Putnam County Hospital offers a peaceful setting for patients who are undergoing cancer treatments. Our unit has seven infusion bays adjacent to the nursing stations and three private examination rooms. We provide a comprehensive plan with holistic care that meets the medical, spiritual, and emo
tional needs of our clients. The most up-to-date treatment is delivered from physicians and medical professionals who know and care about our patients and their families.
Dr. Sameer Ahmed, a physician with Franciscan Physician Network, joined the Cancer Center in 2015. Dr. Ahmed sees patients at the Cancer Center on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Cancer Center is also staffed by Registered Nurses who have been oncology trained. Continued education concerning cancer, the most up-to-date treatments, and symptom management is important to us. Registered nurses are oncology-certified through the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), a national organization. Active membership in the local Illiana Chapter of ONS allows the nursing staff to attend monthly meetings to discuss new and current treatments.
The Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons. Accreditation is renewed every three years by adhering to stringent guidelines that ensure our clients receive the best care possible. Our first review was conducted in 1988 and the Cancer Center has remained accredited with the last survey conducted in 2016.
In compliance with the accreditation process and to continue growth, our hospital physicians, surgeons, radiologists and oncology staff meet regularly for professional development and discussion regarding trends for our particular area. For more information regarding Putnam County’s cancer statistics and the care provided locally, see below:
In 2018, the Putnam County Hospital (PCH) Cancer Center along with partner, Franciscan Health, established a plan to bring the best possible Cancer and Hematologic Care to our local residents. One of our goals is to provide the education and tools to help our community members prevent or find cancer at its earliest stages when it can be more easily treated. Some of the methods used for this goal were informational tables set up at local events and the PCH lobbies, emails sent to over 350 PCH employees, attendance at various events and programs in our community, in-services for physicians and medical staff, free sunscreen giveaways, surveys, passing out Smoking Cessation material, making referrals to the Smoking Cessation program, and skin and prostate screening programs.
In March, we promoted Colon Cancer Awareness since Colon Cancer is our 4th most prevalent cancer according to the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment. Colon Cancer can be prevented if pre-cancerous polyps are removed. Educational e-mails were sent to over 350 employees and an information table was set up in the lobby with a poster board display and education for visitors, patients, and employees. We attended the Bill Gardner Golf Benefit on September 27 and had information available on Colon Cancer Awareness. Dr. LG Palanca, our Cancer Liaison Physician, presented a program on Colon Cancer for hospital physicians, nurses, and allied staff. There were 470 colonoscopies done at PCH during 2018, performed by Dr. LG Palanca, Dr. Keith Thomae, Dr. Paul Szotek, Dr. Thomas Black, Dr. Keith Landry, and the Meridian Medical Group at the PCH Surgery Center. There were 5 colon cancers diagnosed at PCH in 2018.
We sent emails to over 350 employees with education on Skin Cancer Awareness in the months of May, June, and July. Skin Cancer can be prevented with the use of sunscreen and avoidance of exposure to the UV rays of the sun and tanning beds. Education and a poster board display were available to PCH visitors, patients, and employees in our main lobby. We were able to give out 273 tubes of sunscreen to PCH patients, visitors, and employees along with participants at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in May, the County and Small Business Wellness Fair, and Robe Ann Park visitors to the swimming pool area. On May 9, 2018, we had a skin screening event for local residents with 41 participants. Dr. John Stevens and Physician’s Assistant Andrew Burns discovered lesions on 17 participants who were referred to dermatologists for further evaluation.
On May 16th and 17th, we attended the Putnam County and Small Businesses Wellness Fair and set up an informational table with education on lung cancer and the PCH Low Dose Lung CT (LDLCT) screening program. Our goal was to find cancer in the earliest stages when it can be more easily treated by increasing the number of LDLCT screenings done. Forty participants from Parke, Clay, Putnam, Hendricks, Vigo, Owen, Morgan, and Marion Counties completed surveys. 47% of those who smoke or had a history of smoking, signed up and completed the LDLCT’s. The participants indicated that the education concerning lung cancer and the LDLCTs, and the opportunity to get a free LDLCT paid for by their employer were major factors in their decision to schedule the LDLCTs. The results were 13% with Lung Rad 1 requiring no annual follow-up, 25% Lung Rad 1 requiring Annual Follow-up with LDLCT, 50% with Lung Rad 2 with Annual Follow-up with LDLCT, and 13% Lung Rad 3 with Chest CT in 6 months. These participants were notified of results via mail and certified mail and their primary care providers were notified via fax.
On June 11, 2018, we had a make-up application program for area patients who are currently in treatment for cancer. We had 3 participants and 3 guests attend. The LOOK GOOD, FEEL BETTTER program which provides instruction on hair styling and make-up application along with free make-up kits was held on November 19 with 2 participants. Side effects from chemotherapy can be devastating and the program can boost esteem and self-confidence during this time.
August was designated Smoking Cessation and Lung Cancer Awareness month at PCH. Lung Cancer is rated as the 2nd most prevalent cancer in Putnam County with a report of 20% of our residents who smoke according to the 2016 Community Needs Assessment. We set up an education table in the PCH lobby with educational materials and the Franciscan Health ASPIRE (Tobacco Free) program brochures and a poster board display.
In 2018, there were 256 Low Dose Lung Screening CT Scans (LDCT) completed at PCH. The results follow: 217 participants needed annual follow-up LDCT, 18 needed LDCT in 6 months, 21 needed further testing with 3 positive findings of lung cancer. All those who received the Low Dose Screening CT’s were given a survey and those who actively smoke were offered smoking cessation education and a referral to the Franciscan/Putnam County Hospital ASPIRE program. There were 9 participants from the LDCT screenings that were referred to the ASPIRE program. Smoking Cessation information was also offered to 380 PCH admitted or 23 hour observation patients who smoke. In 2018, we had 9 participants join the ASPIRE program. There have been 3 participants who have successfully quit smoking since the inception of the program in May, 2016.
According to the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment, Breast Cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Putnam County. Breast Cancer Awareness Month was in October and educational e-mails were sent to PCH employees and a display with education and brochures was in the main lobby of the hospital for visitors, patients, and employees. On October 3, we had a Breast Cancer Awareness Open House for the public, PCH visitors, and staff. There were education displays concerning Breast Cancer Awareness and Mammograms. Members of the Clinic attended the First Friday event on October 5 and passed out Breast Cancer Awareness information. We also attended a Volleyball game at DePauw and had an educational information table on Breast Cancer and other types of Cancer Awareness on September 27. Additionally, we attended the Endeavor Monster 5 K on October 6 and had educational materials available for participants and their loved ones. A total of 2004 mammograms were done at PCH in 2018 with 37 biopsies and 12 of those were positive for breast cancer.
A Prostate Screening was done on November 1 with 37 participants. Dr. Sameer Ahmed, Dr. Steve Kissel, Dr. LG Palanca, and Dr. Robert Heavin volunteered their time to do the exams. A prostate blood test was done by the PCH lab department for a reduced rate of $10. There were 2 participants with elevated blood tests, 3 with positive occult stool tests, and a total of 24 who had recommendations for further evaluation. Prostate Cancer Awareness information was also made available to participants.
Almost every person has either been affected by cancer or has a loved one or friend who has been touched by it. In our fight against cancer, we want our local residents to be armed with the best defense to prevent or find cancer as soon as possible. Here at the Putnam County Hospital Cancer Center, we use the most up-to-date treatment strategies recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, that is dedicated to providing evidence-based guidelines for cancer treatment. Our partnership with St. Francis Franciscan Health has increased our access to many specialties and services that enhance our patient care.
We would like to thank the physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, clinics, St. Francis Franciscan Health, and the entire PCH staff for their support and dedication to our Cancer Center and Outreach Programs. Another big thank you goes to the individuals, businesses, organizations, and churches who have so generously donated hand-made and bought items, financial contributions, their personal time, and helped in any way so that we can make a difference in the lives of local residents and those who are battling cancer.