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New Ulm Medical Center

Recently opened Virginia Piper Cancer Institute – New Ulm getting good reviews

Patients of the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute -New Ulm Medical Center (VPCI-NUMC) that opened in November couldn’t be more pleased, said Lorna Holmberg, RN, manager of the new center. “We’ve been hearing lots of good things from our patients,” she said. “They’ve been extremely happy with what we have here for them now.”

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Dr. Ettore Piroso takes care of a patient in one of the clinic exam rooms that are part of the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute – New Ulm. Having the exam rooms co-located with the rest of the department is just one of the many perks of the new department.

The new cancer center was designed to make cancer treatment more convenient and the environment more welcoming, and patients have taken notice.

“They love the new heated chairs and heated blankets we use while they’re receiving infusions and other treatments in this area,” Holmberg said.

Infusing cancer patients with cold liquids can make them feel cold. Now, not only is the chair they sit in heated but also they “can get all snuggled in there under the heated blankets,” Holmberg said.

Each infusion chair has its own television so patients can watch whatever they like while receiving treatments, Holmberg said. The center has 10 infusion chairs and two beds in private rooms, which also have been upgraded to make them roomier and more comfortable.

Center Organized More Efficiently

The new Cancer Center has its own lab, and patients who need lab work find it more convenient. “Before they had to go upstairs for their lab work,” Holmberg said. “They like that everything’s in one area now.”

The center is staffed by a full-time oncologist, Ettore Piroso, MD, as well as nurses and other specialists who are certified in oncology care.

Patients appreciate that Dr. Piroso’s office is here, too. “He sees his patients here and he’s very accessible. They like that, if they have questions when they come for treatment, they can ask him,” Holmberg said.

Affiliation Brings Big-City Care Closer

The new Cancer Center is affiliated with the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute in Minneapolis, which provides access to many resources and opportunities found only at larger cancer centers. Among them: genetic counseling and clinical trials.

The new Cancer Center will be participating in the Metro Minnesota Community Clinical Oncology Program (MMCCOP), which is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). “This means that people in New Ulm will have access to the newest therapy available for cancer treatment, symptom management and cancer prevention,” Holmberg said.

Also, a nurse has been trained in integrative specialties for cancer. Integrative specialties include such things as massage, aromatherapy, music therapy and other alternative therapies that studies have shown are a benefit to cancer patients.

Cancer Rehab Program Planned

“In the first half of the year, we’re going to be adding a Cancer Rehab program,” Holmberg said. “People have heard of cardiac rehab or rehab from knee or hip replacement surgery, but it’s not something a lot of people know about for cancer.”

Cancer Rehab can help patients to regain their strength and muscle movement after treatment. “It allows them to drive again, to get their speech back, and get back their life that has been taken from them through cancer or cancer treatment,” Holmberg said. “It’s a better quality of life.” Five therapists have been specially trained to provide these services.

Holmberg is also looking forward to the opening of the outdoor garden in the spring. When it’s complete, patients will be able to walk outside and reflect. They may even be able to receive their treatments in the garden – weather permitting.

Genetic Counseling for Cancer Patients

When family members are diagnosed with cancer, they often worry about whether they might pass it on. Other family members also worry whether they’re likely to inherit the same propensity for that cancer. That’s where genetic counseling can help.

Genetic counselors can help you answer questions about your cancer and provide information that assists you when weighing your treatment options and preventative steps.

Genetic counseling is now available at the new Cancer Center at New Ulm as genetic counselors have been coming to the center twice a month. Coming soon, patients will be able to receive genetic counseling via teleconferencing, which means it can be more easily scheduled at everyone’s convenience, said Holmberg.

Genetic counseling can help you answer questions such as:

  • When should I start having mammograms?
  • Does everyone in our family need to be diligent about scheduling colonoscopies so we can catch colon cancer early and prevent it from becoming life threatening?

“Breast cancer and colon cancer are the two most common types of cancer referred to genetic counseling,” Holmberg said.

Learn More

For more information about the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute – New Ulm Medical Center, select this link.