Anyone gone or going to the CTCA in Zion, Il?

Afternoon fellow fighters -

I've been thinking a lot about seeking further help than my Oncologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Il. AGSH is a Center for Cancer Care and has served me well thus far as far as doctors and overall care go. I also have Oncologists at the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center that are secondary to my local Onc's. I have stage IV NSCLC and am struggling to find the best option and hopes at this point. I've seen a lot of ads and info lately about the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and wonder if anyone has experience with them or advice. Location is kind of key as I have a wife and two young girls here in Illinois so traveling to another state is not really an option for me. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.


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Check if your health insurance includes Cancer Resources Network. If it does, travel for two, hotel, etc. are covered for any Cancer Center of Excellence in the country. With this program, your health care is not limited to your own backyard.

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My wife was never healthy enough to travel the 6 hours to the closest Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I would have tried to go there but there were just too many questions not answered. Like they are usually Out Of Network for your insurance company and I couldn't pinned them down on costs out of pocket.
I like the intergrated system of doctors but what happens when you have to return home.
What if you had to go to a local hospita. Who would be your oncologist? etc. etc.

Take Care

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I have spoken to an oncology counsellor at Cancer Treatment Centers of America a couple weeks ago regarding my mom. A friend of mine had taken her mom there when she had late stage breast cancer. She really thought they were great. However, the majority of the information I have read on them (some comments even posted on this website) made me focus on finding a comprehensive cancer center or a teaching hospital because of their advanced technology and their aggressive approach. I think what people like about CTCA is not necessarily the "medical" aspect but perhaps the "humanity" aspect of dealing with cancer. That was my take on it. When no thoracic surgeon would operate on my mom , we took her to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, VA. It's a teaching hospital and we have been extremely happy with their treatment. Hope that helps.
All my best,

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Hi Tim -

Are you In Barrington? My mom lives there, and she has stage IV NSCLC also. I am suprised to hear that your main docs are the ones at GHS. I would think they would be supporting the decisions made at U of C. I see ads for CTCA on the Ovation network constantly. I've heard from others that they are legit, but I haven't really persued them. My mom is currently being treated by Dr. Philip Bonomi at Rush Medical Center downtown. He seems progressive, admits when he doesn't know something, and while giving it to you straight, is by no means all gloom and doom. I'd consider giving him a call if I were you.

Katie Keating

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Do a search on this board for Cancer Treatment Centers of America and read the posts. There is a lot of controversy about CTCA. They have been on "quackwatch". I would be wary of any promises they make. You are close to 2 Comprehensive Cancer Centers: University of Chicago Cancer Research Center and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer of Northwestern University.

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I have read numerous negative comments regarding CTCA on this and other boards that do not conform to my experience. Many of the comments refer to the "for profit" status of CTCA. Since when is profit a dirty word in this country. Think of all the services and products that you consume....are the products or services more valuable because they were delivered by a non-profit entity?...I don't think so.

My wife 52 was diagnosed with NSCLC IV pancoast in 3/07in Dallas after being misdiagnosed by her g.p for two years. We decided to go to CTCA-Tulsa immediately because we were distressed about the attitudes and comments from Drs in Dallas. I detected a "political correctness" in their attitudes....kind of like since my wife was a smoker she had this coming. CTCA accepted the out of network coverage our insurance provided and our out of pocket expenses have been reasonable.
What impressed me most about CTCA is the quality of the people there...both the employees and the patients. Most of the patients there have been "kicked" out of other centers including MD Anderson.
Within 10 days of my call to CTCA she was accepted, completely diagnosed, and was being treated with tomotherapy, and chemo..carbo/taxol. Aftrer six weeks of radiation they continued the chemo plus avistin for three cycles. Pet and Ct scans in Oct/07 and 1/08 were clear (pancoast lung tumor gone). In May of 08 they detected one enlarged adrenal gland and spots on two vertrbrae. Both oncologists believe that these mets were there initially but could not be seen or were missed. She has just started a six week tomotherapy & chemo (carbo.taxotere) regimen to attack these mets. I don't know how this will all turn out...noone does...but I feel that CTCA has gone for a cure right off the bat. Probably most important they have given us hope. I don't know the stats on how successful they are...but last week they had a luncheon for the five year survivors at Tulsa...the place was packed. Considering that CTCA was the last resort for most of these patients I was impressed.

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Please get to CTCA in Zion, IL ASAP!

This will be the BEST Decision you can make!

Wish you and your family well.

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It is a person's option as to where to go to get treatment. My experience with CTCA was not good. They diagnosed me with HCC and put me on a horrible, debilitating chemo therapy. I was misdiagnosed by CTCA. A simple biopsy performed 5 months later showed no signs of HCC and the drugs given me did harm to my system. No appology, no adjustment in billing......nothing.....all they are interested in is receiving their terribly inflated prices for anything and everything you do while at CTCA. I can offer no positive comments about them.

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