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Changing Lives: Celebrating 30 Years of Cancer Care in Brownsville

Publication: Healthy Magazine

Over the past 30 years, several staff members of Texas Oncology–Brownsville Cancer Center have seen the growth of cancer care in Brownsville firsthand, serving patients within Cameron County, surrounding cities, and even internationally.

Since it opened its doors, the only cancer center within the city limits has impacted the lives of thousands of patients who, because of the physicians and technology available, are now able to say they survived a cancer diagnosis.

Texas Oncology–Brownsville is the southernmost clinic of the Texas Oncology network of more than 420 physicians and 175 locations across Texas and southeastern Oklahoma, including 48 comprehensive cancer centers. Texas Oncology’s community-based approach of integrated subspecialty oncology care enables patients to receive leading-edge treatment while living at home, near the critical support of family and friends.

The practice’s physicians have 60 years of combined experience in treating cancer and blood disorders. They treat the whole person, not just the disease, and work as a team to customize treatments for each patient’s specific condition, including support services to help meet the personal challenges patients may face as a result of their illness. The practice has a wide range of support services for patients and their caregivers, such as:

  • Educational Services
  • Financial Counseling
  • Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing
  • Social Services

Leading-Edge Technology Available Close to Home 

The practice has seen significant advances in treatment over the past several decades and credits a large portion of its success to the improvement of technologies and treatments that have revolutionized cancer care.

More than 1,500 people in Cameron County will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Texas Oncology–Brownsville helps patients fight cancer in an advanced, supportive environment and each physician has special expertise in designated areas.

The majority of the practice’s care is provided in an outpatient setting using customized therapies ranging from chemotherapy and radiation therapy to advanced technologies like immunotherapy, proton therapy, genetic testing, and genomic sequencing. Advanced treatments and best practices that come from leading-edge research create the high caliber of care found at Texas Oncology.

Texas Oncology–Brownsville provides leading-edge cancer treatment technologies and services to patients, including:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Linear Accelerator with Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) technology
  • Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) Capabilities
  • 3D Conformal Radiotherapy
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
  • Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT)
  • Diagnostic CT
  • Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment
  • Social Services
  • Values Assessment
  • Advance Care Planning
  • Benefit Counseling
  • Full Service Retail Pharmacy
  • Laboratory Services

For some, proton therapy may be the best treatment option for their cancer. This advanced form of radiation therapy is only offered at two locations in the state. Texas Center for Proton Therapy is a part of Texas Oncology and has the latest proton technology available in Texas. Rio Grande Valley patients can have virtual proton therapy consultation at Texas Oncology–Brownsville with physicians from Texas Center for Proton Therapy. Patients benefit from the expertise of Texas Center for Proton Therapy physicians while minimizing the amount of travel needed.

This year, Texas Oncology–Brownsville was the first cancer center in the Rio Grande Valley able to offer the FDA-approved, anti-mitotic electric field device, Optune, as part of the treatment of glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. It is a wearable, portable device that is worn to slow or stop cancer cells from multiplying and may cause cancer cells to die.

Community-Based Care 

Texas Oncology–Brownsville plays a crucial role in the community, providing local residents with access to advanced cancer treatment right in their backyard. Without it, patients would have to travel outside of their community, sometimes multiple times per week, to receive their treatment.

Dr. Carlos Gonzalez specializes in radiation oncology and has seen the practice grow and thrive since arriving in 1999. Over the past 18 years, Dr. Gonzalez and his colleagues have developed strong relationships with the patients and families of Brownsville.

“My colleagues and I have the honor of serving the noble people of Brownsville,” said Dr. Gonzalez. “I enjoy the challenge of the ever-evolving landscape of cancer care, but the patient relationships are by far the most rewarding aspect of this profession.”

Dr. Gonzalez works alongside medical oncologists Drs. Marcelo Boek and Balesh Sharma. All three physicians are active in the community and frequently speak to groups throughout Cameron County.

The practice also offers volunteer programs for those who are interested in participating more in the cancer community.

To learn more about Texas Oncology–Brownsville located at 2150 N. Expressway 83, Brownsville, TX 78521, visit TexasOncology.com or call 956-548-0810.

Read the full story from Healthy Magazine.

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