When the diagnosis is cancer, there’s comfort in knowing that you don’t have to go far from home for treatment. Ocala Health is your partner, providing the best in prevention, screening, education, and care for cancer patients and their families. The cancer program at Ocala Health provides comprehensive cancer services. With more than 25 years of specialized service, you can trust you'll be treated with the best of care.

While the facilities are important, it’s our multi-disciplinary team, aiding in the patient’s treatment, which makes the difference in each patient’s care. One of the main assets in the patient’s team is the oncology patient navigator that is there to walk you through the process and to provide convenience, continuity, and genuine care.

Cancer Care


Types

  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Brain Tumors
  • Gastrointestinal (GI Cancer
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Urological Cancer
  • Metastasized Cancer
  • Stages of Cancer

Treatments


  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Biotherapy
  • Immunotherapy

Our multi-disciplinary team will perform diagnostic testing to determine the stage of your cancer, which will aid and guide your treatment plan.

Whether diagnosed with Stage 1 or Stage IV, early detection of cancer is critical to achieving the best possible outcome for each patient.

Oncology Patient Navigators

Jolene Hetsler, RN
Lung Cancer Nurse Navigator
(352) 401-1534
Email

Michelle Sawdon, RN
Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator
(352) 291-6328
Email

Ocala Health works together with Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, to provide experienced, compassionate nurse navigators to support patients as they go through the many stages of living with cancer.

If you have been recently diagnosed with either lung or breast cancer, reach out to our navigators. Your nurse navigator is your medical system advocate and will help you, and your family, understand each part of the cancer journey while compassionately supporting your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

To meet the rest of our multi-disciplinary team, check out the section below.

Genetics Nurse Navigator

Our Team

At Ocala Health our team works with a multidisciplinary team to provide you with personalized care for your cancer journey, the best treatment at the right time, from diagnosis through survivorship. We recognize the importance of treating not only the disease, but you as an individual. Our goal is to work with you to restore your quality of life and give you the emotional support you need by determining the least invasive and most effective cancer diagnosis and treatment options.

Board certified physicians – physicians with exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice

Oncology Certified Nurses – OCN specialty-trained nurses who have the knowledge necessary to care for adult oncology patients. This certification validates an individual's knowledge in cancer nursing

Oncology patient navigator – a nurse who helps you to make the transition from diagnosis to treatment simple and seamless in order to help you through your recovery and healing process

Specialized pharmacists – pharmacists trained in oncology medicines

Pathologists – a physician (MD or DO) who is trained to examine and interpret results of tests done on body tissue. This information is important for your diagnosis and recovery

Case managers – advocates who help you understand your current health status, what you can do about it, and why treatments are important

Social workers - professionals who are knowledgeable about available community and governmental resources and psychosocial implications for individuals and families. He or she provides appropriate interventions and discharge planning services

Licensed clinical dietitians – a licensed specialist who will help you plan your diet

Genetic couseling referral – a professional who provides comprehensive cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, patient education, and genetic testing

Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, but is also diagnosed in men. According to www.breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Early detection is key in catching breast cancer in the earliest stages, Resulting in the best possible outcome. If you are due for a mammogram screening, please contact your primary care provider or gynecologist. A breast cancer diagnosis may have you feeling overwhelmed, but the Ocala Health cancer care team is here to answer your questions so that you understand your options, perform advanced procedures aided by state of the art technology to diagnose and treat your cancer, and offer emotional support through your breast cancer journey. Depending on your symptoms and exact tumor location and size, your healthcare provider will order tests that may include additional diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, biopsies, and/or surgical procedures to diagnose and stage your breast cancer. You can trust you are in capable hands with an experienced multi-disciplinary care team that meets regularly to review cases and develop a personalized care plan for each patient. Ocala Health has a dedicated Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator to assist breast cancer patients with understanding their diagnosis and available treatment options, provide educational and resource materials, and coordinate care with the entire healthcare team. Breast cancer treatment options vary and may include surgical interventions, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, clinical trials or research study participation, and plastic or reconstructive surgery options. The Ocala Health cancer care team along with a multi-disciplinary team provides everything you need from diagnosis, to staging, through treatment and follow-up care.

There are 2 main types of lung cancer: Small Cell Lung Cancer or Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. They are not treated the same way, but our program’s diverse team of specialists and advanced resources will provide the experience and compassion you are looking for to guide you on your cancer journey.

Lung cancer screenings are important at detecting cancer in earlier stages before most symptoms occur, thus resulting in a better patient outcome. Low Dose CT (LDCT) Lung Screening is recommended for patients who are at high risk for lung cancer, and meet the following criteria:

  • Are between the ages of 55 and 77.
  • Are still smoking or have quit smoking in the last 15 years.
  • Have smoked at least 30 pack/years (multiply the number of packs smoked per day by the number of years smoked).

Those who have symptoms of a lung condition at the time of the screening, such as new cough or shortness of breath, are/NOT ELIGIBLE for LDCT.

If you think you are a good candidate, please contact your primary care physician or pulmonologist.

Depending on your symptoms and exact tumor location and size, your healthcare provider will order tests that may include additional diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, biopsies, and/or surgical procedures to diagnose and stage your lung cancer. You can trust you are in capable hands with an experienced multi-disciplinary care team that meets regularly to review cases and develop a personalized care plan for each patient.

Ocala Health has a dedicated Lung Cancer Nurse Navigator to assist lung cancer patients with understanding their diagnosis and available.

Treatment options, provide educational and resource materials, and coordinate care with the entire healthcare team. Lung cancer treatment varies and may include surgical interventions, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, clinical trials or research study participation, and/or palliative care services. The Ocala Health cancer care team provides everything you need from diagnosis, to staging, through treatment, and follow-up care.

It is normal to be scared and overwhelmed if you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. At Ocala Health, you are getting the experiences and compassion you are looking for to guide you on your journey. We’re dedicated to maintaining the highest level of quality care for our patients, offering a wide range of treatment options, and working with each patient to determine the best plan to restore your quality of life.

We treat malignant (cancerous) and benign (non-cancerous) brain tumors, as well as skull based lesions as well as other neuroscience surgical services. Depending on your symptoms and exact tumor location and size, your healthcare provider will order tests that may include additional diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, and/or biopsies to diagnose and stage your brain tumor. You can trust you are in capable hands with experienced neurosurgeons and a multi-disciplinary care team that meet regularly to review cases and develop a personalized care plan for each patient.

Treatment varies and may include surgical interventions, non-surgical therapies, and/or palliative care services. The Ocala Health cancer care team provides everything you need from diagnosis, to staging, through treatment and follow-up care.

Gastrointestinal cancers, or GI cancers, affect the organs in your body that comprise the digestive system. GI cancers are typically diagnosed after a screening is performed on a patient who presented symptoms on a doctor visit. Depending on your symptoms, your healthcare provider will order more tests that may include diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, biopsies, or scope procedures to diagnose and stage your cancer.

Treatment varies for GI cancers based on tumor site, stage and symptoms. Because of the complex nature of GI cancers, the Ocala Health multidisciplinary team meet regularly to review cases and develop and personalized care plan for each patient, that may include surgical interventions, non-surgical therapies, and/or palliative care services.

Ocala Health has a dedicated Complex GI Cancer Nurse Navigator to assist complex GI cancer patients with understanding their diagnosis and available treatment options, provide educational and resource materials, and coordinate care with the entire healthcare team.

Gynecological (GYN) cancers are found in the female reproductive system. When a GYN cancer is diagnosed, it is best to seek treatment from a Gynecologic oncologist that specializes in treating this cancer type. There cancers may include:

  • Cervical Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer

Gynecologic cancer screening begins with yearly pelvic exams and Pap smears at your healthcare provider’s office. The Pap smear is one of the most reliable and effective cervical cancer screening tests available. Your provider may also use the HPV test to screen for cervical cancer, which can be informative if your Pap smear comes back with an inconclusive result. Always discuss abdominal, menstruation, or urinary issues to help your doctor determine if test are needed to screen for other GYN cancers. Depending on your symptoms, your healthcare provider will order tests that may include diagnostic, imaging, bloodwork, biopsies, or scope procedures to diagnose and stage your cancer. Treatment varies for GYN cancers, and may include surgical interventions, non-surgical therapies, and/or palliative care services.

Head and Neck Cancers may include:

  • Oral Cavity
  • Pharynx
  • Larynx
  • Paranasal sinuses
  • Nasal Cavity
  • Salivary glands
  • Esophagus

Depending on your symptoms, your healthcare provider will order tests that may include diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, biopsies, or scope procedures to diagnose and stage your cancer. Treatment varies for head and neck cancers, and may include surgical interventions, non-surgical therapies, and/or speech pathology.

Thyroid cancer can develop from the tissues of the thyroid gland, found at the front of the neck. Depending on your symptoms, your healthcare provider will order tests that may include diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, biopsies, or scope procedures to diagnose and stage your cancer. Treatment varies for thyroid cancer and may include surgical interventions or non-surgical therapies.

Skin cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells, and it’s one of the most common cancers diagnosed every year.

According to the AIM at Melanoma Foundation, 9.2% of Floridians have been told they have skin cancer.

Multiple types of skin cancer include:

  • Actinic Keratoses
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Florida ranks second in the nation for the highest rate of new melanoma cases. Depending on your symptoms, your healthcare provider will order tests that may include diagnostic imaging and/or biopsies to diagnose and stage your cancer. Treatment plans vary and is a collaborative effort by a multi-disciplinary team that may include surgical Intervention, non-surgical therapies, radiation therapy and plastic or reconstructive surgery options.

The prostate is a male reproductive gland that produces a fluid found in semen. Typically the size of a walnut, the prostate is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, and surrounds the urethra – the tube that empties urine from the bladder. Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland and may spread to surrounding structures. Nearly 1 in 6 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. While most men with prostate cancer have no symptoms, physicians can find prostate cancer during a routine physical exam or with a blood test. Due to greater awareness, earlier detection is on the rise and mortality is declining. Also, better treatments are allowing more men to return to active and productive lives after treatment. An early diagnosis of prostate cancer typically means a range of treatment options that may include conservative management, radiation therapy, or surgical removal of the prostate. Your treatment options will depend on the stage of the disease, your age, overall health and/or personal preference.

Urologic cancer is found in the organs that comprise the urinary tract including the bladder, kidneys, prostate and testicles. Depending on your symptoms, your healthcare provider will order tests that may include diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, or biopsies to diagnose and stage your cancer. Treatment plans vary, and may include both surgical interventions and non surgical therapies.

Metastasized cancers are cancers that have spread from the primary site to other areas in the body. Ocala Health uses a multi-disciplinary team approach to metastasized cancer care. This team includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, oncology nurse navigators and social workers. Your dedicated team of providers administer advanced care in a supportive manner, guiding you and your family throughout your cancer journey.

Your healthcare provider(s) will order tests that may include diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, biopsies or scope procedures to diagnose and stage your cancer.

Metastatic cancer treatment varies based on cancer site(s), stage and symptoms. Individualized treatment plan options may include surgical intervention, non-surgical therapies and/or palliative care services.

Our Services

Inpatient Oncology Services

The cancer program at West Marion Community Hospital has a dedicated 12 bed inpatient unit where all rooms are private. Ocala Health's nurse navigator encourages involvement of family and friends through the use of our Cancer Resource Room located on the second floor. There, they can find information on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options through numerous books, video tapes, DVDs and internet resources.

Diagnostic Imaging

Services used to determine the location and specific type of disease are provided at Ocala Regional Medical Center and West Marion Community Hospital. Complete diagnostic imaging services available include: CT scan, MRI, nuclear medicine, and ultrasound. For your outpatient diagnostic needs, contact Advanced Imaging Centers, a member of the Ocala Health team.

Advanced Imaging Centers

Surgical Services

Ocala Health offers you and your doctor a comprehensive place to go for cancer surgery. There are many goals associated with surgery, whether it's to diagnose, treat, or relieve the symptoms it causes.

Your team, together, will best decide the right one for you. Ocala Health's navigator will be here to provide you with additional education and/or support you need throughout this process.

  • Prevention/Screening
    • Mammo
    • Colonoscopy
    • LDCT
    • HPV
  • Diagnostic
    • Polypectomy
  • Curative
    • Lympectomy
    • Hysterectomy
  • Restorative
  • Palliative

Comprehensive Laboratory Services

The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Health Care Organization (JCAHO) and College of American Pathologists (CAP) approvals ensure that we have quality laboratory services for all patients.

Radiation Oncology

Full radiation therapy services are available a short distance from the hospital.

Genetic Counseling

A small but significant percentage of cancers are hereditary. Identification of individuals at increased risk to develop cancer by virtue of a strong family history or an altered gene allows for early intervention. Screening has the potential to detect cancer at an early stage when prognosis is generally better and risk-reducing strategies may prevent disease from occurring. Therefore, patients can learn very important information during genetic counseling that may change their medical management. Most patients who pursue genetic counseling are interested in learning what the chances are that they will develop cancer (or develop cancer again) and what the risks may be for their children.

Genetic Counseling service referrals are available and can provide comprehensive cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, patient education, and genetic testing for patients who are concerned about cancer risk.

Valuable Resources in Your Community

Ask Ocala Health’s nurse navigators for more information about community resources and support at (800) 530-1188.