Cancer's We Treat

Cancer can occur in many forms and throughout different parts of the body. Some cancers are more common while others can be rare. Diagnosis based on symptoms and other factors varies depending on the type of cancer. Southeast Cancer Center offers the latest in cancer diagnosis techniques and treatments.

Cancerous Blood Disorders

Malignant disorders of the blood including acute and chronic leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, aplastic anemia and multiple myeloma are serious conditions which require the specialized care of hematologists. Southeast Cancer Center is home to physicians dedicated to cancerous and non-cancerous hematological care.


Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow – the soft tissue in the center of the bones, where blood cells are produced. Leukemia leads to an uncontrolled increase in the number of white blood cells. Cancerous cells prevent healthy red cells, platelets and mature white cells (leukocytes) from being made. Leukemia can be acute, progressing quickly; or chronic, progressing more slowly.

Different Types of Leukemia:

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Hairy cell leukemia

Leukemia Symptoms:

  • Bone and joint pain
  • Easy bruising and bleeding (such as bleeding gums, skin bleeding, nosebleeds, abnormal periods)
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Paleness
  • Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs from a swollen spleen
  • Swollen glands in the neck, under arms and groin
  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath (gets worse with exercise)
  • Skin rash or lesion

Leukemia Diagnosis:

  • Blood tests and CBC (complete blood count)
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Platelet count
Leukemia Treatment:
  • Chemotherapy
  • Oral medications
  • Bone marrow transplant (allogeneic)
  • Clinical trials

Kidney Cancer

The most common type of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell carcinoma, which starts in the lining of very small tubes (tubules) in the kidney. It occurs most often in men ages 50-70. Risk factors include dialysis treatment, family history of the disease, high blood pressure, horseshoe kidney, polycystic kidney disease and smoking.

Kidney Cancer Symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Swelling of the veins around a testicle
  • Flank pain
  • Weight loss

Kidney Cancer Diagnosis:

  • CT or MRI scans
  • Blood tests
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • Liver function tests
  • Renal arteriography
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen and kidney

Kidney Cancer Treatment:

  • Surgery and hormone treatments are the most common approaches to kidney cancer.


Head and Neck Cancers (Oral, Tongue and Nasal)

Head and neck cancers are those that begin in the squamous cells that line the mouth, nose and throat. Smoking and other tobacco use, and heavy alcohol use are among risk factors.


  • Sore, lump or ulcer in the mouth
  • Chewing problems
  • Pain with swallowing
  • Speech difficulties
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Tongue problems
  • Weight loss


  • Tissue biopsy
  • X-ray or CT scan


  • Surgery to remove the tumor, if operable
  • Chemotherapy and radiation may accompany surgery for large tumors or if the cancer has spread

Breast Cancer

One in eight women will experience breast cancer in her lifetime, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. We provide women with comprehensive, seamless care and specialized attention throughout all phases of breast health: prevention and early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship care.

The Southeast Cancer Center is an American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.

Breast Health Navigator

Rachel Craig, RN, OCN guides patients from the time a breast cancer diagnosis is confirmed, through treatment and into survivorship care. Rachael is available in Cape Girardeau and serves a constant presence for the patient and family throughout the cancer care journey.

The health navigator:

  • Answers questions
  • Provides education to help patients understand their diagnosis and make treatment decisions
  • Facilitates appointments
  • Keeps patients informed of all the resources and support services available to them

Contact Rachel Craig in Cape Girardeau at 573-519-4751 for more information.

Breast Cancer Symptoms:

  • Breast cancer can progress for years before a lump is felt, or other symptoms occur. That’s why annual mammography screening is vitally important for women age 40 and over, as well as regular clinical breast exams. Women may also opt to do self-breast exams. The following symptoms may indicate breast cancer:
  • A lump in the breast or armpit that is hard, has uneven edges
  • Change in the size, shape, or feel of the breast or nipple -- redness, dimpling, or puckering
  • Fluid coming from the nipple
  • Although rare, men can also get breast cancer. Symptoms include a breast lump and breast area pain.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis:

Southeast Breast Care & Diagnostic Center The Southeast Breast Care & Diagnostic Center is designed to meet all the healthcare needs of women in one convenient location.

The BCDC is an American College of Radiology Accredited Ultrasound Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in Cape Girardeau. If an abnormality is found, immediate consultation is provided, and definitive diagnosis can often be made with minimally invasive biopsy, often during the same visit.

#60 Doctors' Park
Cape Girardeau, MO 63703
Phone: 573-334-6464
Fax: 573-986-6693
Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Mammogram Mondays
BCDC stays open until 6:00 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month
Digital Mammography (Tomosynthesis)
Monday - Friday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Colorectal Cancer (Colon Cancer and Rectal Cancer)

Nationwide, approximately 144,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year, making colorectal cancer the third leading type of cancer for both men and women. Thanks to the latest screening technology – including colonoscopy – colorectal cancer is also one of the most preventable and treatable cancers.

You are at higher risk of colorectal cancer if you:

  • Are age 60 or older
  • Eat a lot of red or processed meats
  • Have a history of colorectal polyps
  • Have a history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Have a family history of colon cancer or a personal history of breast cancer.

The goal of regular colonoscopy screenings – recommended for people age 50 and older – is to prevent colorectal cancer from ever happening. Most cancer cases develop from slow-growing precancerous polyps. Because the incidence of colorectal cancer peaks at age 60, the best time to start getting regular colonoscopies is 10 years earlier to help prevent cancer from developing in the first place. Through colonoscopy, these polyps can be found and removed before they become cancerous. If cancer does develop, colonoscopy can help detect the disease at the earliest stage possible.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms:

Colorectal cancer is most successfully treated before symptoms appear. Getting colonoscopy screenings as recommended after age 50 is the best way to ensure colorectal cancer is caught in its earliest stages, or before precancerous polyps develop into cancer. In addition, talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or other change in bowel habits
  • Narrow stools
  • Weight loss with no known reason

Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis:

Colonoscopy is the most important screening and diagnostic tool for colorectal cancer. During colonoscopy, gastroenterologists can see and remove precancerous polyps, look for suspicious lesions, and obtain a biopsy if needed – all in one procedure. Patients who qualify for colonoscopy screening can call to make an appointment with a local physician.

Other screening tools include CT colonography, barium enema, flexible sigmoidoscopy or fecal occult blood tests.

Endoscopy ultrasound (EUS) combines endoscopy and ultrasonography to aid in diagnosing and staging colorectal cancer


Colorectal Cancer Treatment:


The first line of treatment for colorectal cancer is most often colon resection – surgical removal of all or part of the colon. Often, procedures can be done using minimally-invasive techniques, including laparoscopy, and single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS). Compared to a traditional open procedure, laparoscopic techniques result in less pain, a shorter hospital stay and shorter recovery time for the patient.

When removal of the entire large intestine is required, a J pouch procedure offers patients more control

Combined endoscopic laparoscopic surgery (CELS) is a minimally-invasive option that combines laparoscopy and colonoscopy techniques to remove polyps or early-stage tumors

Gastrointestinal endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is an advanced endoscopic procedure to remove early-stage cancer or other abnormal tissues from the digestive tract

Beyond surgery, if needed, patients with colorectal cancer may also receive:

  • Chemotherapy to prevent recurrence if cancer has spread, or to palliate cancer symptoms in late-stage cancer
  • Radiation therapy may be offered pre-operatively to shrink a tumor to make surgery more successful, or post-operatively to prevent spread of the disease
  • Radiation plus chemotherapy may offer a curative option if the tumor is located so that surgery is difficult or impossible
  • Genetic testing to check for hereditary links which may affect other members of the family
  • Clinical trials


Lung Cancer

Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer deaths, and the second most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men and women, behind prostate and breast cancer. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, however, some people who have never smoked develop lung cancer. Unfortunately, lung cancer is most often diagnosed in its later stages. For the best outcomes, it’s important that lung cancer be diagnosed and treated early on in the disease process. Southeast Cancer Center’s comprehensive lung program focuses on a patient-centered approach to deliver the highest quality of care through a coordinated plan.

Smoking Cessation Assistance
You can greatly reduce your risk of developing lung cancer by quitting smoking. Smoking cessation programs are available at SoutheastHEALTH. Ask your physician, or call 1-800-800-5123 to learn more.

Lung Cancer Symptoms:

  • Early lung cancer may not cause any symptoms. Symptoms of lung cancer may include:
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

Lung Cancer Diagnosis:

Early detection is key to surviving lung cancer, and research shows that current and former heavy smokers who have been screened with low-dose CT scans have reduced their risk of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent.

Lung Cancer Treatment:

Because lung cancer is a complex disease, Southeast’s multidisciplinary team approach helps cancer experts recommend the best possible treatment plan for each individual. A weekly Multidisciplinary Conference is held to review lung disease and lung cancer cases. Lung cancer patients in Cape Girardeau receive the services of a Lung Navigator who provides one-on-one education and support.

Depending on the stage and type of lung cancer, Southeast Cancer Centers state-of-the-art treatments include:

  • Clinical trials, which give patients access to cutting-edge treatment.
  • Genetic testing to determine if a patient would benefit from specific cancer-fighting drugs.
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy, also known as radiosurgery, which can improve survival for patients with early-stage, inoperable lung cancer. This therapy delivers a high dose of concentrated and precisely focused radiation to the tumor in three to five treatments.
  • Endobronchial high-dose rate brachytherapy may be recommended when a lung tumor is located near the bronchial tubes, and delivers radiation directly to the tumor site.
  • Pain management and palliative medicine teams can help keep the patient as comfortable as possible.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men, with more than 240,000 cases diagnosed each year. In fact, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime during their lifetime. If detected early, prostate cancer can be stopped in its tracks by surgery or other treatments, yet many men let years go by without getting recommended screenings.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer:

Prostate cancer is most successfully treated when detected early, before the appearance of symptoms. Doctors recommend a combination of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and digital rectal exam.

Symptoms at a later stage may include:

  • Urinary difficulties, including a slow stream or being unable to completely empty your bladder
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Bone pain or tenderness, most often in the lower back and pelvic bones

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis:

A prostate biopsy may be recommended if you have elevated PSA levels, or if your doctor feels an enlarged prostate or a hard uneven surface. A prostate biopsy, or a small sample of prostate cells, can be obtained through the rectum. This procedure can often be performed at a clinic or on an outpatient basis.

Treatment for Prostate Cancer:

Treatment depends on the individual, age and aggressiveness of the cancer. Some patients may only require active surveillance, or watching and waiting. Other treatments:

  • Prostatectomy - Surgical removal of the prostate gland. If cancer is caught in the early stages, this procedure can be done minimally invasively through robotics, meaning that patients have a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. The precision of robotics technology helps surgeons spare nerves which control continence and sexual function.
  • External Beam Radiation - Including Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) with fiducial marker placement, and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT).
  • PROVENGE® - PROVENGE is a new vaccine for the treatment of certain men with advanced prostate cancer. PROVENGE is immunotherapy, which is personalized with an individual’s own immune cells that have been activated to identify and attack prostate cancer cells. It is the first in a new class of cancer therapies.
  • Cryotherapy - Cryotherapy involves the freezing of prostate tissue.
  • Hormone Therapy - Hormone therapy may be used for recurrence after treatment.