PITTSBURG, Kans. — Cancer patients in one Four State region no longer need to travel outside their area for some doctor’s office visits. The Freeman Health System is in the midst of trying to provide more access to oncology doctors for patients living outside the Joplin area.
A good example is the Physician Group Facility in Pittsburg, where Dr. Chance Matthiesen is now spending two days out of each month. While patients won’t be able to receive radiation services at this location yet, they can come here for everything else – including chemotherapy.
“For all patients who’ve received treatment, they often need follow-up care for often up to five years, which can include imaging, x-rays, laboratory work, and just routine clinical exams, all of that can now be provided here in Pittsburg,” explained Dr. Matthiesen.
Dr. Matthiesen says the less traveling a cancer patient has to do, the better.
“There’s patients that perhaps don’t know if they need radiation, this is a way that our services can come to where they live to have the discussions about if they’re a candidate or if it is even indicated, and if so, we can prepare for that um on their timelines to help that less stressful, more convenient,” he said.
He says just because you get a cancer diagnosis, you might not even need to worry about future treatments.
“Sometimes things that were radiation indication 10 even five years ago are no longer indicated, same with chemotherapy. So what’s important is you get access to an oncologist to discuss what cancer you have, what stage it is, if there’s any additional imaging or blood work that needs to be done.”
He says the long-term plan is to build a radiation treatment machine in Pittsburg so southeast Kansas residents won’t have to leave the region at all.