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  


People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our long and continuing legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Our award-winning team improves health, inspires hope and saves lives across 13 counties in West Michigan. We bring together 11 hospitals—including Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, with expert care from 350+ pediatric specialists in 70+ specialties and programs—three rehabilitation and nursing centers, 120 outpatient sites and telehealth services. We are proud to work with 4,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, including Spectrum Health Medical Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive multispecialty physician groups in West Michigan.

Katie Romero
Communications Specialist
Office: 269.927.5271
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