When navigating a cancer diagnosis, patients want state-of-the-art treatment and compassionate care.
Nebraska Cancer Specialists provides this in a comfortable setting that’s close to home.
Local and area residents can find the treatment and other needed services at Methodist Fremont Health Park Plaza Medical Center at 450 E. 23rd St.
A regional leader in cancer diagnosis, treatment and research, NCS also offers a host of patient-focused services from nutritional webinars to occupational therapy and genetic testing.
Many times, patients believe they must seek treatment and other services in large, metropolitan cities, where they face fast-paced traffic and larger, unfamiliar buildings.
“Sometimes, it’s very intimidating for patients and families and caregivers and inconvenient, too,” said Kelly Horn, NCS physician liaison.
This is where NCS provides a much-needed solution.
“There’s no need to be having to travel and search for providers outside the community,” Horn said. “What we really pride ourselves on at Nebraska Cancer Specialists is that we do have providers and cutting-edge treatments right there in their neighborhood.”
Horn notes the importance of close-to-home care.
“It’s so important for patients to know they receive that care and treatment close to their homes, friends, families and support network,” Horn said.
Horn points out the special care patients receive from NCS.
“When a patient first visits Nebraska Cancer Specialists, they are treated like family,” Horn said. “We realize the care they receive can seem complex. We take the time to educate them on and explain their diagnosis, treatment plan, any side effects they may experience and answer any questions they have.”
Dr. M. Salman Haroon and Dr. Mary Huerter Wells provide the personalized care and leading-edge treatment in Fremont. Haroon is board certified in medical oncology and is a clinical assistant professor. Huerter Wells has a background in palliative medicine and a special interest in female cancers.
“Our physician teams are extremely thorough and really take the time to get to know the patient,” Horn said. “They are like family to us and we want them to feel the same way.”
Karly Schneider, registered dietitian, is the nutrition specialist at NCS. She serves as a liaison between the medical team and a patient and helps translate nutrition goals for the best possible treatment outcomes.
Schneider provides solutions to problems, which range from diet education and general counseling, hints for eating when nauseated and assisting with feeding tubes.
Her services include:
• Cooking classes and demonstrations.
• Nutrition programs and education.
• Individual and group sessions.
• Healthy recipes and cooking tutorials.
• Customized meal plans.
• Medical and nutritional therapy counseling.
• Oral nutrition supplements guidance.
• Tube feeding and parenteral nutrition counseling.
Schneider schedules an appointment with the patient and completes an assessment involving questions for the patient and the person’s family. She takes that information to the medical team and works with oncologists then brings a customized meal plan to the patient.
“I am an advocate for my patients by taking the time to understand preferences, personal needs, and determining what motivates them,” Schneider said. “By developing trust and confidence with the patient, I can make them feel more empowered to take control of their nutrition plan of care. When a patient is educated and empowered, the best results are achieved.”
In March — which is National Nutrition Month — NCS is launching a virtual series called, “Nutrition Now.”
It features Schneider presenting a series of six, 30-minute webinars that will be housed on the NCS website, nebraskacancer.com. The webinars will be available 24 hours a day.
NCS provides genetic counseling as well.
“In the last few years, we have been able to find this type of service extremely helpful for families to understand their inherited cancer risk,” Horn said.
Cancer risk knowledge is a powerful tool that can help families make informed medical and lifestyle decisions.
Michaela Sherbeck is the genetic counselor who visits the Fremont clinic. She is an advance practice registered nurse and advanced oncology certified clinical nurse specialist.
Sherbeck meets with patients and their families to help them understand their inherited risk by analyzing genetic information to identify their risk for specific cancers.
She can explain test results and provide information about cancer screening, prevention, monitoring and treatment options, while providing support with services individualized to each patient.
Patients are encouraged to bring along a family member or friend, who can help listen, remember and think of additional questions.
Helpful information to bring to an appointment includes specific types of cancer diagnosed in the family, along with a list of each person’s name, current age or age at time of death and cause.
However, patients shouldn’t avoid coming to an appointment if they don’t know much about their family’s history.
Sherbeck can continue to be a resource for families as it’s important to call a genetic counselor with any questions or if changes occur in a family’s cancer history.
NCS offers occupational therapy, which helps patients continue to be able to participate in daily activities they find meaningful.
“We help with balance, exercise and strengthening, emotional concerns and cognitive therapies,” Horn said.
Sometimes, patients will experience what’s called “chemo fog,” where they sometimes feel slightly foggy.
An occupational therapist can help a patient experiencing that situation. The occupational therapist also can help with eating, swallowing and all sorts of muscular types of therapies.
NCS encourages patients to continue annual visits with a primary care physician for an annual checkup, to continue getting mammograms, colonoscopies and for men, a PSA test, used to screen for prostate cancer.
“What we don’t want to have happen is patients being frightened or fearful of going out into the public and not going to see their PCP and then they don’t get their regularly scheduled tests and then they come in three or four years later and they have Stage 3 or 4 cancer,” Horn said.
Top notch care
Patients, who need cancer treatment, can find professional and gentle care at Nebraska Cancer Specialists.
“It’s really about personalized care in the convenience of your community,” Haroon said. “I enjoy providing my patients with top notch care and treatment right here in their neighborhood.”