19229 Mack Ave. Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236
Being part of the largest, multi-hospital health care system in Southeast Michigan gives the Van Elslander Cancer Center the resources to provide the most comprehensive, multi-disciplinary care possible.
The personal touch is what makes it even more special.
“When I see a patient, I picture as if that patient were me, or any member of my family. I ask myself how I would want myself, or my family, treated,” said Ayad Al-Katib, M.D., medical director, in a message describing his center. “When I drive home every evening, I think about how that patient could have been my wife, or could have been my mother.”
Van Elslander, in Gross Pointe Woods, Michigan, is part of the St. John’s Providence Health System, which includes seven hospitals, 125 medical facilities, 14,028 medical professionals and more than 2,000 patient beds. Anything needed is available.
Van Elslander is one of the four Cancer Centers in the System that also includes the Providence Cancer Center, the Assarian Cancer Center and the Webber Cancer Center. Lung cancer and mesothelioma, the cancer caused by asbestos, are just two of the many conditions treated by experts in a particular field.
“When patients are diagnosed with cancer, they often ask, `Where can I get the best treatment?’ Patients and their families want to do everything possible to beat the disease,” Al-Katib said in another message on the center’s website. “We established the Center to provide the highest level for all cancer patients.”
Al-Katib specializes in hematology and medical oncology. He was trained at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He works closely with Michael J. Kraut, M.D., director with the closely-affiliated Assarian Cancer Center. Kraut specializes in thoracic cancer, including lung and esophageal cancers, along with mesothelioma.
Among the surgeons is Richard N. Berri, M.D., who is the director of Surgical Oncology and Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program. He works closely with the mesothelioma patients, and is a strong proponent of the cytoreductive surgery (CRS).
Unlike many places across the country, the Van Elslander Cancer Center provides the convenience of easily managed multidisciplinary care in a single building. Laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging, chemotherapy, radiation oncology, outpatient surgery, transfusion and mammography are only a few of the services offered there.
According to Al-Katib, the center pays special attention to the mental side of cancer care – importance of the soul, in his words – and has made the process as pleasant as possible. There are amenities like the Healing Garden, a labyrinth walk, and the Valade Healing Center, which includes yoga, music, reflexology, Swedish/relaxation/therapeutic massage and meditation. For those so inclined, there is acupuncture, Reiki and Tai Chi. The whole environment is especially soothing to the senses. The goal there is to be as peaceful and healing as it is advanced.
The one-stop, well-coordinated care allows patients to focus their energies on getting better. There is an educational center and psychosocial care. There are alternative and complementary therapies being offered. There is considerably more than just top-flight oncology physicians and surgeons, diagnostic facilities and traditional therapies at Van Elslander.
There is “unrivaled,” technology being used throughout the facility. For example, it includes the advanced Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), which utilizes computer-controlled X-ray accelerators delivering precise radiation doses to areas of a tumor. The high dose radiation is designed to custom fit the tumor while minimizing the exposure to surrounding areas, controlling the side effects often seen with conventional radiotherapy.
Surgical specialization is available for breast, colorectal, esophagus, prostate, pancreatic, gynecologic and lung cancers. The radiation team also is trained for specialized vertebroplasty, which treats metastatic lesions to the spine.
Through affiliations and partnerships with national cancer care organizations, the oncologists at Van Elslander offer the most aggressive and progressive therapies, along with national clinical trials.
“We strive to provide care that treats the whole person. Cancer affects not only the patient but the entire family. Our care team works to educate patient and family, relieve symptoms, reduce anxiety and ease the fears,” Kraut said in his message to patients. “It can be a difficult journey, but we work with you, and for you.”
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