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When Your Body Sends a Message

“Turville Bay’s patient centered care is central to my life as a physician and as a radiation oncologist. But in order to receive a diagnosis, to enter our doors, to begin treatment, cancer care begins with screening,” says Dr. June Kim. In our busy lives, she says, we often don’t listen to our body as it signals a change. Dr. Kim advocates for her patients at Turville Bay. The state-of-the-art technology and the compassion of a well-educated and well-trained staff allows her to care for her patients. But first, patients can help themselves by having a conversation with their doctor about concerns or changes in their health. And, keeping up with recommended screenings for breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and now lung cancer, can identify issues before symptoms begin.

What advice does Dr. Kim offer? “Advocate for yourself. See your doctor each year and get recommended screenings. Take care of yourself by eating sensibly and getting plenty of exercise. Rest your body and your mind. Tune in. Pay attention to changes in your body and ask your physician when something concerns you.”

Is it common for patients to put off screening? “It’s a very human trait, to procrastinate. But with cancer, early detection is best.” And, Dr. Kim offered a unique perspective. “One patient said recently that she was grateful for her diagnosis, that she wouldn’t be here if she hadn’t been diagnosed.” Finding her cancer had shocked the patient but subsequent treatment gave her a future. “It takes courage,” she adds, “to face a potential cancer diagnosis. But that’s when the caring begins, and the road to recovery.”

The Honor of Caring for Cancer Patients

Dr. Kim and TomoTherapy machine

Many patients that hear the words “you have cancer” enter our doors at Turville Bay Radiation Oncology Center. They are often apprehensive, overwhelmed, and sometimes fearful initially. During our first consultation we begin to address those emotions with patient centered care. At Turville Bay, my colleagues and I believe that medical skills and technology are best delivered with emotional support, physical support, and the involvement of family and friends when possible. Radiation therapy requires state of the art technology combined with a highly trained team of people. Our consultations allow plenty of time for patients to talk, absorb new information, and ask questions. Patients accustomed to a more passive role in their healthcare are often surprised by our conversations. As we sort through information together, we build relationships between patients and staff. Why this emphasis on relationships? We believe it’s best for the patient, and we’re not alone.

Research shows that the quality of personal, professional, and organizational relationships matters in healthcare and never more than when serious illness arises. Patients that are active participants in their care do better. If we are mindful, empathetic and informative with a patient we find solidarity and a healthy collaboration begins. It promotes communication about things that matter and in turn lifts the fog of apprehension. And feeling understood may contribute to better self-care during treatment. Together we strive to improve their health through treatment and into recovery.

Helping Us Help You

Dr. James Richardson

When it comes to caring for patients at one of the most vulnerable times of their life, our care extends to a carefully forged relationship. It begins when the patient is referred to us and continues through treatment and sometimes beyond.

How do we build a strong relationship so quickly? We begin immediately, working together as a team to give the patient the best experience possible. From the simple things like a warm greeting every day, to the more complex like the time needed with doctors and oncology nurses to discuss every question that patient has. In candor we share knowledge with each other. As the patient opens up with us we help the patient find clarity regarding their diagnosis and their treatment while in our care. Each step of the way our patient relationship strengthens as our team gains understanding of each patient’s needs, fears, and challenges. Every person on our team from our schedulers to our therapists, doctors, and nurses is trained to work with those that are suffering and deliver comfort.

Through these relationships, the patient gains trust in their healthcare team. They trust us to answer questions faithfully, and honestly. To guide them through treatment as it affects them, their family, and caregivers. Delivering this patient centered care is a core belief at Turville Bay: every patient deserves to be treated with respect and with the best care we can deliver.

Turville Bay’s Mission? It’s All About the Patient.

Barb Thiermann

Treating cancer and other serious illness at Turville Bay has strengthened the value of the patient centered care we offer here. We created a space that comforts and supports patients throughout their treatment. When our center was founded in 1986 its mission was to provide the community with the finest technology and care, keeping pace with innovation. Madison’s healthcare community built this center on the premise that great care flows from those that put the patient first. Since then, important research conducted by the Harvard Medical School with recently discharged patients, their family members, physicians, and non-physician staff confirmed its relevance. But we knew this. In the 23 years I’ve been with Turville Bay we’ve used certain care principles because the patient has a better experience.

Building the center on the shores of Lake Monona provided its non-institutional ambiance. Huge windows flood the waiting areas with light. And patients enjoy soothing views of the water. It’s good for staff, too. We tend a healing garden just outside our doors and patients often sit there before treatment enjoying its serenity. There are puzzles and coloring books to occupy thoughts, and knowing the staff is always at hand is comforting. You’ll find our spaces are rather quiet, with a soft hum of activity as patients come and go each day after spending time with our therapists, nurses and doctors.

The values of respect and dignity are at the core of what we do. Sensitivity to each patient’s culture and situation is important. Emotional support is key. We deliver it through our people and through our facility. Our approach to patient centered care has never wavered, and it is at the heart of our decision making. Technology decisions, the healing garden, patient waiting area all were planned with patient care in mind. It’s our mission. The patient comes first.

A Chance to Celebrate!

This year marks Turville Bay’s 8th annual Cancer Survivors & Thrivers Ice Cream Social. Held on National Cancer Survivor’s Day, this is a free event for those who’ve been impacted by cancer – as patients, family members, caregivers, or healthcare providers.

In a beautiful setting overlooking Lake Monona, guests will enjoy free ice cream (10 delicious flavors to choose from) generously donated by Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream and musical entertainment graciously provided by Westside Andy. There will also be opportunities to interact with healthcare providers and to learn more from agencies that offer cancer support programs, such as Gilda’s Club Madison.

Turville Bay doctors and staff look forward to this event as much as those that attend. “It’s a fun time to get together to enjoy life and celebrate cancer survivorship,” says Dr. Michelle Mackay, Medical Director and Radiation Oncologist. And Dr. James Richardson, Radiation Oncologist, adds, “It’s our shared experiences that make this event so special. It’s a chance to be informal, get to know one another and see that good things do come out of cancer treatment.”

For Barb Thiermann, Executive Director, this event fits perfectly with Turville Bay’s philosophy of patient-centered care. “We work hard to create a stress-free environment for patients at Turville Bay and this event provides a wonderful opportunity to engage with others in a relaxed, beautiful setting.

The Cancer Survivor & Thrivers Ice Cream Social is not just for those associated with Turville Bay, this is truly a community event. Everyone is welcome to attend from cancer survivors, those living with cancer, those in treatment, and those recently diagnosed. Join us Sunday, June 3rd 1:00-3:00 at Turville Bay, 1104 John Nolan Drive.

Survivors and Thrivers

Dr Michelle Mackay Oncologist Madison Wisconsin

In my practice treating those with cancer, I encourage my patients to surround themselves with good things. The love of family and friends, the tenderness of caregivers, the encouragement of healthcare providers. A positive and hopeful environment is one of the keys to good treatment. A cancer diagnosis changes your life. Finding joy in the simple things that happen every day is something we encourage at Turville Bay. And it’s the reason we celebrate our journey with cancer survivors and thrivers the first Sunday of June every year.

It all began 8 years ago on the shores of Lake Monona at Turville Bay’s Radiation Oncology center. We welcomed everyone that has been touched by cancer- those in treatment, those that are cancer free, and those that are still living with cancer as we search for a cure. We welcomed families of cancer patients, caregivers and healthcare providers from every hospital and clinic in south central Wisconsin. Under huge canopies, we visited each other, ate gallons of ice cream, danced to live music and laughed.

It’s become a tradition. The first Sunday of June the shore of Lake Monona is filled with joy. It’s the gift of a special afternoon spent with others that have shared the experience of a cancer diagnosis. It feels wonderful. The Cancer Survivors & Thrivers Ice Cream Social is one of my favorite events of the year.

Tips From the Staff: Holiday Mindfulness

The treatment of cancer goes on every day of the year. Some patients find themselves in treatment during the holidays, at a time many patients and caregivers are already overwhelmed. The staff of Turville Bay Radiation Oncology Center offer this advice for patients and caregivers during this time of year.

Take Care of You

Self-care is a priority, and never more so than during illness. Eating healthy food is the first step. “An important second step is exercise, it reduces stress and boosts your mood,” says Dr. James Richardson. Getting outdoors and breathing fresh air is helpful. Meditation and yoga practice can reduce stress instantly.

It’s Ok to Say No

“Recognizing the signs of “too much” helps ward off the fatigue the holidays can bring,” says Dr. June Kim, Radiation Oncologist at Turville Bay. Knowing yourself and your limits is important when you are fighting an illness like cancer.

Live in Gratitude

Cancer can turn our thoughts inward. “But, living a life of gratitude can help you emotionally. Look for the good each day,” says Barb Thiermann, Cancer Center Administrator of Turville Bay, and a cancer survivor herself. Barb found that staying focused on the positives and living fully each day lifted her spirits. “Make it your mission to accept and relish those moments of joy.”

Support Is Here

Talking things over with the staff at Turville Bay can help. “Because we see our patients every day we become part of each other’s world,” says Radiation Oncology Manager Kim Bangert.  “We also encourage visits to Gilda’s Club. Patients often tell us how wonderful it is to listen and also share with others. A visit to Gilda’s is a gift you give yourself.”

The Gift of Time

Shopping can be exhausting. And to many of the patients we serve, the best gifts they give and receive are gifts of time.  One patient began cooking meals together with friends. Another joined a neighbor for tea. A final thought from Barb, “Time with those you care about has the most meaning and involves little or no shopping, and the memories are priceless.”

Pure Patient Care? It’s Turville Bay’s Mission

Kim Bangert - Radiation Oncology Manager

Healthcare at Turville Bay has changed over the years, technology is continually updated, we learn new techniques, and celebrate every new discovery. One thing doesn't change though, it's our commitment to pure patient care. Patient centered care is our mission. A patient is diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness and is referred to Turville Bay for radiation oncology treatment. Another patient will have stereotactic radiosurgery to treat an abnormality without invasive surgery. And another patient may be referred for palliative care to relieve symptoms or reduce pain. The scenarios may be different, but the pure patient care philosophy remains solid. At what can be the most difficult time of their life, our support begins as patients walk through our doors.

Patients are referred for a physical problem, but their emotional discomfort can be as disconcerting to them. From the warm welcome at our entrance, to time spent with our doctors, nurses and therapists, we build relationships, get to know each patient, their family, and their caregivers. Being a part of the patient's journey is both amazing and humbling.

We assess each patient's unique needs for radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and palliative care. Dr. Michelle Mackay, our medical director, Dr. June Kim, or Dr. James Richardson, oversee the highly specialized treatment planning, along with their teams of healthcare providers. Each treatment plan is completely individualized to the patient. When treatment begins, the patient's team continues to build this special relationship, being mindful of the emotional ups and downs of the patient and their caregivers. When extra help is needed referrals are available to fill the need. Gauging progress along with possible side effects, we're always there, always available, and patients find it comforting.

With many patients, this cocoon of care makes the end of treatment a bit scary. No longer seeing us each day can feel a bit frightening. Preparing patients for life after treatment is part of our care. They look forward to ringing the ship's bell in our lakeshore waiting room, signifying their final treatment and the beginning of life beyond our doors. With treatments completed, we encourage every patient to enjoy life knowing that we are always available if needed.

Understanding Cancer Risk Factors

“Turville Bay is south central Wisconsin’s radiation therapy treatment center. Our focus is giving patients our best through treatment and into recovery. But every single day patients, caregivers, and others ask us, as physicians, which substances and behaviors are known to cause cancers? The question is often posed by women, but applies to men in equal measure,” says Dr. James Richardson, Radiation Oncologist at Turville Bay.

“When acknowledging the power of an active life, a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco, patients in treatment also feel the effects. More energy and improved circulation are just two of the benefits,” adds Dr. Michelle Mackay, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director of Turville Bay.

The following graphics may help you make connections in your own life. The first graphic outlines 12 things you can do to limit your risk of developing cancer. Each of these actions has been proven to reduce cancers and improve your quality of life.

The second graphic may lead to a better understanding of your own health, from assessing your family history to recognizing behaviors that combine factors to increase your risk of developing cancer.

“Our goal is to improve the health of each patient we see,” says Dr. June Kim, Radiation Oncologist, “and to help everyone live life to it’s fullest.”

Your Best Defense Against Cancer? Take control of your health to reduce your risk and advocate for yourself.

Stay away from tobacco
Get to and stay at a healthy weight
Get moving with regular physical activity
Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables
Limit alcohol, if you drink at all
Protect your skin with the daily use of sunscreen
Avoid tanning beds
Have your home tested for Radon
Know yourself, your family history, and your risks
Get regular check-ups and cancer screening tests
Perform self-exams regularly
Get vaccines for infection-related cancers


Understanding The Cancers That Affect Us As Women

Cancer risk factors

The First Steps: Radiation Therapy at Turville Bay

Dr. James Richardson

Turville Bay specializes in radiation therapy to treat many types of cancer, including breast, prostate and lung cancers, as well as other illnesses. Turville Bay’s treatment center is located on John Nolen Drive in Madison. When your physician refers you to Turville Bay you’ll receive pure patient care - focused care, from our team of healthcare experts, devoted to you. Turville Bay’s technology is state of the art. And, as you arrive for your treatment each day, we hope you’ll enjoy the soothing views of Lake Monona.

Have you or a loved one been referred to Turville Bay for treatment? “Once you are referred to Turville Bay, you will meet with one of our nurses and then with one of our radiation oncologists, like myself,” says Dr. James Richardson. “We will sit down, review your medical history as well as your medical records, and perform a physical exam. We will then discuss your treatment options. We will select the option that best suits your type of cancer and diagnosis.”

“The next step is treatment planning, which can take a few days or a few weeks depending upon the complexity of the treatment plan. It is important to note that every plan is designed specific to you and your diagnosis,” continues Dr. Richardson.  “Your treatment plan entails the help of one of our medical physicists and Dosimetrists to calculate the radiation dose and make sure that it’s safe to deliver. Treatment generally begins about a week after treatment planning process is complete.”