Blog post

Partnering for the Future of Cancer Care

The cancer program at Henry Ford Allegiance Health—which includes our Gayle M. Jacob Center for Medical Oncology, Paul Tejada Center for Radiation Oncology, Surgical Oncology services and Oncology Support services—is now part of the internationally renowned Henry Ford Cancer Institute (HFCI).

Advantages to our patients include access to Henry Ford Health System’s leading-edge cancer research, cancer-related clinical trials, and such technologies as Precision Medicine, which uses an individual’s unique DNA to determine the treatment that will be most effective for his or her particular cancer. Benefits to our patients will expand further with the opening of HFCI’s Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, which is being built as a destination site in Detroit for global advances in cancer care and pioneering treatment

Our patients will continue to receive the majority of their care from our compassionate and experienced team of oncologists here at Henry Ford Allegiance Health. In addition, they will have access to the expertise of Henry Ford physicians in subspecialties, such as gynecologic oncology and surgical oncology, some of whom make periodic trips to see patients in Jackson. Our partnership with the Henry Ford Cancer Institute represents a new era in health care, and we begin our next one hundred years of service with new hope for our patients with cancer.

Facing Cancer Her Own Way

From the moment Lisbeth Gresley learned she had breast cancer, she was determined not to let her diagnosis keep her from doing what she loves. “I am not one to sit still, and knowing I would not lose control of my life was essential to my recovery,” said Liz, a health insurance specialist and mother of four. With her own resolve and unfailing support from her family and her Henry Ford Allegiance Health care team, Liz has been able to face cancer her own way.

Liz’s breast cancer was discovered in a routine mammogram. Surgeon Shawn Obi, DO, recommended a lumpectomy (surgery to remove just the tumor), to be followed by radiation and possibly chemotherapy. The pathology report from the lumpectomy, however, indicated the presence of additional cancer cells and the need for further surgery—and Liz decided to have a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). “I wanted this to be taken care of quickly and all at once, and I was absolutely against having chemotherapy, radiation or hormone therapy,” she explained. “After talking with my husband, Bill, I decided to have both breasts removed, so we wouldn’t have to worry about the cancer coming back.” She also opted to have breast reconstruction.

“While Dr. Obi would have preferred a more conservative approach, he understood my concerns and never made me feel I was making the wrong decisions,” Liz said. After performing a mastectomy on the right breast, Dr. Obi called in plastic surgeon Shoshana Ambani, MD, to consult with Liz regarding the preventive mastectomy and double reconstruction.

Dr. Ambani also supported Liz’s decision and recommended doing a highly complex microvascular surgery called a tissue flap reconstruction. The first of its kind performed at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, this procedure required the purchase of special equipment and specific training for the surgical support team.

In the operating room, Dr. Obi and Dr. Ambani worked in tandem, so the preventive mastectomy and the first stage of Liz’s double breast reconstruction could be done in the same session. This not only lowers the risk for infection, blood loss and complications of general anesthesia, but it also results in the best aesthetic outcome. By sewing together tiny arteries and delicate veins under a microscope, Dr. Ambani was able to successfully transplant tissue from Liz’s lower abdomen to both sides of her chest.

Liz followed her surgery with a week in Henry Ford Allegiance Health’s Critical Care Unit. “My family was impressed with my care team’s level of involvement during my recovery process. Everyone from the housekeepers to the nurses and physicians genuinely cared about me and supported me every step of the way,” she recalled. “It was a wonderful experience overall.”

Liz had Bill bring in her laptop so she could get some work done during her hospital stay. “Working was my way of maintaining control, which is a stress-reliever for me,” she explained. As planned, Liz kept working through most of her recovery, continued going to her kids’ soccer and basketball games, and was even able to Christmas shop and prepare a holiday meal for her family just weeks after being discharged from the hospital.

Learn more about cancer care and breast reconstruction surgery provided at Henry Ford Allegiance Health.

Lisbeth’s Gallery

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has awarded Henry Ford Allegiance Health with a gold seal of accreditation in computed tomography (CT) for lung cancer screening. The three-year gold seal accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards, after a peer-review evaluation by expert, board-certified physicians and medical physicists. The assessment covers image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs.