Selma oncology service ending

Published 8:04 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SELMA — The Cancer Center here is reducing services.

Barry Keel, chief executive officer of Vaughan Regional Medical Center, said the explanation he received from The Cancer Center leadership is the medical oncology division of The Montgomery Cancer Center is being eliminated in Selma because of the limited number of medical oncology physicians available to provide the service.

“The current medical oncologist serving the Selma center is Dr. Stephen White,” Keel said. “It is my understanding that Dr. Stephen White, who is a Montgomery resident, will be providing service only in Montgomery going forward due to an unexpected departure of another medical oncologist in the Montgomery Cancer Center group.”

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The Cancer Center, 1023 Medical Center Parkway, Selma, leases space in the Vaughan Regional Medical Tower. The Cancer Center is owned and operated by The Montgomery Cancer Center, 4145 Carmichael Road, Montgomery. White could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Cancer Center in Selma has two divisions. The medical oncology division performs chemotherapy treatments. The radiation oncology division performs radiation treatments with the linear accelerator machine.

Debra Reeves-Howard, a job developer at the Selma Career Center, said she had received telephone calls Wednesday from several of The Cancer Center’s employees, who were notified of the cutbacks on Tuesday.

Reeves-Howard said she is helping workers who were given letters of layoff to seek employment elsewhere.

Reeves-Howard also is a cancer survivor, who has used The Cancer Center.

“I am a patient of the Montgomery Cancer Center and know personally that this closure will be devastating to the citizens of Selma and others who receive treatment there,” she said. “The trip to Montgomery will be a hardship on many patients and especially to those of us who have weekly [or] biweekly appointments.”

Keel said the news is disappointing to those at Vaughan and the local medical community.

“We are very concerned about the oncology patients in our community having to travel 60 miles or more to get daily chemo treatments and services,” he said. “We will open all doors to evaluate every alternative to determine how we best can assist in the reestablishment of a medical oncology service in Selma to meet the long-term needs of our community residents.”