Every cancer is different and so is every patient’s treatment plan. We rely on oncology (the study of cancer and tumors) and oncologists (the experts) to help prevent, diagnose, and treat the many types of cancers. When it comes to detecting the early stages of cancer, it’s important to be proactive. The best thing to do is get screened (mammogram, colonoscopy) regularly or as your physician recommends. That’s where UT Health Northeast comes in.
At our Cancer Treatment and Prevention Center, we don’t just treat cancer…we treat patients who have cancer. Our team has been expertly trained (many at our sister institution, MD Anderson) and uses the most cutting-edge technology to help our patients fight cancer.
By creating a relationship and treatment plan that helps guide our patients through their journey, we provide personalized cancer care. We understand that there are a lot of emotions, questions, and concerns that come with treatment. We also know that every patient and every diagnosis is different. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing support every step of the way, especially once patients are done with treatment. UT Health is the only facility in our region that offers ongoing support for survivors through our Cancer Survivorship Program.
Designed for Patients
Our state-of-the-art facility was completed in 2011 and is designed with our patients’ comfort, convenience, and healing in mind. It’s a space that connects nature and nurture. During chemotherapy treatment, our patients have the option of privacy or connecting with their fellow patients. They can relax in heated massage chairs with a soothing view of dancing fountains and manicured gardens. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase outside gardens and fountains that enhance healing.
As part of our patient-focused care, we offer same-day appointments, and every patient receives care when it’s needed. All aspects of treatment are located here — from the lab to the treatment areas — just steps away from each other. The FREE valet parking helps limit the amount of walking patients have to do here.
Fighting for a Cure
We are a family of medical professionals who treat our patients like family. Together we fight cancer, and in the end, we’re there to celebrate when The Bell of Hope rings.
Cancers We Treat
- Breast cancers
- Male and female reproductive system cancers – cervical, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, testicular, uterine, and vaginal
- Gastrointestinal cancers – tumors of the GI tract, colon, duodenal, esophageal, gall bladder, liver, pancreatic, and stomach
- Head and neck cancers
- Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas
- Lung cancers
- Multiple myeloma
- Neurological cancers
- Skin cancers
- Urinary tract cancers – bladder, kidney, and ureteral
Specialties: Cancer Care / Chemotherapy / Breast Health /
Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, Hospice and Palliative Medicine
HealthConnection Episodes: Lung Cancer
With more than 22 years as an oncologist, Dr. Hyman is an expert in treating cancer. But he doesn’t just treat cancer, he cares for the person with cancer. Dr. Hyman takes the time to talk with patients about their condition and treatment, because, to him, the patient comes first.(903) 877-7831
Specialties: Cancer Care / Family Medicine /
It takes a special kind of person to support and care for cancer patients. Because of her special certification for nursing cancer patients, Paulia Jacobs is just the person for the job. She has more than 17 years of experience as a registered nurse, spending 10 of those years treating people with cancer. In addition, Ms. Jacobs has the expert training of a nurse practitioner.(903) 877-7343
Specialties: Cancer Care / Family Medicine /
HealthConnection Episodes: Palliative Care
After graduating from the UT Health Northeast Family Medicine Residency program, Dr. Amy Newton completed her fellowship in palliative care at MD Anderson Cancer Center. As a supportive care specialist, she and her team concentrate on a multidisciplinary approach to treating people that have serious illness. She focuses on relieving the symptoms of serious illness with the goal of improving quality of life for her patients. She and her team also have training in end of life care and discussions.(903) 877-7831
Specialties: Cancer Care / Radiation / Breast Health /
HealthConnection Episodes: Cancer
To Dr. Smith, patients aren’t numbers; they are individuals with lives separate from their cancer treatments. That’s why he carefully explains complicated medical procedures and answers questions about their radiation therapy. Providing patients with treatment options and letting them choose what’s best for them creates a collaborative and personalized care plan.
Your Cancer Team
Hometown: Sulphur Springs, Texas
Education: AA, AAS in Radiologic Technology, Certification in Radiation Therapy, BS in Healthcare Administration
Experience: Cody has spent 14 years in oncology and he worked in Ft. Worth prior to spending 7 years traveling the country consulting and working locums assignments. Cody started at UT Health in July 12, 2015.
Special interest in oncology: Radiation oncology, more specifically the treatment technologies that are on the brink of use.
Why I enjoy my job: I get to help turn patient fears into comfort while working with leading-edge technology.
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Education: M.S. in Medical Physics
Experience: Michael worked for Varian Medical Systems (industry leader and UT Health Northeast’s sole supplier for oncology equipment) for 4 years as a lead physics instructor at their training facility. There, he taught physicists from around the world on the proper and safe use of all Varian products. Michael started working at UT Health in 2012.
Special interest in oncology: Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
Why I enjoy my job: I get to work alongside the most caring and highly-trained staff, utilizing the most advanced radiation therapy equipment available to provide the best possible cancer care in the region.
Hometown: Tyler, Texas
Education: Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, Oncology Certified Nurse
Experience: Sunna graduated from nursing school in 2002 and she has spent time working in critical care and oncology. She joined the oncology team at UT Health in 2008.
Special interest in oncology: Chemotherapy
Why I enjoy my job: I love developing friendships with my patients, and helping them get through times when they need a friend.
Tammy Cole RN, BSN
Hometown: Longview, Texas
Education: University of Texas at Tyler, bachelor’s degree in nursing
Experience: Before becoming a nurse, Tammy worked as a pharmacy technician for 16 years, with the last 8 years at UT Health. She became a registered nurse in 2011 and worked in the ICU for 3 1/2 years. Tammy started working in oncology in October 2013 at UT Health and she will soon have her National Certification in Oncology.
Special interest in oncology: Education…I love educating patients and helping them learn what to expect on their journey with chemotherapy. It is a scary time for patients and I feel privileged they let me be a part of their journey.
Why I enjoy my job: I enjoy my job because I feel I make a difference, even if it is a small one, to our patients. I also have the privilege to work with great people who have a passion for the care we give.
Hometown: Tyler, Texas
Education: University of Texas at Tyler, RN/BSN
Experience: Connie became an RN in 2000 where she spent 3 1/2 years in heart surgery, 3 1/2 years in the gastroenterology lab, 1 year in renal/dialysis, and 7 years in oncology. She joined the oncology team at UT Health in 2012.
Special interest in oncology: chemotherapy
Why I enjoy my job: I enjoy seeing the transition that patients go through from the beginning to the end of chemotherapy. By the end, it’s like they almost enjoy coming to see us.
Hometown: Nacogdoches, Texas
Education: Bachelor of Science, Medical Dosimetry
Experience: Michael has worked as a medical dosimetrist for 10 years and he started working at UT Health in 2012.
Special interest in oncology: medical dosimetry
Why I enjoy my job: I enjoy working alongside a team of excellent professionals serving patients in need.
Kevin W. Kennedy
Hometown: Batesville, Indiana
Education: University of Texas at M.D. Anderson, Program in Radiation Therapy 1994-1996.
Experience: Keven served in the United States Air Force as a firefighter for 9 years specializing in search and rescue as well as advanced aircraft emergency egress. He was a shift supervisor and staff radiation therapist for three years. His experience also includes working in multiple states for 12 years as a locum radiation therapist. Kevin joined the UT Health oncology team in 2011.
Special interest in oncology: head and neck radiation therapy and pediatrics
Why I enjoy my job: I get to utilize the latest in state-of-the-art equipment in imaging and radiation therapy treatment techniques.
Karen Meshell, RN, BSN, OCN
Hometown: Florien, Louisiana
Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northwestern State University
Experience: Karen has 22 years of experience in the medical oncology field. Her career as a licensed practical nurse began in 1981 and she returned to school in 1987 to pursue a Bachelor of Science in nursing. After graduating in 1991, she soon went to work in inpatient and outpatient oncology specializing in chemotherapy administration. Karen obtained her Oncology Nurse Certification in 1999, totaling 15 years and counting. She also received a certificate in the specialty of radiation oncology in 2013. Karen joined the oncology team at UT Health in 2010 as a nurse manager.
Special interest in oncology: medical and radiation oncology, EMR System Administrator – Aria for Medical Oncology
Why I enjoy my job: I take pride in making a difference in the lives of cancer patients in East Texas.
Hometown: Wuzhou, Guangxi, China
Education: Medical Physics Residency, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2011; Diploma with Honors in Computer Programming, Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2001; Ph.D., Nankai University, Tianjin, China, 1995
Experience: Xiaoning completed his medical physics residency and postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center before joining the oncology team at UT Health in 2011.
Special interest in oncology: Radiation Treatment Planning; Real-time Position Management; Stereotatic Body Radiation Therapy; Stereotatic Radiosurgery; Brachytherapy; Real-time treatment Quality Assurance
Why I enjoy my job: I love to use my talents to help people who have health problems feel better.
Hometown: Ferris, Texas
Eduation: Tyler Junior College; Tarleton State University; University of North Texas; University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Program in Radiation Therapy
Experience: Lori has worked as a full-time radiation therapist since August 1999, and she joined UT Health’s oncology team in 2011.
Special interest in oncology: Respiratory Gating, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
Why I enjoy my job: I love knowing I make a difference in someone’s life…whether it’s through making a patient laugh or smile, helping a patient better understand how to deal with what they’re going through and educating them about the scientific aspect of their radiation treatments, comforting a patient through emotional moments, or just giving a patient a familiar face to look at every day. Even if in the smallest way, I take pride in knowing I have done something good for someone else. I thoroughly enjoy seeing my patients on a daily basis and getting to know them. The daily interaction and personal touch make my “job” seem less like a job and more like a calling.
Meredith Wauqua, RN
Hometown: Tyler, Texas
Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Oncology Nursing Certification, Radiation Oncology Certificate
Experience: It was 1996 when Meredith started her career in Oncology. She transitioned to outpatient oncology care in 1998 and she has worked in all areas of the practice – chemo, medical oncology, and radiation. Meredith joined UT Health in 2011 just before the grand opening of the new radiation oncology center in Tyler.
Special interest in oncology: I have worked in all areas of oncology care, but have a special love of working with radiation patients.
Why I enjoy my job: I love working in oncology. The patients keep me grounded and forever astound me with their inner strength. They remind me daily to cherish the relationships in my life, and not fret about the small things in life. I love being there to make patients smile when they need it the most.
TrueBeam™ and TrueBeam™ STx from Varian
Designed with patient comfort in mind, both the TrueBeam™ and TrueBeam™ STx deliver powerful, fast, and accurate treatment to cancer tumors. With these technological capabilities, Varian named our facility a Center of Excellence. This recognition draws doctors and administrators from all over the world to UT Health to see how we are utilizing the TrueBeam™ technology.
Not every cancer center invests in a machine like Acuity™, which allows our experts to prepare and verify treatment plans for efficient delivery. This dedicated machine frees up valuable treatment time on the TrueBeam™, giving patients more access to cancer-fighting technology. Acuity produces high-quality images to check treatment progress and is one of the latest and best technologies in cancer care.
ARIA® is an information and image management tool that documents patients’ journey through treatment.
Eclipse™ is a system that simplifies modern radiation therapy planning for all kinds of treatment. This technology helps us tailor treatment plans for each patient.
EQUICARE CS™ is a web-based solution that helps us operate our Future of Hope Survivorship Program so patients can connect and share stories after treatment is over.
We have a special room equipped with video conferencing capabilities that enables us to communicate face-to-face with cancer experts around the world.
We understand that there are many questions and concerns about treating cancer, especially when it comes to chemotherapy and radiation. As the destination of hope for cancer care, we want you to have the resources you need. For helpful information, services, and amenities, get the guide to UT Health.
Your First Visit
When arriving at the UT Health Northeast Cancer Treatment and Prevention Center, take advantage of the complimentary valet parking and then head inside to sign in at the registration desk. During your first visit, you will meet with a medical oncologist who will evaluate your condition and perform a physical exam. Once your medical records are reviewed, your physician will discuss your treatment options with you.
This consultation can take up to an hour-and-a-half. We encourage you to bring a friend or family member for extra support. The other important things to bring include:
- A list of all medications and supplements you currently take
- Medical records and films — like x-rays and CT scans — that pertain to your cancer diagnosis
- Insurance card
- Insurance company authorization or referral forms, if applicable
Paying for Treatment
Worrying about unknown financial details should not be an added burden. The financial counselor in the Cancer Center can help you get the most out of your insurance and benefits. Our goals are to regularly communicate with you about treatment costs and work with you and your insurance company to make sure all questions are answered.
For patients with limited resources, we will work with you to identify any financial aid you may be qualified for.
Cancer Preventative Clinical Trials
In the following studies, physicians and scientists analyze samples of body fluids and/or tissue to determine if they can identify nontoxic strategies to prevent cancer.
The purpose of this study is to compare proteins (biomarkers) in breast milk and colostrum with nipple aspirate fluid from women of different ages and breast cancer risk who are breastfeeding. This research is being done to learn more about biomarkers of pregnancy associated breast cancer.
The purpose of this study is to collect specimens (any one or combination of the following: breast fluid, breast cells, blood breast tissue, and/or lung tissue) to analyze current and future biomarkers.
Cancer Treatment Clinical Trials
These studies enroll participants diagnosed with cancer with the goal of identifying new methods to treat the disease. The trials may ask the participant to undergo surgery, take medication, and/or receive radiation therapy as part of the study. Additionally, the collection of blood or other body fluids, as well as imaging of the body to determine treatment response may be involved.
A study comparing two different combinations of chemotherapy in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in patients who have received two or more prior regimens of chemotherapy.
This is a Phase III, multicenter, randomized trial looking at the value of local surgical therapy for the intact primary tumor in metastatic breast cancer patients. Patients will be followed for 5 years.
The main purpose of this clinical trial is to study women who have cancer cells in the lymph nodes at the time that the breast cancer is diagnosed and have chemotherapy before surgery that clears the cancer cells from the lymph nodes.
For more information, please contact:
Benji Hawkins, CCRC