There are new treatments for some cancers that used to be called "untreatable," according to Dr. Theresa Pagliuca, radiation oncologist and director of the WCA Cancer Treatment Center at the Jones Memorial Health Center.
"And there's almost always something we can do to help people feel much better throughout their course of cancer therapy too," Pagliuca said told Jamestown Rotary Club members recently.
Pagliuca, board certified by the American Board of Radiology, introduced the Jamestown Rotary Club recently to new advances in highly individualized radiation therapy for cancer. The emotional and lifestyle issues in cancer care are also being addressed in new and more effective ways.
Pictured above are Sharon Hamilton, Jamestown Rotary Club vice president, left, with Dr. Theresa Pagliuca.
Today, the patient is a partner in care not merely the object. One of the most important factors is a realistic and truthful description of the patient's care and all their possible outcomes.
"People are really afraid when they first hear the "C-word," Pagliuca said. "The truth, however, is that now we can manage pain better, minimize side effects, provide for many of the family's needs and help with their natural anxiety."
Success rates, long term survivals and less disability are becoming more and more the norm in cancer care.
Radiation therapy, especially of a kind administered at WCA, can now target tumors with extreme precision, especially important in locations that cannot be reached surgically; the "treatment for the untreatable" in many cases. The treatment, called SBRT, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, can now achieve as high as 90 percent durable tumor control.
Pagliuca has practiced and taught medicine in locations as diverse as Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisville, New York City and Guam. She is a native of Brooklyn, a graduate of Brooklyn College and the NYU School of Medicine, completed her internship at the University of Louisville and residency in radiation oncology at the Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
"I love it here in Jamestown," she said.
She is a self-proclaimed history geek who is very interested in local history and archaeology, and will travel to see good ruins or museum exhibits. Pagliuca also says she is a lifelong animal lover and is now the "personal servant" to two dogs and four cats.
For more information, visit www.wcahospital.org/cancercare.php or call 487-0141.