option of more privacy by simply drawing the wrap-around curtain. Patients who need to lie down during treatment, or just want to be alone, can use one of our private rooms.
Flat-screen TVs are available on request, with Netflix streaming on the menu. We also loan iPads to our patients for their time with us. Or you can look out over the landscaped Healing Garden right outside the large windows, with the foothills in the background.
People getting radiation therapy can use our new system that allows patients to check themselves in for treatments by just scanning a card. Our two radiation therapists work together to make sure each treatment runs precisely according to the prescribed plan and that each patient is comfortable and relaxed. We can schedule longer appointments for patients who need extra time to feel at ease. And throughout the radiation session, you can always let your therapists know how you are feeling.
Patient comfort and safety are top priorities—and not just during the day. Our physicians take the time to respond to every call, even after hours, with the same prompt, reassuring attention.
We also help you deal with the basics, such as:
- Meals. You can purchase food from our Big Sky Café—and have it delivered—with a call to Cuisine-On-Call.
- Transportation. People who don’t have a way to get to treatments can get there with Road to Recovery. The ACS sponsors this program, which provides free rides to and from Community Cancer Care for people in Missoula, Mineral and Ravalli Counties.
- Lodging. If you live farther than 50 miles or 90 minutes away, and can’t afford to stay overnight during outpatient care, you may be able to stay free or at a reduced rate in one of the rooms donated by local hotels. Your oncology social worker can get you started with the application and reservation processes, which are coordinated by the ACS.
- Information. The ACS staffs a cancer resource center in the lobby at Community Cancer Care. This library contains information about all types of cancer and cancer care, and ACS volunteers are knowledgeable and eager to help you find what you need.
Treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are at the center of your cancer care. But we understand that you have a constellation of other issues going on at the same time. At Community Cancer Care, we make it our job to lighten that load—and our high patient-satisfaction scores show that we succeed.
For example, nearly everyone with cancer also deals with stress and anxiety. That’s an important issue in your healing and we check how you are feeling at every visit—not only about your health but also your finances, your relationships and other issues. Our licensed clinical social worker, Debra Rivey, counsels patients about these concerns and also helps them find resources to assist with finances and other practical matters.
Our experts also help patients with:
- Pain. Cancer pain can require specialized treatment. Our team works with each patient to ensure their pain is treated quickly and effectively.
- Nutrition. Cancer and cancer treatments can change how you eat and the way your body uses food. Each patient has unique dietary needs, and our cancer dietician Elizabeth Kellogg, RD, meets with patients and their families to develop individualized nutrition plans. This helps patients stay well nourished and maintain their weight during treatment.
- Appearance. Look Good Feel Better is a program from the ACS that helps women with cancer. You can join a session at Community Cancer Care, where a licensed cosmetologist will give advice on makeup, wigs, skin care and other ways to boost your spirits by looking good. Call 396-9026 to sign up or learn more. In addition, our Community Boutique is dedicated to supplying and fitting women with the right wig—for free. Hats and scarves are also available there.
End-of-life issues. Every adult should have a living will, which describes the types of treatment you want if you become unable to make choices on your own. We can help you create one of these documents. For people with a short life expectancy, we partner with home health agencies to assist with pain control and other palliative care. And we help patients make choices for hospice care.
Patients as partners
Cancer treatment is never easy. But at Community Cancer Care, patients often return or send cards to thank us for the compassionate and thoughtful care they received. You can be assured that as a patient here you will be a partner in your treatment, and that your quality of life will be our top priority.
To find out more about Community Cancer Care, call 327-3911.
Ready to learn more about your treatment?
Click here for a choice of interactive videos about cancer treatments available at Community Medical Center.