St. Dominic's Cancer Center Celebrates 10 Years of Compassion

Cancer patient Edwin Earl Ervin was feeling as disheartened as a person could feel by the time he entered St. Dominic’s Cancer Center nine years ago. He’d just been diagnosed with rectal cancer and, when it came to medical tests and other procedures, he said he’d had just about all he could take. The thought of undergoing even more invasive treatments, Ervin said, was “depressing, to say the least.”

Ervin’s outlook changed drastically when he arrived at St. Dominic’s and met the oncologists and nurses responsible for treating his cancer.

“The nurses gave me the hope that I needed to go on,” said Ervin, who lives near Monticello in Lawrence County. “Then I met Dr. Al Johnson. He was great. He did and said everything I needed at that time to make me feel that I could get through this.”

Ervin’s treatment plan included not only surgery to remove the cancer, but also a combination of chemo- and radiation therapy. While this proved to be a lengthy process to endure, Ervin said the staff let him know they would do everything possible to support him and his wife through the long months of treatment.

“It was just unbelievable, the difference it made coming to St. Dominic’s,” Ervin said. “Looking back, I realize it was really not the most unpleasant experience, under the circumstances. So far, the treatment I received has worked and I am cancer-free. I am one of the lucky ones and I attribute a lot of that to the care I received at St. Dominic’s.”
 
After hearing so many “bad stories” from other cancer patients, Celia Lampkin of Flora said she feels “blessed” by her experience at the Cancer Center several years ago.

“St. Dominic’s is a place of hope, that’s the best way to describe it,” said Lampkin, who was also treated by Johnson. “They give you hope at a time when you really don’t have much. I was scared the first day.  Then I met Dr. Johnson and the nurses. Some doctors don’t want you to get your hopes up.  At St. Dominic’s, they’re not that way. They have a reputation for caring about you.  I found out it was true.”
 
As for her prognosis, Lampkin will only say, “I’m fine now, although I have some ups and downs. You never know what will happen in life, but I do know that if I ever get cancer again, I will go right back to St. Dominic’s.”
 
Since opening the only free-standing cancer center in the Jackson area 10 years ago, the center has treated thousands of patients suffering from a variety of cancers. The field of oncology has seen tremendous changes in how cancer is diagnosed and treated, with advances in diagnostic imaging, radiation technology and chemotherapeutic drugs, early diagnosis, more precise treatment and improved life expectancy of patients, said Dr. Robert “Buster” Mobley, Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs and Quality.

“The goal of hospital officials in 1998 was simply to offer the best cancer treatment available at that time,” said Mobley. “St. Dominic’s Cancer Center has proven to be highly successful, both in the number of patients treated and their outcomes, but I firmly believe that it is still in its infancy in terms of ultimate potential related to exemplary cancer treatment.  We’re on the cutting edge in introducing new technologies and treatment options to the community.”