Hospital readies for 5th Annual Ride to Survive

6/4/2015

Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital (SGCMH) will be staging its 5th annual Ride to Survive on June 20, 2015. Riders (and even walkers) who have participated in past events, all agree that the event is not about riding 8, 15 or even 30 miles. It’s about raising money for cancer care and research in Ste. Genevieve.
Dr. Alan Lyss, medical director of the Alan P. Lyss Center for Cancer Care and Clinical Research at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital, says the news lately about cancer cures and treatments is most promising.
“There’s been a lot happening in the clinical research arena recently and it’s happening with regard to a lot of different cancers,” said Dr. Lyss. “We see really prominent information about malignant melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer; kidney cancer, colorectal cancer; Hodgkin's lymphoma disease; some brain cancers, breast cancer and lung cancer. All of them have been in the news lately with promising new treatments.”
Dr. Lyss explained that clinical trials are the common thread among all these potential breakthroughs.
“There are a lot of new treatments, a lot of new drugs, and they are all being discovered through clinical research,” Dr. Lyss said. “I would say the new buzz word is precision medicine, meaning we’re trying to find the right treatment, for the right cancer, for the right patient, in the right stage. In so far as we can personalize treatment for our patients we like to do so. A lot of these new drugs are targeted for particular proteins and particular mutations that a person can have on their individual cancer.”
Drugs are a major input to the puzzle, but now therapies are using one’s own immune system to fight off the cancer.
“Without question, that is the most impressive development over the past year,” Dr. Lyss explained. “I would say that a number of cancers that we didn’t think would be modulated by the immune system appear to be. We’re seeing some very dramatic results in a number of cancers.”
Dr. Lyss said clinical trials can have their frustrations, but sometimes one minute change in dosage or protocol can make a huge difference in the outcome.
“I’ve seen this many times in my career,” he said. “All of a sudden a critical discovery changes a disease that used to be a horrible disease into a disease that’s not so horrible. It also is really an endorsement of the fact that here in Ste. Genevieve we’ve been doing clinical trials for the past 25 years. We always tell patients that it’s important to participate in clinical research because it may help them, their relative or neighbor. More and more we’re seeing that clinical trials are really helping our patients in a major way.”
Sandy Schilli, BSN, RN, OCN and Director of Oncology at SGCMH, says for the patients that come to SGCMH for treatment, many of whom drive from as far away as St. Louis and Cape Girardeau, comfort is as important as the life-saving treatment.
“Patient experience is number one for us,” she said. “Our staff is dedicated in making sure our patients are comfortable and have the best experience that could possibly have. We make sure that they have all of the supplies that they need, for care here as well as at home. Many of those items are funded through the Friends foundation here at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial.”
The proceeds from this year’s Ride to Survive will help purchase state-of-the-art 3-D mammography equipment. The upgraded equipment will provide a more sensitive and advanced screening which lowers recall rates and spares the experience of a false positive. The technology upgrade will be the first of its kind in our community, and the surrounding area, and will enable earlier detection of tumors and more invasive cancers. The funds will also support the Cancer Education initiative that focuses on Lung Cancer this year. Community education and screenings on lung cancer will be provided throughout the year.

The Ride to Survive bike ride event is on Saturday June 20. Registration starts at 7:00 a.m., in the back hospital parking lot. Riders will be able to choose 8-, 15- and 30-mile routes that meander throughout Ste. Genevieve or a 5K run/walk route. Registration fee is $25 and includes a Sport Tek shirt.

“It’s a wonderful ride and a terrific opportunity for individuals in the community to connect with one another,” said Dr. Lyss. “We’re all focused on a single cause and that is trying to make the life of cancer patients better.”
Registration for the event can be made online  or call Shawn Long, Friends Foundation Director at 573-883-7725.

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