Compassionate Cancer Care
Patients can find answers at the right place with the right treatment at MidAmerica Cancer Care.
Story by Ann Butenas
Established in late 2019, MidAmerica Cancer Care has one central mission: to provide compassionate cancer (oncology) care to patients right in their own communities. Because tumors and cancer are unique, it is important to create a unique treatment for each patient. At Midwest Cancer Care, treating the whole patient and not just the cancer itself is an integral part of this approach. This is accomplished through leading-edge programs and technologies delivered in a highly personal and compassionate setting. When compassionate and trusted clinicians are a part of that equation, patients are assured access to those who practice evidence-based medicine and ongoing improvement in cancer care which keeps pace with the latest in treatment protocols, discoveries, and research.
Dr. Jaswinder Singh is one such esteemed physician, oncologist, researcher, and educator in the field of cancer care. He has dedicated his career to improving the lives of those who have been diagnosed with cancer. A hematologist-oncologist who is also board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Singh has a specific interest in complex gastrointestinal cancers. He has been an integral part of the Liver and Pancreas Tumor Board, an organization that oversees treatment planning for hundreds of patients each year. Dr. Singh is also heavily involved in leading clinical trials that stand on the forefront of the continuing battle against cancer.
Born with a purpose: Improving the lives of those with cancer
Dr. Singh began his oncology career in Kansas City when he joined HCA Health Midwest in 2007. However, his medical experience has roots as deep as they are wide that began half a world away.
Dr. Singh grew up in India, where he graduated from medical school. He knew instinctively from a young age that he wanted to study oncology, realizing it was the ideal field to pursue, as it allowed him to be connected to others. As a self-described spiritual person, that human touch and connection is important to his clinical approach. It also goes hand-in-hand with trust.
“Trust is a big word,” he emphasized. “It is something that develops over time. We work hard to find the right treatment (for patients) and make that available (to them).”
Dr. Singh attended medical school in his homeland. Upon coming to the United States, he completed a residency in internal medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York University. He followed up that endeavor by completing a residency in oncology and hematology at the University of Kansas. From there he established his practice alongside HCA, which was searching for a strong group of dedicated physicians to jump start its initial cancer center at Research Medical Center in 2007.
It was during that time many medical practices were moving towards employed models for the oncologist within large hospital networks. Dr. Singh’s practice has been the beneficiary of the continued support from HCA through outreach commitments to various communities surrounding the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. As time progressed, Dr. Singh continued to recruit additional like-minded physicians whose approach to medicine in developing a cancer treatment program would incorporate community outreach principles, such as nurse navigation and telemedicine technology.
The Birth of MidAmerica Cancer Care
MidAmerica Cancer Care opened its doors in late 2019. The primary mission of this care center is to provide compassionate cancer (oncology) care to patients within their own communities.
Dr. Singh began this journey of developing a new oncology practice in the city to address the underserved rural community.
Dr. Singh chooses to bring in cancer clinical trials to these patients even though it would be much easier to just refer patients to another primary health center in the city or outside of Kansas City. The amount of tireless work that goes into bringing research to the region is one of his life’s work, and from that purpose and mission he will never waver.
“Too much focus is often placed on patients receiving care at large academic centers where the patient can receive the ‘ultimate’ care,” he explained. “What is not emphasized is that the same exceptional level of care is being offered at these community hospitals by physicians like those on our team who see it as a moral imperative to deliver this care to patients who would otherwise be without resources.”
With its main location on the campus of St. Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, MidAmerica Cancer Care also supports numerous facilities around the region:
- Research Medical Center (HCA facility)
- Research Belton Regional Hospital (HCA facility)
- Overland Park Regional Medical Center (HCA facility)
- Cass Regional Medical Center
- Bates County Memorial Hospital
- Western Missouri Medical Center
- Golden Valley Memorial Hospital
- Carroll County Memorial Hospital
- St. Joseph Medical Center
- Encompass Medical Group at Grandview
A distinguished cancer care center truly leading the way
“What sets MidAmerica Cancer Care apart is our commitment to keeping patients firmly entrenched in the community and their hometown hospital,” expressed Dr. Singh. “We have witnessed the effects of financial burden and inadequate social support during cancer treatment. With this awareness, we are working to eliminate as many barriers to care as possible. You will not see another healthcare model within oncology in this city where the practice continues to grow by spreading out to additional outreach facilities. We are able to provide services to these underserved areas through our partnerships with these facilities. They recognize the need to keep patients close to home, and the facility also grows a reputation for bringing in providers and specialists who meet the overall needs of patients.”
It takes a village: a vast network at work
There are many choices for care when it comes to cancer providers. However, MidAmerica Cancer Care prides itself on offering the same level of service as larger groups and institutions. Oncology care is predicated on providers that have depth in its ranks and expertise in specific types of cancer.
Working in tandem with Dr. Singh is an acclaimed group of physicians who embrace the patient-centered philosophy. Among this group is Dr. Preethi Ramachandran, who completed a hematology/pathology fellowship in London and has a practice focus on patients suffering from hematologic disorders and malignancies. She also treats women for breast cancer and navigates their care from initial diagnosis through treatment and on to follow-up and survivorship.
Dr. Nick Shuler has an interest in solid tumor diagnoses and lung cancers. He manages patients through a local tumor conference and sees patients at locations to the north and east of the metro area.
Recently joining the practice is Dr. Karan Josan, who has completed his fellowship in oncology and will begin patient care in Warrensburg at Western Missouri and the surrounding areas.
In addition to the specific physicians on staff, MidAmerica Cancer Care offers nurse navigation through Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute. There are also clinical trials through the practice’s collaboration with Alliance for Multispecialty Research (AMR) under the direction of Dr. John Ervin. Patients also receive a wide range of additional services that include the following:
- radiation oncology treatment
- additional consults
- referral for surgery
- physical therapy/occupational therapy referral
- wound care
- home health
- hospice or palliative care
- genetic testing and results
- social worker support, and financial counselors
MidAmerica Cancer Care has seven nurse practitioners with specialization in oncology with a combined 50 years of experience in the treatment of cancer patients in the Kansas City area. These same NPs travel over 225 hours (monthly average) out to the various 10 locations across this city because they also believe in Dr. Singh’s vision of providing care to the underserved and rural communities.
Our nurse practitioners are integral to our continued work and success. They are intimately engaged in each patient’s and their family’s journey. They advocate for their patients to ensure they are getting the resources and education necessary to get the optimal treatment course that makes sense for their cancer and fits their life. Treatment of the whole person is key to making sure that the patient receives the best care and desired outcomes. The nurse practitioners at MidAmerica Cancer Care have committed their life’s work to their patients and these outcomes.
The overall service radius for the practice is broad-reaching and encompasses as far north as Carrollton, Missouri and as far south as Bates County Memorial in Butler, Missouri.
“There is always a look to the future on whether we are meeting the needs of the area and if we need to expand to additional locations,” contemplated Dr. Singh. “MidAmerica Cancer Care will continue to coordinate our efforts with HCA to determine best placement of future clinics in order to provide best coverage area for Kansas City.”
A never-ending quest to deliver excellence in overall cancer care
Dr. Singh has continued his performance of clinical research under AMR since 2019. He currently has over 10 trials ongoing with their team. They will continue to seek out studies that can be successful in implementation at these smaller tertiary locations as well as offer those same trials here in the city. This is unique as most patients are told to go to larger institutions, even outside of Kansas City to participate in clinical research. At MidAmerica Cancer Care, this is not the first option to go elsewhere. They intend to have trials offered close to home.
Dr. Singh works hard for his patients and will do whatever it takes to find the right answers and approaches. This involves a high level of compassionate, loving care in addition to clinical approaches. In short, Dr. Singh believes the right oncologist will treat you just like family.
“Oncology is a very widespread branch with new science and technology happening,” reflected Dr. Singh. “We try to practice everything and try to specialize in our own branch. We work together to help the patient even if we have to put our brains together behind the patient. Our goal is to come up with a plan and treatment option that works for the patient. I will be working behind the scenes to find the right answers and if I don’t know them, I will find them for you.”