Find A Top Doctor or Dentist Near You

Lee Health Cancer Institute: Leading the Fight Against Cancer in Southwest Florida

Dedicated to Delivering Excellence in Cancer Care and Support Services

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 1.9 million cancers diagnosed and more than 600,000 cancer deaths this year. The good news is that the introduction in recent years of improved screening exams, diagnostic tests, and treatments has led to declining death rates from cancer.Cancer patients in Southwest Florida are fortunate to have a dynamic partner to aid them in their journey to survivorship: the Lee Health Cancer Institute, the cancer program for Lee Health, Florida’s largest public health system. “We have several locations where that program is provided, including a 100,000-square-foot freestanding outpatient cancer center in Fort Myers called the Regional Cancer Center,” says Deb Wilson, MSN, RN, OCN, vice president of oncology services at Lee Health. The center provides medical, surgical, and radiation oncology and complete infusion services, including chemotherapy. Patients may also receive cancer rehabilitation and palliative care. Support services include nurse navigation, social work services, nutrition counseling, and genetic counseling. The center also houses Cookie’s Place Boutique, which helps patients obtain wigs, scarves, and prostheses and has board-certified mastectomy fitters on staff. “We also operate a 72-bed inpatient cancer unit within Gulf Coast Medical Center, also in Fort Myers,” Deb continues. “There are 36 beds dedicated to medical oncology and 36 to surgical oncology. The unit makes up the seventh floor of the medical center. “In August, we will open an 18,000-square-foot outpatient center called the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Clinic in Estero. At that location, we will offer medical oncology, infusion services, chemotherapy, and all the support services offered at the cancer center, including nurse navigation, social work, and nutrition counseling.”

Mission and Vision

The mission of the Lee Health Cancer Institute is to provide cancer patients with excellent care that was previously available only outside of Southwest Florida. “We focus on patient care by offering nurse navigation, which provides a single point of reference for patients as they navigate the complexity of cancer services,” Deb explains. “Patients typically encounter surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. They undergo multiple tests at different locations. Nurse navigation guides them through their journey.” Cancer patients have complex needs that go beyond medical treatment. They need peace of mind, camaraderie, and a treatment team willing to fight for them at every step. Deb says the Lee Health Cancer Institute offers patients nearly every aspect of cancer care in one program. “In addition to the nurse navigators, the Lee Health Cancer Institute is staffed with skilled physicians, including expert medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists,” Deb assures. “We have chemotherapy pharmacists and registered nurses, most of whom are oncology certified.” “We also have licensed clinical social workers, registered dietitians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and a speech pathologist. We offer support groups for patients as well as their families. We have massage therapy and will soon be restarting our yoga program. We provide essentially every service cancer patients might need during their journey.” The vision of the Lee Health Cancer Institute is to provide leading-edge cancer care to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. “Lee Health is the safety net hospital for Southwest Florida,” Deb asserts. “That means all cancer patients, from the underserved the fully insured, receive the same level of care at the institute. When you walk into our infusion center and look around, you will see that all our patients receive the same care in a healing environment, even if some cannot afford to pay for it. We are proud of that.”

To Learn More Visit: Lee Health Cancer Institute

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *