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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is given to improve the quality of life of patients who have cancer and addresses the whole person. The goal to prevent or treat, as early as possible…

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FWMOH Staff

Palliative Care is given to improve the quality of life of patients who have cancer and addresses the whole person. The goal to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment. They can treat pain, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and insomnia. They also can help with financial and emotional needs as well. You may continue to receive treatments while you are on Palliative Care.

The Palliative Care team works with your Oncologist and will communicate with your doctor while you are in their care. Research has shown that palliative care, especially when introduced early, is beneficial to patients and their caregivers and may improve survival.

Launch of FWMOH CPAN Advocacy Chapter

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Launch of FWMOH CPAN Advocacy Chapter

FWMOH Team

Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology is teaming up with Community Oncology Alliance (COA) Patient Advocacy Network (CPAN) to launch a local chapter. CPAN is a nationally recognized patient advocacy group providing the patient’s voice along with community oncologists, nurses, and healthcare administrators in the fight to preserve community cancer care and access to local care.

Educational topics will include: Insight into how national policy issues impact local patient care, how oncologists advocate for their patients, COA and CPAN advocacy initiatives, and opportunities for you to become a Cancer Care Advocate.

If you are a patient, cancer survivor, family member/caregiver, clinician, employee, or a member of the community, we welcome you to join us for an informative and inspiring evening Thursday, July 26, at our South Office.

Guest speakers include: Lakshmi Aggarwal, M.D., Medical Oncologist, Lisa Poiry, OCN, CPAN Advocacy Chapter Leader, and Rose Gerber, Director of Patient Advocacy & Education Community Oncology Alliance.

Retrieving Medical Records

Fort Wayne Medical Oncology & Hematology medical records department is here to help assist patients in a couple of ways. First, if a patient needs their medical records sent to another provider, or would like to receive a copy of their medical records…

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Medical Records Department

Fort Wayne Medical Oncology & Hematology medical records department is here to help assist patients in a couple of ways. First, if a patient needs their medical records sent to another provider, or would like to receive a copy of their medical records for personal use, they should please feel free to contact one of our medical records staff members to assist them. Please remember there may be a fee. There is no fee if the patient needs records sent to another provider or if they would like a copy of their medical records saved to a disc. The patient will be required to sign a release of information prior to receiving copies of records. Please allow 5-7 business days for us, or our copy service MediCopy, to process the request.

Medical records can also assist the patient by making sure our providers have the most up-to-date medical records available for them to review. When a patient has an upcoming appointment with one of our providers, and the patient has had some additional testing or has been recently hospitalized, please feel free to notify one of our medical records staff members and we will make sure that information is readily available for our providers for that patient’s appointment.

Patient Assistance: Financial Counseling

Do you know that Medicare beneficiaries can qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs? See if you or a family member may qualify…

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Business Office Staff

Do you know that Medicare beneficiaries can qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs? See if you or a family member may qualify: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/prescriptionhelp/

Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology employs Patient Assistance and Financial Counselors to help you navigate and understand the financial aspects of cancer care. They can work with you and your physician to help alleviate financial stress and improve your access to the care you need. Your Financial Counselor will review and evaluate your health care benefits to determine what your potential out-of-pocket costs may be and see if resources are available to lower your costs. They will look for co-payment assistance, contact foundations, help eligible patients enroll in health insurance through the marketplace by connecting them with certified applications counselors, or help enroll in medicaid. We encourage you to call if you have any questions, 260 484 8830 option 6.

A Staff of Survivors

My name is Dee Chambers. I have the privilege of working for FWMOH as the Patient Concierge at our North offices. I volunteered at FWMOH for two years before being hired as the Concierge, which I have doing for the past three years. Prior to volunteering…

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Dee Chambers

My name is Dee Chambers. I have the privilege of working for FWMOH as the Patient Concierge at our North offices. I volunteered at FWMOH for two years before being hired as the Concierge, which I have doing for the past three years. Prior to volunteering, I was a patient. I am proud and happy to say that I am a two time cancer survivor! I credit my survival to the compassion, care and knowledge shown to me by our doctors, our nurses and our entire staff.

It is an honor to work as the Concierge at our office. I have been given the opportunity to impact our patients lives. I get to introduce patients to our office, answer questions, take are of their needs and help them feel more comfortable about coming in. I strive to treat our patients with respect and compassion. The way that would I would want myself, a family member or friend to be treated.

A gentle smile or friendly “hello” helps to make a patient feel more comfortable and settled. Many of our patients are on a journey that they do not want to be on. We are here to help them on that journey and to be a member of their team. I am blessed to be a part of it!

Herbal Medications

There is growing evidence that popular supplements may intensify or weaken the effect of chemotherapy drugs and in some cases, may cause a toxic, even harmful reaction. It is important to not only report what medications you are taking, but to also including…

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Pharmacy Team

There is growing evidence that popular supplements may intensify or weaken the effect of chemotherapy drugs and in some cases, may cause a toxic, even harmful reaction. It is important to not only report what medications you are taking, but to also including vitamins and supplements to avoid any possible interactions. Recent research shows that up to 50% of patients undergoing chemotherapy did not tell their doctor they were taking alternative therapies. Some believe it’s not important, while others are uncomfortable admitting they are pursuing alternative therapies. The underlying message is to stop taking herbal supplements while receiving chemotherapy until more is known about possible interactions. If you are interested in complementary approaches, please have a conversation with your physician about other approaches that may be beneficial for you.

  1. Fish oil: May induce bleeding with low platelets
  2. Ginger: May induce bleeding with low platelets
  3. Turmeric: Could decrease the effectiveness of chemotherapy — or increase the effects, with toxic results.
  4. Coenzyme Q10: Antioxidant properties may interfere with chemotherapy and radiation.
  5. Milk thistle: May affect estrogen levels, which could pose an issue for breast or ovarian cancer.
  6. Licorice: Also may affect estrogen levels.
  7. Green tea: Negates the benefits of certain chemotherapy.
  8. Reishi mushroom: May interfere with certain drugs or chemotherapy.
  9. Astragalus: May interfere with certain immunosuppressants.
  10. Acidophilus: May cause infections or other problems if taken during chemotherapy.

Community Oncology Practice

What makes FWMOH best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Lakshmi Aggarwal says it’s the relationship formed between physician and patient. “I’ve been with this group for 19 years. It is like family to me, and I have so much faith and trust in them that not only…

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Dr. Lakshmi Aggarwal

What makes FWMOH best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Lakshmi Aggarwal says it’s the relationship formed between physician and patient. “I’ve been with this group for 19 years. It is like family to me, and I have so much faith and trust in them that not only my family, but if I had cancer I’d come to any single one of my partners.

The Value of Clinical Trials

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Sreenivasa Nattam says it’s the center’s ability to offer clinical trials. “We are a community cancer center, and we are able to provide state-of-the-art cancer treatment for the patient without any specific…

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Dr. Sreenivasa Nattam

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Sreenivasa Nattam says it’s the center’s ability to offer clinical trials. “We are a community cancer center, and we are able to provide state-of-the-art cancer treatment for the patient without any specific restrictions as to where we can send the patient.”

Personal and Quality Care

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Shalini Chitneni says it’s the personal and quality care we give to our patients. “When you come here with any type of cancer, with any type of diagnosis, we are able to take care of you locally. We take…

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Dr. Shalini Chitneni

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Shalini Chitneni says it’s the personal and quality care we give to our patients. “When you come here with any type of cancer, with any type of diagnosis, we are able to take care of you locally. We take care of the patients as if they are a part of our family.”

Hope Through Compassion and Innovation

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. David Zimmerman says it’s the experienced and friendly physicians, technicians and nurses. “If you’re a new patient and show up to our office for the first time I think you can expect, and hopefully see…

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Dr. David Zimmerman

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. David Zimmerman says it’s the experienced and friendly physicians, technicians and nurses. “If you’re a new patient and show up to our office for the first time I think you can expect, and hopefully see, a lot of smiling faces and people that are there to help you.”

Good Hand Hygiene

With the upcoming cold and flu season our chemotherapy nurses wanted to remind you about good hand hygiene, and the prevention of spreading germs. We think it’s important for patients and their family members to practice good hand hygiene…

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FWMOH Chemo Nurses

With the upcoming cold and flu season our chemotherapy nurses wanted to remind you about good hand hygiene, and the prevention of spreading germs. We think it’s important for patients and their family members to practice good hand hygiene to reduce everyone’s risk. Did you know effective hand washing should consist of a lather of soap and vigorously scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds, don’t forget the back of your hands, under your nails, and between your fingers too!

To learn more, or find out when the CDC recommend washing your hands please follow the link! https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/preventinfections/clean_hands.htm

Personalized Care

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Dolly Quispe says it’s the personalized care. “Usually for our patients when they come to the office we develop a personalized plan that will be according to their malignancy…

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Dr. Dolly Quispe

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Dolly Quispe says it’s the personalized care. “Usually for our patients when they come to the office we develop a personalized plan that will be according to their malignancy… that could include different choices of chemotherapy.”

Bringing Care to Our Patients

Why Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology? Dr. Farrukh Adhami says it’s their location and outreach clinics. “We do have 11 outreach clinics. We bring care to the patient rather than having them travel from, say, Peru to come to Fort Wayne. This…

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Dr. Farrukh Adhami

Why Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology? Dr. Farrukh Adhami says it’s their location and outreach clinics. “We do have 11 outreach clinics. We bring care to the patient rather than having them travel from, say, Peru to come to Fort Wayne. This is very important to be treated as close to your home as possible. Our patients require a lot of support including their family, their friends… they need to be in their own environment.”

Building Cancer Care

Why is FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Michael Epstein says it’s the team approach to working with their patients. “Coming here as a new patient you can expect to see a personal approach. All of our people try to take care of the patients. It’s very…

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Dr. Michael Epstein

Why Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology? Dr. Farrukh Adhami says it’s their location and outreach clinics. “We do have 11 outreach clinics. We bring care to the patient rather than having them travel from, say, Peru to come to Fort Wayne. This is very important to be treated as close to your home as possible. Our patients require a lot of support including their family, their friends… they need to be in their own environment.”

Attitudes and Cancer

Patients often ask us if having a positive attitude helps them through their cancer treatments. Studies have shown that having a positive attitude, a good base of support, and participation in support groups yields a better overall quality…

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Dr. Sreenivasa Nattam

Patients often ask us if having a positive attitude helps them through their cancer treatments. Studies have shown that having a positive attitude, a good base of support, and participation in support groups yields a better overall quality of life.

Multiple studies have been done which overall show there is no difference in survival for patients with a positive attitude versus those who aren’t able to stay positive. However, those with a positive attitude tend to handle treatment better. At FWMOH, we not only focus on treating patients, but also on improving their quality of life. Those who are feeling guilty or are having a hard time staying positive may benefit from joining a support group and/or undergoing psychotherapy to help improve their overall quality of life throughout their cancer treatment. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/attitudes-and-cancer.html

Oncology How it Should Be

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Gary Gize says it’s the quality and attention the staff provides to their patients. “My partners practice oncology the way that it should be practiced. They’re not going to order something to make…

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Dr. Gary Gize

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Gary Gize says it’s the quality and attention the staff provides to their patients. “My partners practice oncology the way that it should be practiced. They’re not going to order something to make the hospital more money. They’re going to give you a medication, they’re going to order a service because you need it. It’s not about how beautiful your building is. It’s about the quality of care inside the building that counts the most.”

Precision Medicine

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Ahad Sadiq says it’s the center’s precision medicine capabilities and dedication to their patients. “We just don’t look at the cancer, but we look at the patient as a whole and try to focus on the well-being…

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Dr. Ahad Sadiq

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Ahad Sadiq says it’s the center’s precision medicine capabilities and dedication to their patients. “We just don’t look at the cancer, but we look at the patient as a whole and try to focus on the well-being while the patient’s getting treated for their cancer… Every day I wake up and I feel that I’m in a position that I can make some difference in somebody’s life. To me that’s a big thing. In the end, it comes down to your dedication to your patients.”

Award Winning Oncology Treatment

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Sunil Babu says it’s the 16 physician team and their dedication to improving their oncology practices. “In the last several years we have made a big push into bringing good clinical trials into…

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Dr. Sunil Babu

What makes FWMOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Sunil Babu says it’s the 16 physician team and their dedication to improving their oncology practices. “In the last several years we have made a big push into bringing good clinical trials into the community by excellent partnerships with academic institutions. In fact, in 2008 the national organization for oncology called ASCO… gave Fort Wayne Oncology an award for the work we have done over the years.”

Independent, Cost-Effective Care

What makes FMWOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Yasolatha Nalamolu says it’s the ability to provide patients with convenient, independent and cost-effective care. “We’re available for the patients 24/7, 365… Most of the time patients are dependent on…

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Dr. Yasolatha Nalamolu

What makes FMWOH the best in northeast Indiana? Dr. Yasolatha Nalamolu says it’s the ability to provide patients with convenient, independent and cost-effective care. “We’re available for the patients 24/7, 365… Most of the time patients are dependent on other people to bring them to the clinic because they don’t sometimes feel good enough to drive. We have clinics in Huntington, Warsaw, Decatur – it makes it convenient for patients to receive care closer to home because they’ll have the support of their family there.”

Breast Cancer Recurrence

After surgery, women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer usually take hormonal therapy medicine to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence). Hormonal therapy given after surgery is called adjuvant hormonal…

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Dr. Shalini Chitneni

After surgery, women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer usually take hormonal therapy medicine to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence). Hormonal therapy given after surgery is called adjuvant hormonal therapy.

  • Tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), works by blocking the action of estrogen on breast cancer cells. It can be used to treat both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
  • The aromatase inhibitors- anastrozole (arimidex), letrozole(femara) and exemestane (aromasin) act by lowering the amount of estrogen in the body. These are shown to be more effective at reducing recurrence risk in postmenopausal women and are now used more often than tamoxifen to treat women who’ve gone through menopause. Aromatase inhibitors aren’t used to reduce recurrence risk in premenopausal women.

Several large studies found that 10 years of tamoxifen was better than 5 because it:

  • lowered the incidence of breast cancer coming back (recurrence)
  • reduced the number of deaths from breast cancer
  • improved overall survival.

So researchers wanted to know if taking an aromatase inhibitor for 10 years would offer more benefits than taking one for 5 years.

In June 2016, results from the MA.17R trial found that taking Femara for 10 years instead of 5 reduced the risk of recurrence and also reduced the risk of a new breast cancer being diagnosed in the opposite breast (contralateral breast cancer) in postmenopausal women diagnosed with early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. It caused worsening of bone density.

Now, new results from 3 other studies (B-42 trails DATA study and IDEAL study) showed that an additional 5 years of Femara offers some benefit, but only for very specific women. The research was presented on Dec. 7, 2016 at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The results showed that an additional 5 years of Femara reduced the risk of:

  • breast cancer recurrence
  • contralateral breast cancer
  • a new cancer somewhere else in the body (non-breast malignancy)

Still, these differences weren’t statistically significant. This means they could have been due to chance and not because of the difference in treatment.

Taking Femara for 5 more years also didn’t improve overall survival. Overall survival is how long a woman lives, whether or not the cancer comes back or grows.

But taking Femara for 5 more years did reduce the risk of distant recurrence — the breast cancer coming back in a part of the body away from the breast — by 28%. This difference was statistically significant, which means that it was likely because of the treatment and not just due to chance. There was no significant difference in the incidence of osteoporotic and occurrence of thrombotic events.

Like all hormonal therapy medicines, Femara can cause side effects, including bone thinning and weakening, fatigue, bone/joint pain, and hot flashes.

My input- Patients who are initially receiving tamoxifen should receive an AI, unless there are contraindications, such as osteoporosis.

For patients who are on aromatase inhibitors and tolerating well, I offer extended treatment to a total of 10 years to patients with higher-risk features such as those with large (> 5cm ) high grade tumors or node positive disease.

On the other hand, women who have significant side effects during the first 5 years of aromatase inhibitors as well as women who have osteoporosis or are at high risk for the condition, probably are not good candidates for 5 more years.

For patients with lower-risk disease who are tolerating treatment well and wish to minimize their risk of new breast cancers, extended endocrine therapy is also an appropriate option.

Fort Wayne North Office
(260) 484-8830
11143 Parkview Plaza Drive, Suite 100
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46845

Fort Wayne South Office
(260) 436-0800
7910 West Jefferson Boulevard, Suite 108
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804

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