The Porter Cancer Care Center is a comprehensive cancer treatment program in Denver that combines the most advanced treatments and technology all under one roof, making cancer treatment more efficient and easier for patients and their families.
Deciding which cancer treatment is best for each patient is based on many factors. The range of therapies may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy or a combination. Prior to recommending a treatment plan, the oncologist will study the patient's imaging studies, pathology report and other tests as well as perform a thorough physical examination.
We offer an integrative approach to fighting cancer by bringing together conventional tools such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy with complementary therapies including nutritional support, mind-body medicine physical therapy, pain management and spiritual support. We recruit physicians who are highly skilled, knowledgeable and caring. Our expert cancer care team includes surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists as well as oncology certified nurses and ancillary staff specially trained in oncology services.
While surgery and radiation are considered local therapies because they treat tumors at the site, chemotherapy is considered a systemic therapy because it circulates through the body in the bloodstream. Other types of systemic treatment are hormonal therapy, antiangiogenesis agents and vaccines. Systemic therapies are given by mouth, injection or infusion (IV).
The inpatient chemotherapy infusion center at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver is located on the first floor of the hospital and has been newly remodeled with patient comfort in mind. We know how important comfort is during chemotherapy treatment so the new rooms are spacious and include reclining chairs. The nurses on the inpatient oncology unit are certified oncology nurses to ensure our patients receive the highest quality of care. The clinical pharmacist reviews all chemotherapy in the infusion center to assure dosage is appropriately based on renal and liver function and other medical indications.
Located on the second floor of the Porter Cancer Care Center. Both Dr. Nadine Mikhaeel and Dr. Thomas Kenney completed their fellowship training at the University of Colorado, and they are board certified in hematology and oncology. They provide care for a broad spectrum of cancers as well as blood disorders. The medical oncologist often becomes the lead member of a cancer patient’s health care team, prescribes chemotherapy or other drug therapies, helps make informed decisions about individual treatment plans, organizes the execution of the plan and provides long term follow up and screening.
The clinic provides infusion service, has five OCN certified chemotherapy infusion nurses and is equipped with 11 infusion chairs. Cases are discussed at a weekly tumor conference where history, imaging and pathology are reviewed by a panel of physicians including oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists. The clinic also participates in clinical trials through the Colorado Cancer Research Program.
Porter Adventist Hospitals’s radiation oncology department is a leader in cancer treatment and radiation therapy technology in the Denver area.
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) and Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) that offers fast, precise, non-invasive treatment for cancer sites located throughout the body including difficult to operate regions such as the lungs, brain, spinal cord and abdomen
- Arc-based Treatment Delivery that delivers radiation treatments in a fraction of the time of standard radiation oncology equipment
- Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) that monitors the movement of tumors and other organs to ensure that treatment is both safe and accurate
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) that not only shapes to a tumor’s size and shape but reduces exposure to healthy tissue by creating multiple small beams of radiation that converge at tumor’s focal point
- Respiratory Gating Treatment Delivery, Optical Guidance Patient Positioning Tracking and Continuous Motion Management that tracks patient and tumor movement in real-time to allow for more precise and accurate treatment delivery
- 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D CRT) that utilizes computers and advanced imaging to deliver external-beam radiation therapy that conforms to a tumor’s specific shape and size
- High Dose Rate (HDR) and Low Dose Rate (LDR) Brachytherapy, including prostate seed implants, that delivers direct doses of radiation to a tumor with minimal impact to surrounding tissue
We are proud to be one of the few radiation oncology providers in the Denver area equipped with the Varian TrueBeam image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery system. The TrueBeam is not only able to deliver all forms of advanced external-beam radiation therapy, but is also one of the fastest, most accurate and versatile treatment systems currently available.
In addition to TrueBeam, we have also enhanced our treatment capabilities by using the VisionRT®, GateCT® and GateRT® guidance systems that allow for real-time, non-invasive patient motion management. Not only do these systems enhance sophisticated treatments such as IGRT, but they also increase treatment safety and accuracy.
The radiation oncology department is located on the ground floor of the Porter Cancer Care Center at 2555 S. Downing St. in Denver. Dr. Seth Reiner and Dr. Darlene Bugoci, board certified radiation oncologists, work closely with Porter Adventist Hosptial and are able to provide our patients with versatile treatment options to make their treatment as convenient as possible while maintaining the therapeutic doses that are necessary to achieve the outcomes that both patients and staff desire. We also have the technology to perform both temporary and permanent implants through our brachytherapy program. The sites we most often treat with brachytherapy are the prostate, breast, melanoma of the eye, tracheal obstruction, esophagus, and tongue. Other available treatment options include permanent liver implants utilizing the Sirisphere and Theresphere microbead which are also performed by our staff of highly trained professionals.
Radiology plays a critical role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Currently, imaging with combined PET-CT machines, which show both function and anatomy simultaneously, is the best way to detect and evaluate cancer. Porter Adventist Hospital was the leader in introducing this technology into medical practice in Colorado and our medical cyclotron supplies radiopharmaceuticals for PET imaging around the state. Several innovative programs for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer are ongoing in the department of radiology including various techniques to deliver localized therapy to cancer in the liver without affecting the rest of the body.
Advances in diagnosis and therapy in the Department of Radiology continue at a rapid pace. Improvements in the imaging of anatomy with computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) and the imaging of function with positron emission tomography (PET) are driven by better machines and radiopharmaceuticals. Improvements in therapy using imaging guidance are driven by the introduction of new devices and by new application of old devices. The Department of Radiology at Porter Adventist Hospital prides itself in being on the leading edge of these advances and in participating in the research behind these advances.
The professional services in the department of radiology are provided by Radiology Imaging Associates (RIA). RIA is a group of approximately 70 physicians, all of who are board certified in radiology and have additional training and certification in one or more of the various subspecialty areas of radiology. RIA radiologists are active in conducting leading edge research and in providing educational courses to other radiologists both locally and nationally.
The pathology laboratory at Porter Adventist Hospital offers a wide range of specialized testing and is staffed with pathologists from Unipath, the largest provider of anatomic pathology services in the Rocky Mountain Region. Centura Laboratory Services provides testing in the areas of hematology, chemistry, coagulation, urinalysis and transfusion services.
Treating physicians consult pathologists regarding critical health information including diagnosis of disease, indications of disease prognosis, additional testing that may be conducted and potential therapeutic interventions. This information is vital to the care of the oncology patient.
A multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer patients is very important and input from the clinical pharmacist in the management of chemotherapy and its side effects are essential. Porter has a full-time pharmacist dedicated to oncology, with the support of the clinical pharmacy department, specializing in pain management. The pharmacist ensures the optimum effectiveness of drug therapy through proper dosing and administration as well as anticipating potential side effects and drug interactions.
The pharmacist serves as a resource for drug and supplement information as well as education for the patient, family, nurses and physicians. Information sheets and personal instruction are provided for each medication and staff is available to answer additional questions.
The palliative care of cancer patients is also an important issue. The Porter Cancer Care Center pharmacist customizes an individual plan for each patient according to the type of pain, where the pain in located, organ function and other symptoms. The goal is to improve and expedite pain control.
The Outpatient Infusion Center at Porter Adventist Hospital offers easy, affordable, year-round access to high-quality infusion and chemotherapy services. Staffed by registered nurses who specialize in intravenous and injectable therapies, our goal is to provide personalized, compassionate, and comfortable care to every patient we see.
The Outpatient Infusion Center offers a variety of intravenous, injectable and infusion health services, including:
- Antibiotic administration
- Blood product infusion
- IV medications, including Reclast (osteoporosis) and Tysabri (MS)
- IV hydration
- Injections, including Prolia (osteoporosis)
- Lab draws through central lines
- Insertion of PICCs and first dosing
- Central line care, including access, flushing and declotting
Team of experts
In addition to the expertise of our Porter-based physicians, the multidisciplinary team at the Porter Cancer Care Center is paramount to assuring the best possible cancer care for each and every patient. The following team of experts plays a primary role in the Porter Cancer Care Center standing out amongst other cancer care programs in the region:
The Porter Cancer Care Center has professionals working behind the scenes to assure a smooth, well-organized treatment process for every patient.
Nurse in charge of patient support services including individual and family counseling for patients with cancer of all kinds. The clinical nurse specialist leads several support groups including a children's support group and a head and neck cancer support group and personifies Porter Adventist Hospital's mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ.
This team works closely with doctors, other medical team members and patients to provide coordinated care to our breast cancer patients.
Along with other rehabilitation colleagues, the speech and swallowing therapist provides support to many of our patients with head and neck, as well as other upper aero-digestive tract cancers. They provide vital services to patients with communication and swallowing difficulties and are one of the top outpatient speech therapy services in the greater metropolitan area, going to great lengths to improve the quality of life for our patients.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist - board certified specialists in oncology nutrition (CSO) who work closely with patients and their medical team to provide individualized nutrition plans during any stage of cancer treatment. The dietitians assist patients by managing nutrition concerns related to their specific cancer, treatment, and potential side effects. Once treatment ends, the dietitians can provide further education on long-term diet and lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk of recurrence.
Certified in lymphedema therapy, the physical therapists provide lymphedema therapy to breast cancer patients with upper extremity edema after treatment head and neck cancer patients with swelling in the face and neck and to patients with upper and lower extremity mobility issues.
Responsible for calculating drug dosages based on treatment regimens directed by the physicians. The clinical oncology pharmacist also provides important pain management care for patients suffering with chronic pain.
A full time research nurse who provides physicians and patients access to the most innovative studies in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment regimens. Physicians, patients, families and staff can access the research nurse for information on current trials that may be available based on their individual case.
A trained genetic counselor who specializes in cancer and genetic risk assessment. The genetic counselor counsels patients at risk for hereditary forms of cancer in order to help them understand their cancer risk and to help them make informed medical decisions based on their own risk assessment. Based on the patients' family history and genetic test results (if applicable), patients and their physicians are provided with the most current cancer surveillance and medical management options available.
Cancer support services
A cancer diagnosis is a life changing event, both for the patient and the family. Research indicates people who get the support they need have more favorable outcomes. In response to this and the mission statement of Porter Adventist Hospital, oncology offers a wide range of support services to cope with the experience of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Following is a list of groups and services that can strengthen you on this journey.
Monthly Breast Cancer Support Group
This group is primarily for women diagnosed with breast cancer within the past year, although women at any stage of breast cancer journey are welcome. The focus is education, perspective and support. The format of the group is that there is a guest co-facilitator each month who has an area of expertise of interest to breast cancer survivors. Half of the group is spent with questions and discussion with regard to this area of expertise. The other half of the group is spent addressing survivor issues and concerns on that day.
This group meets in Eagle Conference Room (No fee or registration is required):
- First Tuesday of the month: 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Breast Nurse Navigation
See Patient Navigation below.
Annual Breast Cancer Survivors Dinner>
This is an event sponsored by Porter Adventist Hospital in the month of October to celebrate the survivorship of breast cancer patients. It combines opportunities to network with resource people, a dinner and a guest speaker. The event is USUALLY the second Tuesday of October. Registration is required with Ask-A-Nurse approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the event.
The healing process includes an approach that focuses on the “whole” person (physical, emotional and spiritual). We provide emotional support to strengthen the healing process as one goes through treatment. Support groups are held monthly so individuals and their caregivers can meet with others who are going through or have gone through the cancer journey. The groups (Breast Support Group, Head & Neck Cancer Support Group, General Survivorship Group, Young Survivors Support Group and Kid’s Alive) are designed to gain education regarding a person’s cancer type and gain understanding in the challenges that can be present. Our Nurse Counselor provides family, caregiver and individual sessions to help minimize the struggles that cancer creates. All services are free of charge.
For further information please call 303-778-2583.
Nutrition concerns are common among individuals with cancer. Additionally, cancer treatments may cause side effects that alter digestion, appetite, chewing, and swallowing. This can make it difficult to maintain the strength needed to complete treatment without interruptions or unintentional changes in therapy. For this reason, The Porter Cancer Care Center offers the services of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN), who are board certified in oncology nutrition (CSO). Our dietitians work closely with the medical team to provide customized nutrition plans during counseling sessions, which may include recommendations on how to:
- Maximize nutrition
- Safely incorporate dietary and herbal supplements into your treatment plan
- Manage weight concerns
- Use alternative nutrition (tube feeding or IV nutrition) at home
Nutrition counseling is a free service offered to all cancer patients and their families within Porter Cancer Care Center.
To schedule an appointment, please contact the dietitians directly at 303-765-6530.
At Porter Adventist Hospital, we recognize the importance of using genetic counseling services to promote informed decisions about health, cancer screening, and genetic conditions.
Centura Health certified genetic counselor provides genetic counseling services for cancer risk assessment & other hereditary cancer conditions.
Kids Alive: Support for Children of Parents with Cancer
This group is open to children ages 6-16 who have a parent diagnosed with cancer. It meets monthly October through June, usually on the second Saturday of the month, in Twin Peaks Conference Room. Visit the website at www.kidsalivecolorado.org. There is no fee, but registration is required. Call 303-778-5832 to request an application.
Young Survivors Group
Being diagnosed with cancer in your 20s and 30s is very different than being diagnosed in middle or older age. It is open to anyone in this age range with any type of cancer. It is also open to the support people in their lives. This group is a combination of support, discussion, guest speakers and social gatherings. No fee or registration is required. This is a monthly group, meeting the first Thursday of each month from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., locations vary. To learn more about this group or be added to the distribution list for meetings, please contact Melissa Gilstrap at 303-269-4348 or [email protected]
Look Good...Feel Better
This is a free two-hour program co-sponsored with the American Cancer Society that will help women undergoing cancer treatment to cope with changes in their appearance, including hair loss. It is offered twice a year at Porter Hospital. There is no fee, but registration is required by calling 303-777-6877, approximately 3 weeks before the scheduled group. For further information regarding the exact dates at Porter Hospital, please call 303-778-5832.
This is a service provided to any oncology patient or family at no charge. Services are provided by the clinical nurse specialist for oncology support services. To make an appointment, call 303-765-3888.
For further information about any of the support groups or counseling services please call 303-778-5832.
Our team has a Nurse Navigator whose role is to guide patients diagnosed with head and neck cancers throughout their cancer treatment by helping them steer through the healthcare system. She also serves as a resource for head and neck cancer patients by helping them work through and remove barriers to their care and cancer treatment, such as insurance or transportation issues. Our Nurse Navigator can be reached at 303-765-6184.
Centura Health's palliative care program specializes in the relief of pain, symptoms and stress of serious illness, whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and provide the best quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care is provided by a team of professionals that offer coordinated care to address a patient's physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs, and can help them cope with the pain and anxiety that come with major health changes. This care may be provided along with other medical treatment.
The palliative care team is available:
- Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
To request a palliative care consultation, discuss your wishes with your physician to obtain a referral.
To speak with a palliative care team member call 303-778-5699.
For more information about palliative care go to Get Palliative Care website.
Conditions We Treat
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Testicular cancer