Meet Your Cancer Care Physicians

PayneDr. Tom Payne is a radiation oncologist at the Marshall Cancer Care Center, where they’re celebrating the first year of serving the community this month.

Could you start by talking about your background?
I was raised in Chagrin Falls, OH. It is a small town of about 5,000 located about 25 miles from Cleveland. I went to Purdue University for my undergraduate degree and majored in electrical engineering. I then went on to serve 13 successful years in the U.S. Navy on nuclear powered submarines. I attended medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina and residency at the University of Kentucky.

What do you love about Marshall County?
We have a full life that involves close relationships within the community. Here, you know your mailman, banker, and your mayor. There are abundant academic and sport opportunities for your children within the schools. The schools are great. These opportunities and relationships could have been diluted within a larger city.

What was your motivation for becoming a radiation oncologist?
I had a lot of physics and radiation protection training in the navy, so I was able to leverage my background into my future. I like the combination of technology and patient care – so for me, it was a really great fit.

What’s your favorite part about your job?
I get to work in a brand new facility with a great staff. Most of all, I enjoy getting to know patients and their families and the fact that they have trusted me to take part in their cancer treatments.

Can you talk about your family and what you do for fun?
My wife and I have been married for 19 years. We have 3 children with more activities than we have cars/drivers to get them there. We attend the Church at Lake Guntersville.
I love being with my wife and children. We like boating on the lake and working in the yard. You know, just hanging out with the family gives me the most enjoyment.


EwingDr. Gideon Ewing specializes in medical oncology and hematology at the Marshall Cancer Care Center.










Dr. Jonathan Storey specializes in medical oncology and hematology at the Marshall Cancer Care Center.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Foundation News: Closer to Home Campaign – How You Can Help

Cancer Center Grand OpeningJust two years ago, the Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers began a five-year fundraising effort to bring quality Cancer Care “Closer to Home.” Thanks to many generous partners, the doors of the Marshall Cancer Care Center opened in July of 2013.

Because of you, the Closer to Home campaign has been able to do great things with our cancer center over the course of the year, but – there’s still more to do!

In under a year, the Cancer Care Center has seen in excess of 2,000 unique patients. Thankfully not all of these require follow up treatment, but many do – like the 500+ patients who have been newly diagnosed and received radiation treatment (often requiring 30-40 visits each) and chemotherapy (most of which will involve multiple visits over months or years). Additionally, these oncology patients have all been seen within 48 hours of diagnosis. The collective impact of having state-of-the-art oncology services conveniently located has already been tremendous for these patients and their families.

cancer_care_largeAlso, thanks to our partners, the Foundation is almost 90% to achieving its $3 million Closer to Home Campaign goal in support of the Cancer Care Center. We are now asking for interested individuals and businesses to help us finish the campaign in order to sustain Marshall Cancer Care Center into the future.

The Foundation Board of Directors has set a goal to raise $350,000 before the end of 2014 to complete the Closer to Home Campaign and accomplish our mission of supporting these patients.

Ways to Give

Cash Gifts: Either through check or EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer).  EFT funds can be designated as a one-time gift, or as ongoing gifts on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or annual basis.

Giving through a Multi-Year Pledge: Gifts to the Closer to Home Campaign can be paid over the course of five years, making it easy to give at a level and time-frame that is convenient.

Giving Securities: Low-yielding stocks, mutual funds or other securities that are worth more than the original buying price can be considered when making a charitable gift.

Giving Real Estate: Donating property provides tax advantages while relieving you of the day-to-day responsibility of property ownership. By donating property, you avoid marketing the property and the capital-gains taxes triggered by its sale.

Retirement Funds and Life Insurance: There can be special tax and other benefits when making gifts using retirement account assets and life insurance policies. Check with your IRA administrator for details.

Future Gifts: As part of long-range financial and estate plans, consider gifts that will leave a legacy.

-through your will

-through living trusts

-through retirement plan remainders

The Foundation would welcome the opportunity to talk with you and your financial planners about giving through these avenues.  You may schedule an appointment with:

Andrea Oliver, Foundation Director, at 256.571.8026

or make your gift online at

or by mail at:

The Closer to Home Campaign | 2320 Homer Clayton Drive | Guntersville, AL 35976




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Therapyplus Members of the Month: June 2014

Brandon FordMember of the Month Brandon Ford

Contributed by Jack Morris

Lao Tzu, a famous philosopher and poet from ancient China, once said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” If we intend on going anywhere in life we have to be willing to take that first step. When we do decide to start making our health a priority it makes a huge difference in how we feel, act, and our level of productivity. Our member of the month for June has taken that step in the right direction and is really getting great results. On behalf of Therapyplus Fitness, I want to congratulate Brandon Ford for earning member of the month for June 2014.

Brandon’s first step in the right direction was to join Therapyplus Fitness. He said “I love the friendly employees. Jack, Shelia, Philip, Kaz, Jacob, Jake, and Lucas are all great people.” Brandon  wanted to make a lifestyle change. He knew he needed to make taking care of his body and his health a priority and wanted to inspire others to do the same. His suggestion to others, “Commit to the process regardless of what your health goals are. Once you reach that goal you can’t quit. If you do you will return back to where you started. You have to set new goals to continue to challenge yourself.” Brandon continued,  “Good health requires consistent quality workouts, proper nutrition, and adequate rest. There’s no overnight success. It takes discipline, dedication, and determination.”

The reason Brandon decided to start working out was primarily related to his weight. Three months ago when he rejoined the gym he weighed 300 pounds. He has lost 28 pounds since that time and continues to drop his unwanted pounds. His eventual goal is to lose 100 pounds. His workout routine consists of 5-6 days each week. He will do 20-60 minutes of cardio and 1-2 hours of isolated muscle group resistance training. He also incorporates circuit training, lap swimming, and daily abdominal workouts. Brandon’s hobbies include music, movies, bodybuilding, spending time with friends and family, playing the drums, and attending church as often as possible.

Brandon has a home-based business promoting “Health Challenges: 90 Day Challenge, and Project 10 Challenge.” He has currently finished his first Project 10 challenge and has started his second. Every time he completes a challenge 30 free nutritional meals are donated to the North Alabama Food Bank for kids in need. Brandon said “I’m losing weight and feeling better every day.”

Amy TowlesMember of the Month Amy Towles

Contributed by Regina Hayes

Amy’s Story: “In March of 2013 I went out to play with my children and I couldn’t get my breath. That day was a wake-up call for me. I had let myself get to my heaviest weight and I felt like it was time for a change. I tried HerbaLife shakes and had some success. I also started walking every morning at the Guntersville Dam. After a couple of months, I started walking from the dam to the top of the mountain and back. For those who know where that is-it was not easy but I felt great after I made it the first time. I continued walking every day and drinking the shakes until November 2013. At that time I began to hit a plateau after losing 83 pounds. A friend of mine told me about the New You Weight Loss Center in Arab. I started going there in November 2013.  I also joined Therapyplus Fitness at this time with my husband. I have worked out there every morning since then. I drop my kids off at school and head straight to the gym. Since joining the gym, I feel like a totally different person. I continue going to the clinic for weigh-ins. They give me a goal every month and something to work for. After losing 130 pounds I had met my goal. I have now lost 131 pounds since last March. I don’t plan on quitting now. My doctor tells me working out has to be part of my life now and thanks to all the friendly staff and members at Therapyplus I am no longer ashamed to workout in front of people.”

Amy is a cashier at Cooley’s Grocery and Tackle and is from Union Grove. She works out 5-6 days a week.  In addition to losing 131 pounds, she’s added six pounds of muscle and gone from a size 24 to size 14.  “My biggest challenge is making myself do this everyday, but I always feel better after I’m finished,” she said.  Her diet consists of plenty of protein, no fried foods, no junk food. Citing her toughest temptation as chocolate, she reported, “I don’t give in!”  She enjoys gardening and playing with her kids.

“The staff at Therapyplus is so friendly and if I ever have a question they always help me.
That’s part of the reason I haven’t quit. All of the members are also very happy and friendly,” Amy stated.

She feels motivated because her husband and kids love that she is able to do more.  “The best compliment I’ve gotten is that I look better and younger.”  Her tip for others is not to give up. “If one thing doesn’t work, keep trying.  You’ll find what’s right for you.”





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cancer Care Chat: Oncology Patient Navigators

cancer_care_largeNext month, the Marshall Cancer Center will be celebrating its first anniversary of caring for patients, providing state-of-the art treatment, closer to home. While you may know about the Cancer Care Center and its programs, there’s one special service of which you may not be aware: Oncology Patient Navigators.

At Marshall Medical, the Oncology Patient Navigator’s purpose is to educate, advocate for, and navigate cancer patients throughout their treatment and survivor ship. One of the most important roles is to remove roadblocks to treatment, so that patients are able to keep their appointments, follow their treatment regimen, and receive the support services they need. There is no denying this is a trying time for both patients and families. With extensive knowledge of other community resources, the Oncology Patient Navigator helps to ensure that patients’ physical, psychological, spiritual, and cultural needs are met, even after discharge.

Meeting Special Needs, Filling the Gap.

• Responsible for ensuring all adult patients with oncology diagnosis receive quality care as well as comprehensive services.
• Serves as liaison for the medical staff, patient and community.
• Available to meet with the patient at time of diagnosis or referral.
• Guides patient through referrals and treatments. Connects patient/family members to services or resources to aid in improved outcomes and quality of life, i.e.; Nutrition, Exercise, Financial Assistance, Spiritual Care, Counseling Services.
• Makes contact with patient as needed to identify potential areas of concern, both physical signs/symptoms and emotional needs, to ensure early intervention.
• Provides education and follow-up with patients prior to, during and following chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
• Facilitates the needed care at the most appropriate and convenient location.
• Facilitates support groups.

patient_navigatorsYour Patient Navigators At Marshall Cancer Care Center: Candy Hatfield and Pam Veal.
Candy Hatfield (left) is a Registered Nurse and Oncology Nurse Navigator, and Pam Veal is a Certified Medical Assistant and a Certified Phlebotomist.

Learn more by visiting The Marshall Cancer Care Center.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet Your (Award Winning) Nurse

Each month, we dedicate a blog post to “meeting your physician” to give more information about Marshall Medical Centers doctors and to help put faces with names you may hear around the community. This month, we decided it’s appropriate to change that feature just a bit:

Sarah RobertsWhen you’re in the hospital, having expert care is vitally important. But combining that expert care with kindness, compassion and personal attention is essential, too. One Marshall Medical Centers nurse was in for a surprise on Monday evening when she reported for her shift. Sarah Roberts, an ICU nurse at Marshall South, was voted Best Nurse in the Sand Mountain Reporter’s Readers’ Choice poll.

Sarah is originally from the Huntsville area. She attended nursing school at Gadsden State and has been a nurse at MMCS for a total of 25 years. When she’s not working Sarah loves to sew, work in her flower garden and read.

Sarah Roberts Certificate
Congratulations Sarah!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Foundation Website Gets an Overhaul


- More user friendly

full screen shot foundation

- Easy to donate online

- Easy to find out about events/programs

- Special donor and project spotlights throughout the year

So go explore!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cancer Care Chat: May – Melanoma Awareness Month

Umbrella_Beach_xlAs summer begins, it’s time for lazy lake days, lounging by the pool, vacations at the beach – or if you’re the parents of young children, substitute crazy for lazy at the lake and make lounging, sitting on the edge of your lounger by the pool instead!  No matter which summer day description matches your life, they all have one thing in common – the sun. Safe fun in the sun is incredibly important. May is melanoma awareness month, and as you’ll read in this post, the most effective way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from all types of harmful exposure.

Dr. Joshua Wharton talks about skin cancer and especially melanoma: risks factors, what to watch for and prevention:

“Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, so I encourage anyone to have a skin check. It really is never too early to have a check. One-in-five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. How often one requires or needs a routine skin check varies. Some may only need a scan every year or two, while others require a check every 90 days due to their history and risk factors.

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, and incidence rates have been increasing for at least 30 years. It is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old. One American dies of melanoma every hour, but this can be prevented. If detected early and treated before it spreads to lymph nodes, the 5 year survival rate is 98 percent. Melanoma can develop from or near and existing mole, or may appear suddenly without warning. Although they can occur anywhere on the body, the back, leg, head and neck are the most common sites. People should look for new or rapidly growing moles that itch, bleed, sting, or change colors. These are usually early warning signs of melanoma and should be examined by a dermatologist. It has been my experience that patients will present with a concerning lesion which turns out to be totally harmless, but I find a skin cancer somewhere else they had no idea or concern for. This is why it is important to have a trained dermatologist perform routine skin checks.

The most sunhatSTRAW24.99preventable risk factor for skin cancer is to limit ultraviolet light exposure, especially tanning beds. Fair-skinned Caucasians have the highest incidence for skin cancers, including melanoma. Melanoma can strike anyone, but there is an increased risk in those who have: red or blond hair, blue or green eyes, greater than 50 moles, large or unusual moles, a first degree relative with melanoma, a prior history of melanoma or other skin cancer, and a history of previous cancers such as breast, thyroid, or prostate cancer.

Protect yourself by seeking shade, especially during midday hours from 1LL Bean shirt0am-4pm, wear sun-protective clothing, and generously apply sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin. Water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 should be applied daily to all sun exposed skin. Use extra caution near water, snow and sand because they reflect damaging rays, which increases your chance for sunburn. I tell my patients to enjoy the outdoors but protect themselves while doing it!”

For more information about Dr. Wharton, including contact information, click here.

Click on the following links to find more about Marshall Medical Centers or Marshall Cancer Care Center.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment