Clinical trial nurse joins Heartland Cancer Center team
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Friday, 26 October 2012
The final link between Heartland Cancer Center (HCC) and the University of Kansas Cancer Center has been connected.
Cathy Huber is now the clinical trial research nurse at HCC, which is a new position. She is working with Dr. Mark Fesen, local oncologist, to help manage day-to-day responsibilities such as recruiting and screening patients who may be eligible for a KU clinical trial.
“There are many, many criteria involved in eligibility,” Huber said. “But we do the research for chemotherapy patients and families, seek answers to their questions, and monitor drugs and their toxicity.”
Informed consent is a main requirement and is monitored throughout the process. Huber will be reviewing histories and charts to see which patients may be appropriate for a clinical trial.
“When all requirements are met,” Huber noted, “local patients can participate in research right here at Heartland Cancer Center. They don’t have to travel anywhere.
“They may have access to treatment before anyone else,” she continued. “Unfortunately, other treatments may have been exhausted. Patients are informed that the trial might not be the magic bullet but it does offer hope. And many also realize their participation may help someone else in the future.”
The perfect example of what clinical trials can do is the progress made in treating childhood leukemia, Huber commented. “They have made so many strides over the years because of research and trials,” she explained.
Huber has decades of experience as a registered nurse and was in the medical-surgery department at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City for 30 years. She still shares her time with St. Catherine, which is a St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center sister facility.
However, Huber and her husband, Myron, will be moving to Great Bend soon. Their daughter and son-in-law, Carrie and David Feist, live here, and Huber is eager to be closer to her grandchildren.
“I just love it here at Heartland Cancer Center and Great Bend,” Huber said. “The staff at the cancer center is professional, compassionate and just a friendly group of people.”
Huber attended the St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Wichita but earned her bachelor’s degree at Fort Hays State University.
Jamie Hutchinson, R.N. and HCC director, said Huber’s background is the perfect fit for local cancer patients.
“Cathy has so much experience as a nurse, and radiates a kind and gentle nature,” Hutchinson said. “And she has been willing to go the extra mile in pursuing advanced education both online and at KU. I know our patients will build a rapport with her.”Huber’s position was made possible because St. Rose, which owns HCC, joined the Midwest Cancer Alliance (MCA) earlier this year. In addition to Huber’s expertise, the MCA membership also provides local Interactive Television consultations with KU doctors and free monthly ITV cancer-related presentations at St. Rose.
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