News from Illinois CancerCare

Bringing the Best Cancer Care to Central Illinois: A Daughter’s Story

For a generation that grew up with the internet, where you can find nearly anything at the drop of a hat, there is a belief that the answer is out there – you just have to find it. So, when my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer, and I was 160 miles away working in downtown Chicago, I made it my mission to find the most advanced care for his diagnosis. CDs of MRI scans were overnighted to my office and sent to neurosurgeons, oncologists and radiation experts in Texas, Indiana, Minnesota, as well as left at front doors or personally handed off in Chicago. The prognosis was not good, but their insight and compassion gave me some clear goals. I had not fully thought through if my parents would prefer to stay at home. My only concern was finding the best treatment.

For my dad, clinical research was a great option. There was no cure for this type of cancer (there still is not) and participating in a clinical trial would allow him access to the newest treatments being developed in hopes of eventually finding a cure. Clinical research is how all known treatments for cancer have been discovered. Participation in clinical research allows for patients to be a part of this legacy of scientific innovation. The clinical trial my dad wanted the most was offered at less than 20 sites across the United States. In Illinois, there were two locations: one in Chicago, and one in Peoria at Illinois CancerCare, P.C. I was grateful for the convenience, but still remarkably naïve to how treatment close to home would positively impact his life. The support, comfort, cost savings, flexibility, and confidence both of my parents received by remaining at home, where they lived their whole lives, cannot be overstated.

With over 40 years of experience, Illinois CancerCare, P.C. is committed to research and works with all local healthcare and hospitals, attracting some of the best physicians in the nation. Thanks to the pioneering vision and early leadership of Dr. Stephen A. Cullinan and Dr. James B. Gerstner, Illinois CancerCare, P.C. was among the first cancer treatment practices in the country to take the practice, physicians, and nurses to outlying communities to provide state-of-the-art cancer care to patients in their home communities.

Although my dad is no longer with us, he did get to enjoy life longer due to his treatment at Illinois CancerCare, living to play with his first grandchild and see his youngest daughter get married. A more hopeful experience is shared from my friend Kelsie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27 and is now currently in remission as she turns 30. “I’ve told people, ‘I do not ever want to leave Peoria, because if I ever do have this as another chapter of my life, I want to be close to Illinois CancerCare again. I want to be close to the people who helped me.’”

Article written by Alli Turner