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December 2011
Featured Story

NCH Cancer Services Brings Together all the Right Elements

Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) has established a comprehensive cancer program that brings together a full range of diagnostic and treatment modalities in a single, accessible location. Each year, more than 1,500 people are diagnosed and treated for cancer at the Hospital. NCH also offers weekly multidisplinary cancer conferences where specially trained physicians, clinicians and support staff collaborate and review newly diagnosed cancer cases. As a result, individuals facing cancer have the confidence that, at NCH, they will receive the best possible care every step of the way.

The Hospital’s Cancer Services team has long been committed to bringing safe, evidence-based technologies to Chicago’s northwest suburbs. As a result, NCH has some of the most advanced medical equipment to screen for, diagnose, stage and treat cancer. “Northwest Community has done a great job at identifying and evaluating tools that provide technologically advanced care for patients,” says Stephen Nigh, MD, medical director of Radiation Oncology at NCH.

Signature technologies include:

  • CyberKnife® Stereotactic Radiosurgery SystemIn August 2006, NCH was the first hospital in northern Illinois to offer CyberKnife. Nearly 500 patients have been treated to date.
  • daVinci® Si Robotic Surgery SystemNCH is one of the few hospitals in the area to offer the latest generation of da Vinci technology, allowing doctors to perform a broader range of surgical procedures than ever before.
  • Calypso® (IG-IMRT)Also known as GPS for the Body®, Calypso tracks tumors in the prostate for more accurate radiation treatment. NCH is one of only three healthcare institutions in Illinois with this radiation therapy technology.

Other advanced treatments and therapies include BARRX HALO 360 Ablation System, conformal radiation therapy (3D CRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), low- and high-dose brachytherapy, and accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI). Click here for a complete list.

More than Technology
NCH backs its technological expertise with quality and safety. The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (CoC) awarded the NCH Cancer program a three-year approval with commendation in 2009. With a successful on-site visit from the CoC in November, NCH expects to again receive a three-year approval.

In September, NCH became the fourth hospital in Illinois to earn accreditation in radiation oncology by the American College of Radiology and the American Society for Radiation Oncology. Keith Ammons, director of Radiation Oncology and Cancer Services at NCH, is especially proud to receive this accreditation. “With so much national attention focused on the delivery of quality radiation care across the country, this is a significant accomplishment that validates the high level of care delivered right here at NCH,” says Ammons.

A Patient’s Perspective
Dorothy Andry of Grayslake was told she had lung cancer and that her time was limited. It was a crushing blow, but feeling undeterred she began searching for other options. A family member told her about the technology at NCH, and everything changed.

“My doctor (at a different hospital) told me even with six weeks of radiation, I maybe would have two years to live,” Andry says. “At Northwest Community Hospital, I had three CyberKnife treatments. It was painless. My tumor is gone, and I’m now a five-year lung cancer survivor.”

Dorothy is just one of many NCH cancer success stories. Others include Susan, who enrolled in a clinical trial at NCH to conquer breast cancer. There’s also Bill, who is fighting prostate cancer with Calypso radiation therapy.

These stories, as well as an overview of the cancer program and statistical data reported from 2010, are included in the recently published Cancer Program Annual Report. Click here to view a PDF of this year’s report. For more information about Cancer Services at NCH, contact Keith Ammons at 847.618.6570 or

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Last Updated 04/10/2009