News & Events

October 1, 2010

Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute Adds New Locations, Welcomes New Physicians

OCTOBER 1, 2010 – Florida Cancer Specialists has added two new locations to its network of clinics through mergers with leading oncology practices in Sebring and Gainesville. In addition, we are pleased to welcome two new physicians, Dr. Virginia R. Goytia and Dr. Craig S. Kitchens.

Our new Sebring office, located at 4420 Sun N. Lake Boulevard, became a part of the Florida Cancer Specialists network on July 1, 2010. Two of our outstanding physicians, Dr. Syed E. Ahmed and Dr. Amit I. Shah, are seeing patients at this location.

On October 1, 2010, Gainesville Hematology Oncology Associates (GHOA) merged with our practice, bringing with it an impressive 30-year history of excellence. We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Peter Acs, Dr. Andres Bhatia, Dr. Manuel de la Puerta, Dr. Laura C. Dickerson, and Dr. Lucio Gordan, into our FCS family. The group will continue seeing patients at their current office, located at 1147 NW 64th Terrace in Gainesville.

Joining us at our Cornerstone location in Tampa is Dr. Virginia R. Goytia, a radiation oncologist. Dr. Goytia earned her medical degree at Harvard Medical School with high honors, and has a broad range of experience in the care of patients with advance stages of gynecological and head and neck cancers.

Also joining Florida Cancer Specialists is nationally-recognized hematologist Dr. Craig S. Kitchens. Dr. Kitchens comes to our practice from the University of Florida, where he was a Professor of Medicine. His primary clinical efforts have been directed toward the myriad hemostatic and thrombotic manifestations that are encountered in tertiary medical centers due to the complexity of transplant medicine, level I trauma, and cancer medicine, as well as the rapidly advancing area of clinical thrombosis and hypercoagulability. He will be consulting on the most complicated hematology cases within our practice, and we are delighted to welcome him.

August 31, 2010

Pam Laferriere, Breast Cancer Survivor Drastic Measures Prove Life Saving

TAMPA - It's becoming an option for more and more women: doctors, not only diagnosing their breast cancer, but advising some patients to have both breasts and ovaries removed. It's proving to be a lifesaver for some women.

Click here to watch the interview on Fox 13

August 30, 2010

Four members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology reflect on experiences during recent natural disasters. This article is a great perspective on the relief efforts in Haiti.

PDF Download Click Here to Read 'Destruction and Hope'
You can use Adobe Reader to open the article from ASCO.
If you don't have it, you can download it here: Click Here to get Adobe Reader

July 20, 2010

Ball Caps Inspire Hope, Healing, for Cancer Patients

No diplomas hang on the office wall of Andy Lipman, M.D. Instead, the medical oncologist hangs baseball caps, a Greek fisherman’s cap, even a Mexican sombrero. He considers such memorabilia to be more telling of his education, as each hat hangs for a patient.

An avid Boston Red Sox fan, Dr. Lipman started giving Red Sox ball caps to his patients three years ago. When they embark on chemotherapy, he hands them a hat and says, "That’s my team. Wear this hat to the clinic. They’re lucky."

The hats have been a hit. So much so, patients started bringing in their own hats as gifts to Dr. Lipman. Black Sharpie marker on the brim of a Naples golf course cap reads, "Doc, you’ve given me the spirit to get well." The Greek fisherman's cap marks the date Feb. 6, 2008, and says, "1,015 days since surgery."

"It's nothing big, but it has value to me. I feel these hats add a dimension beyond the cancer patient, cancer doctor relationship," Dr. Lipman says. "From the vantage point where I sit, things can be heavy. I look at these hats and I feel I have a purpose. It helps me continue to do my work sincerely, with love in my heart."

Dr. Lipman pulls down a faded West Bay Club cap, which was a gift from one of his best friends in Southwest Florida. Dr. Lipman treated his friend’s father for pancreatic cancer, and this hat belonged to the father. It still has his sweat marks on it," Dr. Lipman says. "Every hat has something to prime the pump."

He turns to a 1996 New York Yankees World Series hat. Dr. Lipman is not a fan of the Yankees. But this hat was a gift from a Cuban patient who learned to speak English listening to Yankees ballgames on Cuban shores.

"People do amazing things when handed a hard diagnosis," Dr. Lipman says. "These hats are light, but they show people you care about them, that you want good things for them and that you’re going to try your best. Maybe that’s enough."

May 8, 2010 Click Here to View the Slideshow of the Englewood YMCA County Line 5K Run

Florida Cancer Specialists supports Englewood YMCA County Line 5K Run, breast cancer awareness

Florida Cancer Specialists participated in the Englewood YMCA County Line 5K Run on May 8 – both financially and physically. FCS served as the major sponsor and CEO Brad Prechtl ran in support of breast cancer awareness. Prechtl – decked out in his pink tee for the cause – logged a time of 26:46.

Nearly 250 race participants – ranging from 5 to 80 years old – helped raise funds for YMCA youth scholarships for area children in need of financial aid for before and after school care and summer camp. The YMCA also provides scholarships for low-income adults.

This year’s event was held on Mothers’ Day weekend and took the opportunity to highlight breast cancer awareness and local breast cancer education and support groups in the Sarasota and Charlotte county areas. Pink race shirts and goodie bags were filled with literature on breast self-exams, early detection, prevention, resources, and hope. Many families ran together in honor of the cause, including several that represented three generations!

Also at the event were the Passionate Pinks of Charlotte County who coordinate Project Hope by working with the Florida Cancer Specialists in Port Charlotte. Dollars for Hope provides newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with specially designed tote bags containing comfort items and educational materials.

A portion of the funds raised from the race will support Dollars for Mammograms. It is a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing no-cost mammograms to area women who are uninsured or under insured and cannot afford the cost of a mammogram.

All participants and their families and friends enjoyed a beautiful morning on Englewood Beach, live music, continental breakfast, and awards.

Click Here to View the Slideshow of the Englewood YMCA County Line 5K Run

April 23, 2010

Yvette Schoeller RN, OCN from the Venice Health Park Clinic was sworn into the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, Nurse Corp as a Reserve Officer. Lieutenant Commander Thomas Wojtkiw came to the FCS office where everyone watched and celebrated her accomplishment. Yvette has worked for Florida Cancer Specialists for the past 2 yrs.

We are very proud of Yvette for serving her country and wish her the best!

April 7, 2010

PDF Download Click Here to Read Dr. Mallarino's Interview
You can use Adobe Reader to open Dr. Mallarino's Interview.
If you don't have it, you can download it here: Click Here to get Adobe Reader

April 6, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame… and Don’t Forget the Sunblock!

Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute Promotes Skin Cancer Awareness At Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training Game

Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

Port Charlotte, FL – April 6, 2010. . . . . . . . . Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute (FCS) joined the Tampa Bay Rays at their Spring Training Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates to make fans more aware of taking precautions against skin cancer.

Members of the FCS staff greeted excited fans with thousands of sun block samples and other skin care coupons as they entered the game, which was held at the Charlotte Sports Park, in Port Charlotte, Fla., the home field for the Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Spring Training facility of the Rays. Brad Prechtl, FCS’ Chief Executive Officer, was honored to throw out the first pitch of the game, which ultimately ended in a Rays’ victory.

"It is a great opportunity," Prechtl said, "for us to come out and raise awareness about the most common form of cancer in the United States, as well as to promote wearing sunscreen, which is the best defense against the sun’s harmful rays".

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Many of these cases can be prevented by taking simple precautions such as wearing a sun block when you go outside.

Click Here for a Slideshow of the Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training Game

March 19, 2010

Florida Cancer Specialists Offers Expanded Services

Florida’s largest privately-owned Oncology/Hematology practice now offers PET/CT and Radiation Therapy at Cornerstone Clinic.

Tampa, FL – March 19, 2010. . . . . . . . . Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute is now offering Radiation Therapy and PET/CT at the Cornerstone Clinic. Located at 3850 Tampa Road in Palm Harbor, FL, the clinic will host an Open House from 5:30pm – 7:30pm on Thursday, March 25, 2010. Florida Cancer Specialists’ patients, families, and the general public are invited to attend.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computerized Tomography (CT) are both standard imaging tools that allow physicians to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body. Each imaging test has particular benefits and limitations. However, when the results of PET and CT scans are taken together, the combined image provides complete information on cancer location and metabolism. Doing both scans at the same time means added convenience for our patients.

Radiation Therapy is also offered at the Cornerstone Clinic. It can be used alone, or in combination with other modalities such as chemotherapy and surgery, in the treatment of cancer. New radiation therapies are also showing promise in increasing survival rates for some of the most difficult types of cancer such as inoperable lung cancer.

The physicians practicing at Cornerstone include Dr. Robert Drapkin, Dr. Idelfia Marte, Dr. Edgar Miranda, and Dr. Zucel Solc.

On March 3, 2010, Florida Cancer Specialists also held an Open House at its new clinic located at 3000 Medical Park Drive in Tampa. The Medical Park clinic offers laboratory services, chemotherapy infusion services, and weekly patient education. Practicing physicians include Dr. Rand Altemose, Dr. Rafael Blanco, Dr. Julia Cogburn, Dr. Matthew Fink, Dr. Christopher George, Dr. Julio Lautersztain, Dr. Magda Melchert, Dr. Peter Park, Dr. Ramesh Shah, Dr. Shalin Shah, Dr. Waide Weaver, and Dr. David Wright.

Click Here for a Slideshow of the Cornerstone Open House

March 13, 2010

Susan G Komen (SouthWest Affiliate) Race for the Cure Susan G Komen (SouthWest Affiliate) Race for the Cure:

Click Here to Watch News Coverage of the Race, Recorded Live.

Over 9,500 people came out to support the Susan G Komen Foundation in memory of loved ones, and to educate the community on Breast Cancer a disease that affects one in eight people. Over $900,000 dollars was raised to promote awareness and fund Cancer Research towards finding a cure.

Florida Cancer Specialist had a team of over 25 people that participated in the event. Our own Brad Smith in the accounting department took the gold medal; in his age bracket he ran the 3.1 mile course in just over 19 minutes to get the win over 41 other racers in his class.

Brandi Riber also one of our own nurses who is affected by breast cancer proudly showed up after her own chemotherapy treatments to demonstrate how important it is to raise money, and raise awareness. She shared her journey with the local news and is a true testament to what the event is really about. Florida Cancer Specialists is a proud sponsor of Susan G Komen and will continue to raise money for the fight against breast cancer, celebrate breast cancer survivorship, and honor those who have lost their battle with the disease.

Click Here for a Slideshow of the Race Pictures Taken by Us.

March 10, 2010

Interview with Christy Gannon One of Florida Cancer Specialists own patients Christy Gannon a 28 yr old breast cancer patient of Dr. Silvia Romero shares her own experience with Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

NBC interviewed Christy Gannon at her home and then accompanied her to the Colonial Office for one of her follow up visits. Christy is an inspiration to all, and we are thankful that she took part in educating the community on Inflammatory Breast Cancer and what her journey has meant to her. Click here to watch the interview.

March 2, 2010

Naples Community Hospital, Florida Cancer Specialists, and 21st Century Oncology joined in an effort to educate the Naples community and local physician groups on the comprehensive cancer services that are offered in that area. Over 200 guests were assigned an oncology nurse guide that escorted small groups on a tour through the new infusion area of Naples Community Hospital (OPIS) and into the main hospital lobby where they were given an opportunity to view a breakthrough surgical technology called the da Vinci Surgical System. This system enables surgeons to offer a minimally invasive option for complex surgical procedures. Next the tour proceeded to Florida Cancer Specialists Naples West office where they experienced a full tour of the state of the art cancer center that included the lab, infusion center, and complete electronic medical record system. They were greeted by the staff and physicians that answered questions about cancer care.

The final destination was 21st Century Oncology where they were able to see and hear about the latest technology in Radiation Oncology including; RapidArc, Calypso, Trilogy, TomoTherapy, and CyberKnife.

It was a success for everyone involved, the guests were treated to refreshments, goodie bags, pens, and promotional items. A raffle was drawn at each of the locations where a few of the guests were lucky enough to win a Wellness Membership, a night out to Bone Fish Grill, and other small prizes.

February 26, 2010

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

On Friday, February 26th 2010 Dr Waide Weaver of Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute took time out of his busy schedule to attend the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer corporate sponsor luncheon in Tampa.

Guests were invited to learn more about the American Cancer Society's fight against breast cancer and how they can become involved in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event as a corporate sponsor.

Attendees included sponsors from last year's Making Strides event and new prospects from various corporations and healthcare facilities. The keynote speaker, Dr. Weaver delivered a presentation about the "state of breast cancer" including updates on advancements, new treatments, research, and the importance of raising funds for the American Cancer Society to continue fighting cancer. Florida Cancer Specialists is a proud sponsor of the American Cancer Society throughout the West Coast and the communities we serve.

Click Here for a Slideshow of the Luncheon.

February 3, 2010

Interview with Dr. Claudia Mallarino Interview with Dr. Claudia Mallarino, who has recently returned from Haiti:

Click here to see the interview

February 2, 2010

Frank Rodriguez on 'Viva Su Salud' Frank Rodriguez was recently a guest on "Viva Su Salud", a Hispanic program whose mission is to educate the Hispanic community on various health topics. The program airs on Saturday mornings on Telemundo-43. Viva Su Salud’s host, Dr. Mabel Lopez, talked with Dr. Rodriguez in segment one about basic cancer definitions, causes (DNA mutations), and mechanisms of actions. He discussed risk factors for acquiring cancer (family history, viral exposures, repressed immune systems, toxic exposures, etc). He also briefly touched on the myriad types of factors and how they are each treated differently. Preventive factors were discussed (diet, exercise, abstaining from smoking, minimizing alcohol usage, wearing sun block, etc). Finishing up they focused on the most common types of cancer (lung, breast, colon, and skin).

Segments two and three dealt with the common cancer types and their respective presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and preventions. He discussed importance of early intervention and importance of specialized treatment.

Click here to see the interview
Please note that the interview is in Spanish

First Florida Cancer Specialists TV Commercial Dear All-

The Marketing Department is pleased to announce the first-ever television commercial for Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. It is a 30 second commercial entitled "Our Heroes", which we shot last week. In addition to the production of this one commercial, we have now several hours of outstanding video footage and literally hundreds of still photos that will be archived in our photo and video resource libraries. These elements can now be leveraged for other projects - such as print materials, ads, website, and other online marketing.

Featured in this commercial are eight of our actual patients... men & women, old & young, from various ethnic backgrounds... all united in the fight against cancer. I can't tell you how inspiring these patients are - and how grateful they are to the doctors and staff at FCS. They told me over and over how much they loved their doctors... and I got lots of hugs that were ultimately meant for you!

Meeting these eight people and hearing their stories of struggle and hope literally changed my life - and I know that audiences who see our commercial will be affected by their joy and determination.

Please let your staff and patients, your families and friends, and your colleagues know that they can watch our commercial during the Olympics, which begin Friday and continue through Feb. 28. Here are the stations and programs on which the commercial will air... and thank you for all your support and for recommending such outstanding patients to participate in this project.

The commercial will air during the Olympics Opening Ceremony (tomorrow night), during the Today Show the weeks of Feb. 15 and 22, and during the late night wrap-up of the Olympics with Bob Costas for the weeks of Feb. 15 and 22 on the following stations:



The commercial will also air on the following station:

FT. MYERS & NAPLES AREAS - WZVN (Ch. 7) - during Good Morning America and the 7PM news - weeks of Feb. 15 & 22

January 2010

Dr. Mallarino View the Slideshow: Haiti Relief Effort

Florida Cancer Specialists own physician has taken part in a Humanitarian Mission to Haiti.

Dr. Mallarino and her husband Guillermo Villalona, along with several other FCS employees, Tara Alexandar MA, Beth Wittmer RN, Robin Hartke MA, Tashima Aust MA, and Sharon Litschauer ARNP, have all flown to Haiti with the help of one of our own patients Paul Erbele, who has graciously piloted his own plane.

Jennifer Johnson, the office manager at the Lakewood Ranch clinic, has worked diligently to generate supplies for their mission such as; antibiotics, gauze, bandages, casting materials, surgical supplies, and blankets, that allowed our medical professionals to provide 24 hour care to the people in Haiti the last two weekends.

Dr. Mallarino said that she will continue her missions as long as she is needed and wanted to give a big thank you to those who have helped in her efforts. She has received many donations from FCS physicians, staff, RX to GO pharmacy, and local physicians.

She is requesting that if anyone is interested in donating to help her continue her efforts in Haiti, they can contact:

Jennifer Johnson
941 907- 4737
6310 Health Park Way
Suite 200
Bradenton, FL 34202

100% of the donations will be going towards the mission in Haiti. This will help purchase more antibiotics and necessary supplies.