Mercy plans to offer 
chemo treatments locally

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New 3D imaging machine makes debut in Joplin

Mercy Hospital in Cassville is in the process of bringing an oncologist to its offices, aiming to make chemotherapy treatments available locally for people battling breast cancer.

Doug Stroemel, administrator at Mercy Cassville, said the organization is looking to bring oncologists to the Aurora and Cassville locations, as chemotherapy treatments now are only offered in Joplin, Springfield or Rogers, Ark.

"We are working diligently to provide outreach services, and we realize it's inconvenient to have to travel," he said. "We hope to have some more news in coming months. When we do our community health needs assessment, that's one of the main items that always comes to the top."

With chemotherapy still not available in Cassville, those who travel to Joplin will see some new equipment and a new store set up in the hospital.

Lisa Nelson, certified fitter

for mastectomies, said at Mercy Joplin, there is a new 3D imaging machine, called a 3D Tomosynthesis Mammography, which is available for women who are at high risk for breast cancer of have dense breast tissue.

"It takes the breast and cuts it into smaller pieces to give doctors a closer look," Nelson said. "They cut it like a CT scan, so they can detect smaller things much earlier."

The machine has been at the hospital since May, and Nelson said she has even used it for her own testing.

"I've had issues before, and mammograms make me nervous," she said. "I chose to use the 3D because of my history and past biopsies. It give me peace of mind because it takes a lot of extra pictures and will find more if something is there or something is deeper."

Mercy Joplin also has another, more light-hearted service now available at the hospital.

Sisters Health Boutique, a new store in the hospital, focuses on post-mastectomy products, Nelson said, but it has something for everyone.

"There are skin treatments, which are all natural, that help with the side effects of chemo," she said. Skin gets dry easily, aggravated and itchy, and nails can get ridges, so they all need extra care. The skin is an appendage, and it does not get what it needs during chemo because the chemo takes so much out of it."

Nelson said the shop also carries reconstruction products, such as wigs and scarves, to help those battling cancer live as normally as possible until reconstruction is complete.

"Women are brought right to the boutique after being diagnosed, or they ask to come by and we can assess their needs," Nelson said. "We work as a team [with the doctors] to do everything the patient needs."

The American Cancer Society is also set up in the store, providing resources and free wigs for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

For more information, people may call 417-556-2605.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: