Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Genesis Cancer Care Institute Focuses on Early Detection, Prevention


By Craig Cooper, Genesis Health System

In 2008, an $11 million investment in technology and the renovation and expansion of existing cancer care facilities gave birth to the Genesis Cancer Care Institute.

“Back then, the focus was on capital issues and the acquisition of some of the most advanced radiation oncology equipment in the country,” said Ken Croken, Genesis Vice President of Corp. Communications, at a March 28 news conference celebrating the institute’s strides.

“We continue to be a destination location, offering the highest level of cancer care in the region, and certainly the Midwest. But we now have a new focus on screening, prevention, and early detection.”

By offering genetic counseling, free screenings for at-risk individuals and the latest in cancer-fighting technology, the Genesis Cancer Care Institute has taken a leadership role in early diagnosis and treatment of cancers.

“The Cancer Care Institute is still very much focused on treating cancer with all of our state-of-the-art technology, in addition to our many support services for patients and their families,” said Sally Werner, executive director of the Genesis Cancer Care Institute. “However, we’re learning more and more about how important genetic factors and family medical history are in the development of certain cancers. We’re also reaching out to at-risk individuals to prevent cancers.”

A Network of Support
Early detection and support for cancer patients was highlighted by a visit to Genesis from best-selling author Nicholas Sparks. Sparks was the featured speaker for this year’s “Intimate Conversations” series to benefit Gilda’s Club of the Quad Cities. Sparks lost his own sister Danielle to cancer in 2000, and her story inspired his book, A Walk to Remember.

The cancer journey is difficult for everyone, he said. “You learn a lot about courage… about trying to remain optimistic in the face of extraordinary difficulties… and that the pain and worries are not simply confined to those who are going through the process. It moves through family and friends like a wave. It ebbs and flows, and sometimes it’s worse for one than the other. You learn a lot about the importance of support… the belief that people are there to help you through those trying times.”

Patients of the Genesis Cancer Care Institute have access to the latest cancer-fighting weapons, treatments, and clinical trials close to home, but also benefit from complementary therapies and the educational and emotional support of Gilda’s Club of the Quad Cities.

“The involvement of Gilda’s Club in the Genesis Cancer Care Institute is as important a distinction for our program as our world-class radiation oncology equipment,” Croken concluded. “The comprehensive, total patient care dimension that Gilda’s Club brings to this program is truly a difference-maker in the lives of our patients and our community.”

Recent Advancements

Genesis Cancer Care Institute initiatives aimed at prevention and early detection of cancer include:

Free, Low-Dose CT Screening For Lung Cancer Detection

Genesis Philanthropy has partnered with the Cancer Care Institute to offer free, low-dose CT screening for smokers and past smokers. Studies have found this screening detects more lung cancers in earlier stages than a chest X-ray. Studies also show fewer lung cancer deaths among those who have been screened using low-dose CT scan as compared to those screened with chest X-ray.

“This is a vital screening that is not yet covered by insurance,” Werner said. “For that reason, we have partnered with Genesis Philanthropy to bring this to the community.”

The first gift to Genesis Philanthropy of $1 million established the Gene and JoAnn Waddell regional Fund for Hospice and Cancer Care, and a portion of this gift is providing the free screenings throughout the region. Smokers and former smokers can go to www.genesisphilanthropy.org/knowyourrisk to determine whether they would benefit from a free low-dose CT scan.

Genetic Counseling
Leslie Poston, ARNP, an Oncology Genetics Specialist, is available for cancer risk assessments and genetic counseling related to breast and ovarian cancer. People can also take a quiz to find out if they are a candidate for genetic testing at www.genesishealth.com/genetic.

“By determining the risk of an individual through genetic markers and family history, we are better able to take a proactive approach in preventing cancer and finding it much earlier,” said Sally Werner, Executive Director of the Genesis Cancer Care Institute.

Free Colorectal Cancer Screenings

Genesis has received a grant from the Iowa Get Screened colorectal cancer program, which provides free colonoscopies to Iowa residents ages 50–64 who are in financial need.

Seven out 10 people with colorectal cancer have no symptoms. Colorectal cancer is one of the only cancers that can be prevented through screening. Screening detects polyps in the colon or rectum and allows them to be removed before turning into cancer. For information, call clinical research coordinator Stefanie Dreher at 563-421-1913. To make an appointment for genetic counseling, call Leslie Poston at 563-421-8460.