What a Difference a Few Hours Makes
A new affiliation between Roswell Park and Oneida Healthcare in Oneida, NY, has made receiving cancer care for patients in central New York easier and closer to home, and for Mark Steigerwald of Whitney Point, NY, that made all the difference.
In 2017, Steigerwald, was diagnosed with synchronous colon cancer (more than one primary cancer) with liver metastases. His treatment plan was rigorous, including colon surgery, chemotherapy, then liver surgery, followed by more chemotherapy.
Going through all of that was made a little more bearable because Steigerwald didn’t have to travel to Buffalo, a nearly 4-hour drive each way for all of his care — just the liver surgery. Instead, Roswell Park surgeon Srinevas Reddy, MD, came to him.
Dr. Reddy, a liver and pancreas surgeon who specializes in these rare and complex cancer surgeries, sees patients at Oneida Healthcare a few times a month for pre-surgical consultations and post-surgery follow-up care, while the actual surgeries are performed at Roswell Park in Buffalo.
This arrangement offered Steigerwald a welcome respite from traveling to see his Roswell Park doctor, an especially onerous trip when coping with the effects of chemotherapy. “I’d spend three and a half hours driving (to Buffalo), then a few hours there, then drive home, and it makes it a long day,” he says. “Only having to go to Oneida was like a godsend.”
Dr. Reddy on the other hand doesn’t mind the drive. “For me, the travel is well worth it,” he says. “Part of my passion is providing care to patients that ordinarily would not receive it. I jumped on the chance to see patients at Oneida because it helps us provide quality cancer care to patients who may not be in our own backyard. This partnership allows me to provide more accessible care for patients with GI surgical problems in central New York.”
Dr. Reddy began seeing patients in the surgical oncology clinic at Oneida Healthcare in June 2017 and there are plans to add additional cancer services as part of a larger collaboration between the two facilities. “We’re really committed to keeping care local when possible and I have done a lot of work building and maintaining relationships with local providers,” he says. “It’s about what allows for the best patient quality of life.”
“It’s been kind of a trying time,” says Steigerwald, “but everybody I dealt with there made it so much more tolerable. I was extremely happy with everything at Oneida and Roswell. Dr. Reddy was fantastic and all the people were unbelievable.”