Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is CTCA Too Good to Be True?

Most of us understand that good word of mouth does the most to promote our businesses but is often the hardest to generate. Unfortunately, people are more likely to complain about a bad experience than they are to share information about a good one.

That's why I want to write just a bit here about the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, Ill. It has earned good word of mouth!

My oldest sister's cancer care has been managed by the doctors at CTCA in Zion for the past five years and for the past year and a half, I've been escorting her to her three-month checkups. I can say from firsthand experience that it is an exceptional facility staffed with valued employees who are empowered to make a difference, no matter what their job title or responsibility. From Hope, the cafeteria employee who pushes a cart through the returning patient waiting room while handing out snacks and singing a cheerful song, to Sue Jackson in patient relations, who will listen carefully and then fix the problem each and every time, they are all remarkable.

Last week we attended the Center's annual Celebrate Life event for five-year survivors. It was a very special occasion for my sister. She could attend this milestone event because CTCA is different. In addition to treating the whole person, not just the disease -- and that's why she travels to Zion from her home in the Southern Tier of New York State -- CTCA also offers her treatments that might not be available elsewhere. The parent organization even funds cancer research at competitive cancer facilities, hoping to use the outcome in its own four regional centers.

I know that when people see the CTCA commercials on TV, they think, "Really? Is it REALLY that good?" or "Those aren't real patients offering testimonials, are they? They're actors." It IS that good and those are REAL people. We sat next to one of them last Thursday night at dinner. When Roger Stump, one of the new TV commercial "stars," was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer more than five years ago, his doctor told him he had six months to live. Roger moved his care to CTCA in Zion and his cancer is now in remission.

Some doctors say to their patients, "Don't go to CTCA. They do things differently there." Yes, they do, and for that, I am grateful. Different isn't always bad, you know. Different can be good, too. And at CTCA, "different" isn't alternative, hokey, or whoo-whoo. It's surgery, chemo, radiation, and all the traditional forms of cancer treatment people receive elsewhere. But it's with better equipment, newer drugs, and incredibly skilled health care providers.

So back to the title question: Is CTCA too good to be true? No. It isn't. Not everybody can survive cancer, but you'll get your best shot at it at CTCA.


Anonymous said...

I just read your kind words about Cancer treatment Centers of America Zion IL and want to thank you for calling me a "TV Star" though that isn't true. I am just a blessed man that was not supposed to live and God led me to a place of healing. I am simply a manufacturing engineer that God spared to spread a message. That if you truly believe that it is God's will for you to live, no disease can stop that. As I tell people every day, "God did not spare me to make more transmission shafts", but to help others.

God bless you Sandra. It was an honor for me to sit next to you and your sister that night.

Roger Stump

Sandra Beckwith said...

Roger, it's nice to see your comment here. You are an inspiration to others and I know you realize how important it is for cancer patients to have hope. Thank you for being brave and kind enough to share your story.


Anonymous said...

As a cancer survivor, I agree that hope is an essential element in the success of any medical treatment.

I do not, however, feel that hope is a commodity that can be bought or sold. The price of hope at Cancer Treatment Centers of America is, unfortunately, out of reach for many.

You are right, hope is a gift from God. It comes from within and grows in value as it is shared.

Your story gives me hope. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...
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Sandra Beckwith said...
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Unknown said...

I sure hope that CTCA is as good as it seems. Patients in the throes of "C" can be very desperate and easy pickens' for the wrong ones. See Laetrille and the Contrares(sp) brothers

Anonymous said...

My dad was first diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. He has had two surgerys, chemo and now is stage 4 and its everywhere. He has seen over 5 different dr's and no one seems to care or can even figure out how to treat him. So i called Ctca and he is there now. From his first phone call i could here some hope and happiness in his voice. Im not sure how it will turn out as his cancer is advanced. The one thing i can say thus far is they are treating my dad very good and giving him a feeling of hope. Which is more than the last five did. Ill post again with an update after he returns.

Sandra Beckwith said...

Good luck, Anonymous. There's always hope.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to leave an update about my dad at ctca. He said that his care has been excellent there and that they have way better Dr's who explain things. He also has only had to spend a hundred dollars out of pocket for his room. He also says that most people there are not even sick from their chemo treatments and that a lot of these people even came from Md anderson, mayo clinic and other top hospitals. I just wished we would have went here first. If you have a doubt i would reccomend ctca. If they except you and your insurance go there first! Dont wait they are what they claim to be.

Anonymous said...

Please update us. If it's bad, I'm sure it's hard to post, but if it's good the more hope there can be.

Susan Bridges said...

I am very happy for Roger Stump, but his survival represents the less than 1% of pancreatic cancer survivors. Please do not go to CTCA and think you are going to be the next Roger Stump. You would have a better chance of being struck by lightning and winning the lottery too. We went there with stage IV cancer and without even a current scan, they hooked my 58 year old athletic husband up to toxic chemo. The cancer was absolutely everywhere, and they didn't even check, but they did get a BIG CHECK....$80,000 without even spending a night in a hosptial. He was there about 6 hours and the last four months of his life were completely miserable. He went from 195 to 137 and looked like a walking skeleton. I wish I had never seen those constant television ads that give desperate people like us that glimmer of hope that is completely false.