Excerpts From A Radio Interview With Dr. Betsy Levick
OHC Chief of Radiation Oncology Dr. Elizabeth Levick was recently interviewed on-air by Rodney Lear, host of local radio show Sunday Morning Magazine. Lear and Dr. Levick discussed her particular areas of expertise, cancer research, and what makes OHC such a unique cancer treatment organization. In this post, we’d like to share with you some excerpts from her interview.
Dr. Levick began by noting that OHC is one of the largest independent oncology groups in the United States and provides services such as radiation oncology care and medical oncology care.
There is a difference between medical oncology and radiation oncology, she added. Radiation therapy treats cancers and some benign conditions with radiation to control or cure cancer, while medical oncology treats cancer using drugs intravenously via chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.
For newly diagnosed patients, Dr. Levick recommends that they be prepared before going in for radiation therapy. “I always believe that patients should be informed,” she explained. “Do a little research, do a little homework, get a list of questions.” Dr. Levick also suggested that patients either bring a friend or a tape recorder on the initial visit to help them remember the information discussed.
Dr. Levick specializes in breast and prostate cancers, both of which are hormonally driven, by estrogen and testosterone respectively. For patients diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer, Dr. Levick recommended that they “Take your time, collect your information, and develop your team to help you through this journey.”
When asked about OHC’s style of care, Dr. Levick described it as ‘patient-centered.’
“Because we have so many different physicians in our group,” she explained, “with different areas of specialty, we coordinate care. A patient with breast cancer may have a multi-disciplinary ‘tumor board’ in charge of their care. We are all there to look at the entire picture,” she added, “to really discuss the patient as a whole and decide on the best treatment approach for that particular woman.”
When asked about new developments in cancer research, Dr. Levick said, “In the radiation world, we’re finding that sometimes less is more.” She noted two examples of treatments that illustrate the ‘less is more’ approach; Gamma Knife® radiosurgery and the CyberKnife® system.
Dr. Levick and other physicians at OHC use the Gamma Knife to treat cancerous tumors in the brain with highly focused doses of radiation. The technique spares surrounding brain tissue and produces success rates equivalent to those from surgery, but without any actual surgery.
The CyberKnife is used at OHC to treat prostate cancer, which typically calls for nine weeks of daily radiation. With the CyberKnife, Dr. Levick’s patients have about five treatments of very focused radiation, which is typically well tolerated, has fewer side effects, and can be done in far less time.
In conclusion, Dr. Levick stated that she believes OHC is unique for many reasons, but namely for the patient-centered experience offered and their collaborative approach to care.