“What would you do if you heard, ‘sorry, but you have cancer’,” asked Dr. Timothy Kubal, the guest speaker at the VHA-sponsored forum this week at the Eisenhower Recreation Center.
He is the Moffitt Cancer Center’s medical director of process excellence, and “focuses on continuous improvement of the patient experience.”
He described how the 30-year-old, Tampa-based healthcare facility recently was named as one of the 10 best cancer centers in United States; and that, last year, 21,000 in-patients from 130 countries were treated, while there were another 384,000 out-patient visits.
Kubal then praised the Center’s pioneering clinical trials and treatment programs conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of physicians who have a collective goal of improving the quality of patient care – and improving patient outcomes.
“We have the opportunity to touch lives,” he stated.
After his presentation, the audience was invited to ask questions.
The first question was “what are the best preventative practices?”
Dr. Kubal emphasized several measures.
He stressed the need for routine PSA tests, and if elevated, they should be rechecked before obtaining a second opinion, such as from Moffitt’s specialists.
He advocated for yearly mammograms, and depending on the patient’s physical characteristics, the use of high-quality imaging.
Another vital examination is a routine colonoscopy. For those unwilling, a least take a less-invasive fecal test, he continued.
Dr. Kubal also recommended a complete blood test.
For current or past smokers, he felt a low-dosage chest scan is imperative.
Finally, Dr Kubal suggested that everyone, during routine dental visits, ask their dentist to perform a ‘head and neck’ exam.
The program targeted those who have been touched by cancer, as well as those who have not yet been impacted.
“We don’t have a cancer diagnosis….but you never know,” said Phil Neal, of the Village of Dunedin. “My wife and I want to be prepared with information if it ever becomes necessary.”
Others in attendance had a more immediate concern.
“We have cancer on both sides of our family. My brother just completed a year-long program of radiation, chemotherapy and then surgery for esophageal cancer,” explained Sonny Matthews, of Fernandina. “My wife recently beat breast cancer. And, I’m an Army veteran who served in Vietnam. Many of us were exposed to Agent Orange that now has been determined to be cancer-causing.”
Prior to Dr. Kubal’s presentation, Shelia Interrante, one of Moffit’s physician liaisons, was busy answering questions and distributing literature.
“Many residents asked how they could utilize our services,” Interrante said. “The best way is for their personal physicians, or their GI, thoracic or oncology specialist to make a referral to Moffitt. They will be connected to the appropriate department to immediately begin the intake process.”
The evening’s seminar was an extension of the VHA’s goal that all Villagers understand their health care options
“Last year, we sponsored, ‘Living to 100.’ We want everyone to know what is available before there is a crises, they become overwhelmed by the issues, and don’t have the time to investigate options to make an informed decision,” said Art Donnelly of The VHA.