Oncology Services

Saint Joseph Hospital
Center for Cancer Care
2900 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60657

Cancer Treatment

Saint Joseph Hospital's Center for Cancer Care offers patients state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment capabilities from a highly skilled staff of cancer specialists who provide a comprehensive approach to address the many ways cancer may impact patients and their families.

The Saint Joseph Center for Cancer Care uses a team approach to medical care. Patients are at the center of this team and active participation is a vital part of the treatment process. The team also includes a multidisciplinary staff of health care professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, social workers and nutritionists who specialize in the care of people with cancer. Each member contributes to the success of the team and to each patient’s well-being.

Staff at the Center will do everything possible to meet each patient’s medical, social and emotional needs. We encourage patients to take an active role in letting us know when our services are required. Throughout your experience at Saint Joseph Hospital, your doctor and nurse will assist you in identifying resources that will benefit you and your family.

The characteristic that sets Saint Joseph Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care apart is our collaborative practice model. We recognize the complexity of care issues confronting you and your family and are committed to providing the focused care you deserve.

American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Logo

The Center for Cancer Care received Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation through 2009 by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Three-Year with Commendation is given to programs, either new or established, that comply with all standards and receive a commendation rating for one or more standard. A certificate of approval is issued and these programs are surveyed at a three-year interval from the date of the survey.

A Highly Skilled Staff

At Saint Joseph Hospital, a team of cancer specialists diagnoses and treats breast, lung, head/neck, skin, lymphoma, leukemia, prostate, colorectal, gynecological, urological and other forms of cancer. Our Oncology team also includes dedicated nurses who provide bedside and outpatient care and help patients and families learn about the disease and therapy options. Additional support is provided by a team of professionals, including physical, speech and occupational therapists, nutritionists/dietitians, social workers, spiritual advisors and home health care providers.


Throughout the course of your care for cancer at Saint Joseph Hospital, you may interact with any of several oncology specialists. Some of our physician specialists include:

  • Surgical oncologists – physicians who are specifically trained in the surgical treatment of cancer.
  • Medical oncologists or hematologists – physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. These specialists may use a wide range of interventions, including chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy to treat cancer and associated conditions.
  • Radiation oncologists – physicians who specialize in the use of radiation therapy for cancer patients.

Your physician will discuss your treatment options thoroughly, making certain you are comfortable with treatment plan decisions and know what to expect.

Nursing Staff

Our nursing staff consists of registered nurses who have been nationally certified by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, assuring that you receive expert care for the treatment of your disease. Each nurse is responsible for the coordination and delivery of care for a specific group of patients in collaboration with each patient's physician. A dedicated nurse coordinates each patient's care. Your primary nurse will take your history, teach you about your disease and treatment and assess the side effects of the treatment as well as the impact of the illness on your family. Our primary nursing system encourages a one-on-one relationship between the patient and nurse and helps ensure that you receive the best care possible. Your primary nurse is a resource to contact if you have any questions.

State-of-the-Art Diagnostics

We offer a wide variety of treatment modalities and advanced technology to diagnose and treat a variety of cancers. These include:

  • Imaging and Radiation Therapy - Our new state-of-the-art linear accelerator with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) delivers high doses of radiation with precision and accuracy. This technology delivers a radiation dose that perfectly conforms to the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of a malignant tumor or to specific areas within the tumor while sparing normal tissue, ultimately allowing higher doses of radiation safely. Enhancing dose concentrations can be more effective in eradicating tumors and giving a greater probability of permanently curing the cancer.
  • IMRT is more precise than conventional radiotherapy because it uses computer-generated images to plan and deliver tightly focused beams. It also spares more of the surrounding health tissue and can be used to treat tumors that might have been considered "too risky" or "untreatable" just a few years ago. IMRT currently is used to treat tumors in the brain, breast, head and neck, liver, nasopharynx, pancreas, prostate and uterus.
  • PET/CT Scanner - A positron emission tomography (PET) can be combined with computerized tomography in a revolutionary two-in-one medical imaging system that allows doctors to quickly determine whether cancer is present, if it is spreading, whether current treatment is working and/or if there is a recurrence. In one quick exam, this technology generates two essential types of medical images – PET and CT – and merges them into a single image. PET/CT scans can be used to detect and follow tumors in the brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Among the most advanced of all diagnostic tools, MRI is a non-invasive technology utilizing a magnetic scanner, radio waves and computerized graphics to produce highly detailed images of body tissue.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT Scan) - CT scans provide information about soft tissues within the body such as the liver, brain and lungs using computer-enhanced X-ray images.
  • Nuclear Medicine - Nuclear medicine uses small doses of radiation to evaluate abnormalities within the body.
  • Mammography - Mammograms are low-dose X-rays that provide images of breast tissue to detect abnormalities.
  • Stereotactic Biopsy - A technology for the non-surgical evaluation of suspicious breast masses, stereotactic biopsies rely on computer interpretation of X-ray data to position a needle and retrieve tissue for analysis.

Treatment Options

Cancer is a complex group of diseases, each with its own pattern of development. All cancers involve abnormal growth of body cells. Interrupting that growth is the basis of cancer treatment. Depending upon the specific diagnosis, cancer care may include a combination of treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The following forms of treatment are available at Saint Joseph Hospital:

  • Multidisciplinary Conferences - A truly unique offering of Saint Joseph Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care is its disease-specific multidisciplinary conferences. Each member of the health care team – physicians, specialists, social workers, radiologists and others – meet weekly to discuss each patient’s case and status. Even when you are not present, you can feel confident that your progress and treatment plan are being discussed and coordinated by the specialists with whom you have entrusted your care.
  • Surgery - Surgery to remove malignancies is the first step in some forms of cancer treatment, which may be performed conventionally and with electrocautery or lasers. Minimally invasive ablation surgery can be performed for patients with certain types of liver tumors.
  • Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy, the use of medications to control cancer, may be administered orally, intravenously or by injection. Chemotherapy is provided on an outpatient and inpatient basis.
  • Radiation therapy - Radiation therapy, an option performed on more than half of all cancer patients, destroys the ability of cancer cells to divide and grow. Radiation technology available at Saint Joseph Hospital includes the simulator, which is a targeting device used in precision radiation; 3-Dimensional (3D), which uses computer technology to accurately and precisely deliver radiation treatment; linear accelerator, which allows for the targeting of malignancies much more precisely than earlier technologies; and high-dose-rate brachytherapy, an advanced form of radiation therapy, which delivers a high dose of radiation therapy directly to the malignancy, bypassing intervening healthy tissue. Radiation treatments are generally provided on an outpatient basis.
  • MammoSite - An alternative to traditional radiation treatment after a patient has undergone a lumpectomy. Radiation is administered through a catheter in site-specific doses over the course of five days.
  • Implant therapy - Seed implant therapy is an outpatient treatment option for men with early-stage prostate cancer and women with early-stage breast cancer. During this procedure, small radioactive “seeds” are implanted directly into the prostate gland or breast. Each seed, about the size of a rice grain, contains a low energy radiation source that destroys cancer cells without affecting nearby healthy tissue.
  • Clinical Trials - Saint Joseph Hospital participates in clinical trials, which are studies that evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs and treatment strategies. Hospital oncologists bring cancer patients advanced medicine by offering several open trials covering a wide range of areas such as breast, colon, lung and brain cancer as well as others. These trials are conducted with the most nationally prominent academic medical centers and research organizations.
  • The development of more effective cancer treatments requires that new and innovative therapies be evaluated with cancer patients. Each clinical trial is designed to find new or better ways to treat cancer patients. In oncology, clinical trials are especially important because, in the absence of high cure rates, nearly all therapeutic approaches are the result of clinical trials.Clinical trials offer access to new treatments not yet available to the general population. Additionally, patients are monitored closely by physicians at the forefront of cancer research and may be the first to benefit from new treatments.If you would like more information about clinical trials offered at The Center for Cancer Care at Saint Joseph Hospital, contact your physician or the Center at 773-665-3109.

Comprehensive Support

Cancer impacts a patient and family in many ways. A cancer diagnosis of a mother, sister, father or son may alter a family’s life dramatically. For these reasons, Saint Joseph Hospital has made a range of support services available:

  • Education - Patient education is ongoing and includes family members as well as patients. Nurse educators, including specialists who provide support to ostomy and mastectomy patients, are available to assist families throughout treatment. Community education and screenings are scheduled regularly.
  • Nutrition - Cancer and its treatment can often impact your nutritional requirements. Our team includes a nutritionist who is available to address the dietary concerns of people undergoing treatment for cancer.
  • Oral Assessment - While being treated with certain chemotherapy drugs and/or radiation treatments, you may experience side effects that involve different areas of the mouth and mucous membranes. Our team includes dental professionals who evaluate and help treat patients. They can work with your dentist to provide care designed to minimize complications and infections.
  • Case Management - Case management services assist with home care planning, the selection of an extended care facility, if necessary, and refer patients and families to cancer-related support services. Case management also can assist with Advance Directive planning.
  • Spiritual Services - Spiritual Services offers the comfort and solace of prayer, reflection and support to all patients and families, regardless of their religious affiliation.
  • Home Health Care Services - Resurrection Home Health Services provides skilled nursing and therapy to patients in their homes as directed by a physician.
  • Medical Equipment - Equipment required for special care in the home setting can be rented or purchased through Resurrection Home Medical Equipment.
  • Transportation - Transportation is available for patients receiving outpatient radiation. Service is provided to and from selected areas. Please call Central Scheduling at 773-665-3060.
  • Support Groups - Patient support groups meet regularly at Saint Joseph Hospital. These include our Cancer Support Group, which meets the first Thursday of every month from 6 – 7 p.m., and our Ovarian Cancer Support Group, which meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month from 7 – 8:30 pm. For more information, call 773-665-3803.
  • Hospice Care - Hospice care maximizes the quality of life for terminally ill patients and provides support for families. We offer a full range of hospice services and a specially trained staff of physicians, nurses, case managers, chaplains and volunteers.
  • United Ostomy Association - Volunteers from the United Ostomy Association (UOA) are available to visit patients before or after surgery. UOA offers monthly support groups throughout Chicagoland. Call 800-826-0826 or visit the UOA website.
Call 877-RES-INFO for Nurse Advice, Doctor Referrals or Class Registration Monday - Friday 8 am to 8 pm • Weekends 8 am to 4pm

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