With new hires, Sanford expands cancer services
WORTHINGTON --Sanford Worthington Cancer Center has expanded its services and is now offering complete cancer care.
Two new providers have been hired -- hematologist and oncologist Liangping Weng, M.D. and certified nurse practitioner Robin Uithoven -- and together with the team already in place, the Sanford Worthington Cancer Center will now provide comprehensive oncology care.
"This is a new oncology service for this area, but it is an extended service of the Sanford Cancer Care. Sanford Cancer Care is a well-established service," Weng said.
He explained that Sanford Worthington will add on to its existing services as a multi-disciplinary team.
"Now the Cancer Care of Worthington provides all kinds of service for cancer and blood disorders, including cancer screening, diagnostic tests, genetic counseling and radiation treatment surgery, chemotherapy and all of supportive care," Weng said.
The Cancer Center's goal is to improve the quality of life of its patients while treating them close to home.
"We're taking care of cancer patients until almost the end of life if the cancer is not treatable. We provide services to improve the quality of life," Weng said.
While patients who have more advanced types of cancer may still need to seek treatment in Sioux Falls, S.D., many can complete their treatment locally.
"We're able to do first-time infusion here and also have the mobile PET scan," Uithoven added.
Prior to Weng and Uithoven's arrival, many cancer patients regularly had to travel to Sioux Falls for treatment.
"When it is difficult to access the treatment, a lot of cancer patients might disrupted or truncate or they might withdraw from the treatment even if they know the treatment is beneficial," Weng said.
Currently working out of the Sanford Clinic on Diagonal Road, Weng said he and Uithoven will move to the Sanford Worthington Cancer Care building, attached to the Worthington Sanford Medical Center, by mid-summer.
"Robin and I, we are medical oncology. Moving to the hospital will put us closer to the radiation oncologist -- the surgeon. When we move there, it will be more convenient for the patient," he said.
Weng will also provide outreach clinics to Jackson, Slayton, Tracy, Windom and Sheldon, Iowa, while Uithoven will be primarily based in Worthington.
"We're hoping to reach out to the rural community, so that they can see us locally, rather than drive to Sioux Falls for all of their treatment," Uithoven said.
Weng received his medical degree in 1984 from Wannan Medical College, China. He completed his internal medical residency at Mount Vernon Hospital, New York, and his hematology/oncology fellowship at Boston University Medical Center, Mass.
While in Boston, Weng also conducted extensive research on the molecular and genetic base of the malignancy behavior of cancer cells.
Weng will be the first local hematologist/oncologist in Worthington and will help connect patients from Worthington and the surrounding communities with the latest in treatments and research.
Weng will join Dr. H. Jae Yoon, a radiation oncologist with the Worthington cancer program since 2010.
Weng has already relocated to Worthington, and his wife and two children will join him this summer.
Uithoven began seeing patients in Worthington on March 25 and has specialized in internal medicine and infectious disease.
She received her undergraduate training from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, S.D. and Bethel University, St. Paul, and completed her graduate studies at St. Catherine University, St. Paul.
As a CPN, Uithoven will perform exams, order and interpret tests and prescribe medication and therapies to patients 17 and older.
Uithoven and her husband have two adult children and live in Okoboji, Iowa.
"We are striving to provide state-of-the-art, patient-centered care to everyone who needs it that is close to home. We wish no one would need to come to us, but unfortunately, sometime these things happen," Weng said.
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.