Cancer, Spectrum Health Lakeland

2020 Cancer Care Report Highlights Oncology Milestones

ST. JOSEPH, Mich., Dec. 22, 2020 – Spectrum Health Lakeland recently released the 2020 cancer care report from the Marie Yeager Cancer Center which outlines data collected to create more meaningful improvements for cancer diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and support. In 2019, 1,179 total cancer cases were treated at Lakeland and added to the National Cancer Data Base. Of these patients:

  • Five most common cancer sites in order of prevalence: lung, breast, prostate, colorectal, and melanoma
  • Gender distribution: 55.8% female and 44.19% male
  • Age distribution: 68.2% age 60 years and older, 29.35% between the ages of 30 and 59, and 2.37% age 29 years or younger

The report also highlights the addition of a high risk cancer program established to care for community members with increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. Located within the Center for Outpatient Services in St. Joseph, the program works closely with patients to help them understand genetic risks and diagnose cancer at an earlier stage. Services support patients at high risk for breast cancer with a plan to expand to other types of cancer in the future.

As part of the high risk cancer program, Lakeland welcomed oncology genetic counselor Samantha Witt Crosby. Witt Crosby’s role includes meeting with individuals affected by cancer or who have a family history of cancer that may indicate higher risk of developing the disease. She discusses a patient’s personal health, family health, and any clues about an inherited risk for cancer.

Lakeland also implemented a biosimilar program to help ease the financial burden and lower out-of-pocket costs for patients undergoing infusion treatment. A biosimilar is an infusion drug with similar molecular structure to the original “reference” drug. While there are no clinical differences, biosimilars are significantly lower in cost. Since the program began in the fall of 2019, it is estimated that biosimilars have resulted in $800,000 in cost savings for patients.

“Spectrum Health Lakeland has always been committed to staying at the forefront of cancer care, and this year has been an exciting time for advancement,” said Barbara Schmidtman, PhD, director oncology services, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “In the field of oncology, things are always changing, but we look forward to what that means for our patients as we work to improve care and save lives.”

For more information or to read the full report, visit  


Spectrum Health System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan with more than 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $550 million in community benefit in calendar year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $37 million in philanthropy to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.

Jessica Springer
PR Specialist
Phone: (269) 927-5271