Cancer Center Spans 30 Years

In the mid-1980s, the medical staff treating cancer patients at Intercommunity Hospital believed it was time to bring radiation therapy to Fairfield. They presented the idea to hospital CEO Gary Passama and he agreed. It was the first step in bringing advanced medicine close to home.

Local physicians, led by surgeon Robert Parker, M.D., approached Napa oncologist Florian Ploch, M.D., for help creating the new service. When the Gateway Medical Plaza was built in 1986, it was designed to house radiation oncology on the first floor, complete with the latest linear accelerator. The NorthBay Cancer Center opened in 1987 and Dr. Ploch became the medical director of radiation oncology, a position he has held for 29 years.

“When the cancer center opened, it was strictly radiation oncology,” Dr. Ploch remembered. “Medical oncology, including chemotherapy, was only provided to hospitalized patients. It was toxic medicine and the patients were very sick.”

Medical oncology and a clinical trials program were added to the center in 1993, making chemotherapy available on an outpatient basis.

In 1996, the center became the first civilian facility in Solano County to earn accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.

The medical oncology department now includes James Long, M.D., Brian Vikstrom, M.D., and Jonathan Lopez, M.D., all board-certified internists/oncologists/hematologists, and oncoplastic surgeon Jason Marengo, M.D.

Cancer Warning Signs

If you experience any one of the following symptoms consult with your doctor.

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • A sore that doesn’t heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Lumps or thickened areas in the breast, testicle, or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Change in size, color, shape or thickness of a wart, mole or mouth sore
  • Cough or hoarseness that doesn’t go away

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