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Cancer Care

When the diagnosis is cancer, there’s comfort in knowing that you don’t have to go far from home for treatment. Ocala Health is your partner, providing the best in prevention, screening, education, and care for cancer patients and their families. The cancer program at Ocala Health’s Ocala Regional Medical Center provides comprehensive cancer services. With more than 25 years of specialized service, you can trust you'll be treated with the best of care.

While the facilities are important, it’s our multi-disciplinary team, aiding in the patient’s treatment, which makes the difference in each patient’s care. One of the main assets in the patient’s team is the oncology patient navigator that is there to walk you through the process and to provide convenience, continuity, and genuine care.

photo of Jolene Hetsler, RN

Jolene Hetsler, RN

This is our oncology patient navigator, Jolene Hetsler, RN. She will guide you through the health care system, educate you about your treatment options, assist you in finding financial assistance, facilitate the communication of your health care team, assist you with keeping track of and getting to your appointments, and direct you to community resources and support groups.

To meet the rest of our multi-disciplinary team, check out the section below titled, “Our Team.”

Our Team

Board certified physicians – physicians with exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice

Oncology Certified Nurses – OCN specialty-trained nurses who have the knowledge necessary to care for adult oncology patients. This certification validates an individual's knowledge in cancer nursing

Oncology patient navigator – a nurse who helps you to make the transition from diagnosis to treatment simple and seamless in order to help you through your recovery and healing process

Specialized pharmacists – pharmacists trained in oncology medicines

Pathologists – a physician (MD or DO) who is trained to examine and interpret results of tests done on body tissue. This information is important for your diagnosis and recovery

Case managers – advocates who help you understand your current health status, what you can do about it, and why treatments are important

Social workers - professionals who are knowledgeable about available community and governmental resources and psychosocial implications for individuals and families. He or she provides appropriate interventions and discharge planning services

Licensed clinical dietitians – a licensed specialist who will help you plan your diet

Genetic counselor – a professional who provides comprehensive cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, patient education, and genetic testing

Our Services

The cancer program at Ocala Regional Medical Center has a dedicated 18-bed inpatient unit where many of the rooms are private. This family-centered unit encourages involvement of family and friends through the use of our Cancer Resource Room located on the third floor. There, they can find information on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options through numerous books, video tapes, DVDs and internet resources.

The dedicated outpatient center consists of specially-trained oncology nurses who provide the best possible care to each patient. The infusion center delivers outpatient cancer services and care for 6,800 visits annually. Through the infusion center, patients can receive: chemotherapy, blood transfusions and other therapies for cancer. Chemotherapy is a therapeutic method of utilizing drugs that interfere with the cancer's ability to reproduce and grow. This form of treatment can be administered on an inpatient or outpatient basis.


  • Comfortable reclining chairs
  • Televisions
  • Private room with bed
  • Light snacks and beverages
  • Educational brochures and books

Hours of Operation:

Mon - Fri: 8:00am - 4:30pm
Sat & Sun: 8:00am - 10:00am

Contact Information:

For infusion center registration or general inquiries, contact (352) 401-1185.

Services used to determine the location and specific type of disease are provided at Ocala Regional Medical Center and West Marion Community Hospital. Complete diagnostic imaging services available include: CT scan, MRI, nuclear medicine, and ultrasound. For your outpatient diagnostic needs, contact Advanced Imaging Centers, a member of the Ocala Health team.

Ocala Health offers you and your doctor a comprehensive place to go for cancer surgery. There are many goals associated with surgery, whether it's to diagnose, treat, or relieve the symptoms it causes.

Your team, together, will best decide the right one for you. Ocala Health's navigator will be here to provide you with additional education and/or support you need throughout this process.

  • Preventive
    • Mammo
    • Colonoscopy
  • Diagnostic
    • Polypectomy
  • Curative
    • Lympectomy
    • Hysterectomy
  • Palliative
    • Breast
    • Colon
    • Uterine
    • Prostate
    • Bladder
    • Kidney
    • Brain
    • Skin
  • Restorative

The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Health Care Organization (JCAHO) and College of American Pathologists (CAP) approvals ensure that we have quality laboratory services for all patients.

Full radiation therapy services are available a short distance from the hospital.

A small but significant percentage of cancers are hereditary. Identification of individuals at increased risk to develop cancer by virtue of a strong family history or an altered gene allows for early intervention. Screening has the potential to detect cancer at an early stage when prognosis is generally better and risk-reducing strategies may prevent disease from occurring. Therefore, patients can learn very important information during genetic counseling that may change their medical management. Most patients who pursue genetic counseling are interested in learning what the chances are that they will develop cancer (or develop cancer again) and what the risks may be for their children.

Our genetic counselor provides comprehensive cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, patient education, and genetic testing for patients who are concerned about cancer risk.

Ocala Health now offers Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) screenings for patients who meet specific criteria to enhance early detection of lung cancer and to reduce mortality among smokers. Lung screening examinations are tests performed to find disease before symptoms begin, with a goal of detecting disease at its earliest and most treatable stage. Using LDCT scans to screen smokers for lung cancer reduces the risk of death by 20 percent versus those screened by a chest X-ray, according to a National Cancer Institute study. For high risk individuals, the benefits of early detection far exceed the risks of low-dose radiation.

Screening Criteria

High risk individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Be asymptomatic (You should not experience coughing blood or wheezing, and must not be diagnosed with severe pulmonary disease)
  • 55-77 years old (non-Medicare providers: age 55-80)
  • Have at least a 30-pack year smoking history
  • Currently smoke or have quit within the past fifteen years

Physician Order and Discussion

To participate in the screening, you must make an appointment with your primary care physician to have a Shared Decision Making session. Your physician will explain the risks and benefits of the study.

What To Expect During the Procedure

During the LDCT procedure, you will lie flat on the exam table. Pillows may be used for comfort to help you maintain the correct position and to help you remain still during the exam. You will be asked to hold your arms over your head. Next, the table will move through the scanner to the correct starting position for the scans. While you hold your breath for five to 10 seconds, the table will move through the machine as the LDCT scan is done.


Will My Insurance Cover the Procedure?

LDCT screenings are covered under most insurance plans, and typically do not require a co-pay. Check with your insurance provider to be sure.

What Happens If My Results Are Positive?

If an abnormality is found on your LDCT scan, a letter will be sent to you and your physician with the report attached. Your doctor may recommend a followup CT scan. In the unlikely case that the abnormality does grow or may present a worry, your doctor may recommend further testing using a PET scan or a biopsy (taking out a small piece of the abnormality). Remember, lung cancer screening is not a single test: It is a process that must be done correctly under the direction of your doctor(s).

Call Today

For more information or questions regarding the LDCT screening, call (352) 291-6341.

Ocala Regional Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in your region to acquire Veran’s SPiN Thoracic Navigation System. This revolutionary technology allows our pulmonary specialists to accurately navigate to lung nodules, and then biopsy those nodules regardless of size or location. If the nodule is not accessible through an endobronchial approach, the physician is capable to convert to a percutaneous, navigated TTNA with SPiNPerc.

SPiN Thoracic Navigation System: The SPiN Thoracic Navigation System is an Electromagnetic Navigation (EMN) system used by lung specialists. EMN is similar to the GPS in your car. The technology uses the natural airways of the lungs as roadways. Using the data from the chest CT scans, the computer builds a 3D map. A physician then uses special instruments with tiny sensors in the tips in order to track their location while navigating to a lung nodule. The special instruments are then used to take biopsies.

Patient Benefits: In the past, diagnosing and staging lung cancer typically involved multiple diagnostic procedures by multiple specialists. Today, with the SPiN Thoracic Navigation System, lung specialists are able to access nodules regardless of size or location by utilizing multiple approaches. In addition to a Navigated Bronchoscopy, physicians are able to convert to a navigated TTNA utilizing SPiNPerc with the SPiN Thoracic Navigation System.

Valuable Resources in Your Community

In addition to these listed below, our cancer program has relationships with HUGS, Palliative Care, Royal Dames, Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, and many other helpful organizations. Ask the oncology patient navigator for more information about community resources and support at (352) 401-1534.