Effective August 11, 2021 at 7:00 AM, we have updated both hospitals' Visitation Policy: Non-COVID inpatients are now allowed one overnight visitor and one nonrotating support person during the day. Read the full policy for details here.
Northeast Alabama's Comprehensive Cancer Care Center
The RMC oncology department is dedicated to offering top-quality cancer care and support to Alabama cancer patients. Our team of oncology professionals is based locally and is affiliated with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, meaning you never have to compromise on one of the most essential kinds of care.
Powerful Cancer Treatment with a Personal Touch
We care about cancer treatment, and have a hands-on approach to helping our patients get the best care and treatment plans possible, while preserving the quality of life for each patient. We pride ourselves on being cancer care specialists. Each treatment plan is carefully established with the patient in mind; the custom approach means you can recover better.
You will never walk alone at RMC; we will be with you every step of your journey—from diagnosis to treatment to aftercare services in order to ensure that your quality of life is never compromised.
We understand that receiving a cancer diagnosis comes with many concerns; our team of specialists is happy to answer all your questions and assist however they can. Part of the ethos at RMC is providing knowledge for informed choices; you will always be given the best possible information to make the most informed choices about your care. We are here to provide you with the knowledge and the options available to you, whether you would like to know what you are up against, how we will fight cancer alongside you, and who the people are standing with you in your battle against cancer.
Meet Your Cancer Care Team
The oncology department at RMC is committed to advanced treatment of all cancers and patient-led care. The oncology team is led by fully board-certified Medical Oncologists and board-certified Radiation Oncologists. Together, the team works at diagnosing and treating patients from every walk of life.
Our specialist oncology staff also comes equipped with assistants in various areas, including:
- Surgical oncology
- Medical oncology
- Radiation oncology
RMC’s Leading Oncology Specialists:
- Dr. Arun Paul, MD Ph.D., has almost a decade of experience with oncology and cancer care; he approaches cancer treatment from every angle, and strives to ensure his patients’ quality of life while supporting them through to potential remission.
- John Stahl, MD, has a wide range of cancer care experience; he is considered one of RMC’s cancer care specialists, and is here to support all of his patients through every step of their journey to hopeful recovery and remission.
- Dr. Drexel Hunter Boggs specializes in Breast, Lung, Central Nervous System and Metastatic disease. He joins our Radiation Oncology team from UAB with over two decades of medical experience.
Other physicians within the oncology department include:
- Adam Kole, MD Ph.D., specializes in the areas of lung, lymphoma, hematology, sarcoma, gastrointestinal, and metastatic disease
- Ellen Spremulli, MD, is a published author of several articles relating to cancer, with more than 30 years of experience in the field of oncology. Dr. Spremulli specializes in lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and other cancers.
- John B Fiveash, MD, is a specialized radiation oncologist interested in the brain, central nervous system, and metastatic disease.
- Karl Hagler, MD, specializes in general oncology and hematology.
- Mike Soike, MD, who deals specifically with pediatric malignancies, hepatobiliary tumors, lung cancer, and lymphomas.
- Rojymon Jacob, MD, has a specialized interest in genitourinary and gastrointestinal cancers, hepatobiliary cancers, and metastatic diseases. Dr. Jacob also has experience in prostate cancer treatment.
- Drexell H Boggs, MD, has a specialized interest in cancers in the breast, lung, central nervous system, and metastatic disease.
- George Harrison, MD, is a specialist oncologist with more than 20 years of experience treating gynecological cancers.
- Michael C Dobelbower, MD, Ph.D. has a specialized focus on cancers of the lung, head, neck, along with genitourinary, metastatic disease, and breast cancer treatment.
- Sharon Spencer, MD, a specialist in the field of cancers of the head and neck, lung, and metastatic disease.
The oncology team of physicians is supported by a fully equipped team of specialist nurses and trained care professionals. Together, the team will walk with you through your journey to recovery and continue to guide you after.
Cancer Care Treatments
At RMC, a customized approach is taken when treating each patient. We believe that no two patients are alike, and each treatment is tailored to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient. Our dedicated team will take the time to explain each step of the way, and guide their patients through the entire process.
- Surgery – In cases where a tumor is present, surgery is one of the fastest methods of removing or even preventing a cancerous tumor from forming.
- Chemotherapy – Advances in chemotherapy treatments have allowed this previously debilitating treatment to be more manageable, and many patients can continue with their lives as usual while undergoing chemotherapy.
- Radiation – A localized therapy that precision targets the cancerous cells to destroy them and prevent further spread by suspending the growth of the cells. Radiation therapy is an internal medicine or externally delivered.
- Hormone and Endocrine Therapy – This therapy uses hormone technology to stop cancer growth; these are most commonly used in the treatment of breast and prostate cancers.
- Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy stimulates the body’s natural immune system. The therapy increases the immune system’s functions to block or counteract signals sent from cancer that suppress the immune system.
- Targeted Therapy and Precision Medicines – A relatively new and developing field of oncology treatment, these therapies target cancers at a cellular level, disrupting carcinogenesis in healthy cells.
- Therapy Services – There are several rehabilitative therapies on hand to help support and guide you through recovery. Speech and lymphedema therapies can help speed the healing process or help with any problems caused by the cancers. Alternative therapies are available to manage many long-term effects of cancer in our patients. The support services are available during and after recovery to improve your quality of life and ensure you have the best chance for a full recovery.
Treatment at RMC Cancer Center is world-class. The center has the only Varian Acuity Simulator Machine in Alabama oncology care; this machine pinpoints cancerous cells and can specify radiation treatment and therapies. Having this machine on hand makes it easier for the team to treat all forms of cancer with precision and accuracy. The VAS Machine is state-of-the-art and one of only a few nationwide, making RMC one of the chosen Alabama cancer care centers.
Cancer We Treat
At RMC, we treat a vast range of cancers. With our specialist board of oncologists, many cancer treatments are available to our patients.
The Four Main Cancers We Treat
Generally speaking, our work with cancers are split into four main categories. Categories help specialists more effectively treat and manage cancer. Not all cancers are tumor-forming, so each treatment is specialized and customized to the kinds of cancer present in the patient.
- Carcinomas – These are skin-based cancers that begin in the skin or tissues that cover the surface of the internal organs, including the glands. Carcinomas often form physical tumors that are solid and are the most common kind of cancer. Types of carcinomas include lung, breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Some of these can be removed through surgical removal, which is then further supplemented with post-procedure programs of radiation or chemotherapies.
- Sarcomas – These cancers begin within the soft supporting tissues in the body. Sarcomas form in the fat, nerves, muscles, tendons, joints, lymph vessels, cartilage, and bones of the body. These are often found in the lungs, internal organs, and ovaries.
- Leukemias – Also known as cancer of the blood, leukemias split into several categories depending on the severity of the disease.
- Lymphomas – These cancers target the lymphatic system. They are found in the body’s vast lymphatic network; the two kinds found are Hodgin and non-Hodgkins lymphomas.
There are many different kinds of cancer; these are the most commonly found and treated cancers. Most cancers will fall under these categories, with some instances of overlap. The team at RMC is skilled at diagnosing different kinds of cancer through various methods.
From biopsies, blood work testing, endoscopy, and diagnostic imaging tests, your primary care oncologist might use several methods to assess and ascertain the kind of cancer to establish the best possible treatment plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q:How do I make an appointment, and what do I need?
A: If you ever suspect cancer, you will need a referral from your primary care provider; your physician will relay all your relevant history and medical records to the oncologist.
- Q: What do I need to know about the diagnosis?
A: Your oncologist will explain every detail. They will answer all of the questions you have on hand and offer you additional information where they feel necessary. Make sure to write down concerns and questions you may have for the physician. Take notes and ask as many questions until you are comfortable. You may bring someone close along for support; most patients bring a family member or a friend along with them.
- Q: How long does each treatment session last?
A: Each session is dependent on the kind of cancer and the treatment required. Radiation therapies are usually quicker and last around 15 minutes. In contrast, chemotherapies can take up to four hours, but typically take less.
- Q: What do I need to bring with me to each session?
A: The goal is to be as comfortable as possible. Wear comfortable clothing, socks, and a hat. Bring snacks, fluids, and something to keep you busy with or a friend to keep you company.
- Q: What are the most common side effects of each treatment?
A: Side effects vary between patients. Each patient has a unique experience, and modern medical advances make it easier to manage various symptoms associated with each treatment. Speak to our team of oncologists about side effect management.
Hear a success story from one of our Cancer Survivors.
Reach out to us today and let us walk with you on your road to recovery.
From Diagnosis Through Recovery, We Are With You Every Step
A cancer diagnosis is scary, and it is not something you ever wanted to experience. At RMC, we understand the strain that it places on our patients, and we are committed to working side-by-side with each patient from treatment start to post-recovery life.
Our specialists are all experts in their field, whether you’re working with a local physician or any of our affiliates on the UAB board. You are in good hands every step of the way at RMC’s Northeast Alabama Cancer Center in Anniston, Alabama.