MONTROSE—(October 15, 2013) It’s a diagnosis nobody wants to hear. And yet when locals learn that they have cancer, they know where to turn. The San Juan Cancer Center was founded in 2006 to serve a seven-county (Montrose, Delta, Ouray, San Miguel, Gunnison, Hinsdale and Mesa) territory in Western Colorado. By bringing together the resources of Montrose Memorial Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital of Grand Junction and San Juan Radiation Oncology, the San Juan Cancer Center, located at South Fifth Street and Park Avenue, provides area patients with state-of-the-art weapons to fight this heartbreaking illness.
According to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, death rates from the disease in its myriad forms are on the decline. However, the battle is far from won. Colorado statistics show that the cancer rates in Montrose and Mesa counties are reflective of the nation as a whole, though Mesa County’s rate is on the decline. Ouray, Gunnison and Delta counties reveal cancer rates that are lower than the U.S., while statistics for Hinsdale County have been suppressed for purposes of confidentiality and rates for San Miguel County are deemed unreliable due to the low annual mortality rate.
The San Juan Cancer Center works to combine world-class medical expertise with small town friendliness. Patients have access to a full range of treatments, beginning with personal consultation and examination and including options such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The Center also offers cancer counseling and coordination of care to ensure that patients receive the best care possible for their individual needs.
Though they work with a disease that strikes fear into many, the professionals who staff the San Juan Cancer Center believe in maintaining a positive attitude.
“This is the best job in the world,” said Marva Victor, director of oncology services. “I work with a phenomenal staff; we all get along and we love what we do. Our patients know what is important—all pretense and fakeness is peeled away; when you have cancer the little stuff doesn’t matter.
“My nurses are the best,” she added. “They connect with patients in all kinds of cases, and make them want to live and to smile.”
Montrose is fortunate to have such a strong resource, she noted.
“We draw from a very wide region,” Victor said. “I truly believe the San Juan Cancer Center is the crown jewel of Montrose; it is very unusual for a small town to have a full-service cancer center, and it saves our patients a great deal of annoyance and travel.”
Heading the medical team at SJCC are Medical Oncologists Dr. Robert Kilbourn and Dr. Choon-Kee Lee. Dr. Kyle Oldroyd serves as Medical Director of Radiation Oncology, while University of Colorado Cancer oncologists Dr. Madeleine A. Kane and Dr. Michael Glode round out the team. All of the physicians are board certified and each has a special area of focus, notes the SJCC web site, and are well supported by an outstanding staff of nurses and other professionals.
Patients who survive the battle of their lives often believe that Cancer changed them for the better, Victor said. And those who help them along the way find the journey has its own rewards.
“This is a very, very special place to work,” Victor said. “I consider it a privilege.”
The San Juan Cancer Center is located at 600 South Fifth Street in Montrose, and can be reached by calling 970-497-8001.