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Singing River Health System: Where Wellness Sings Loudest

Singing River Health System
Singing River Health System

Overcoming cancer can pose significant challenges, Often, the situation is worsened by inadequate or incorrect medical care. This underscores the importance of effective healthcare systems that can develop powerful approaches and remedies for addressing the disease. To achieve optimal outcomes, it is crucial to ensure a seamless process from diagnosis to treatment.

One healthcare system that is outshining in cancer care is the Singing River Health System. A community-driven, not-for-profit provider of health services, it stands as one of the largest employers on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and surrounding areas with three hospital locations in Gulfport, Ocean Springs, and Pascagoula. The system’s extensive network includes 300 top-tier physicians and over 3,500 committed employees, all dedicated to delivering the highest level of quality care in the region.

Singing River offers a wide range of medical services, including inpatient and outpatient care, emergency services, and surgical procedures, and actively contributes to the community through impactful outreach programs and educational initiatives.

At the forefront of oncology along the Mississippi Gulf Coast is Dr. Michael Finan, the only Gynecologic Oncologist in the region. As the Medical Director of Singing River Cancer Center and Chief of Women’s Health, Dr. Finan plays a pivotal role in the advancement of cancer care.

Insights Care had the privilege to interact with Dr. Finan, delving deeper into his journey with Singing River Health System and the profound impact they are making in the field of cancer care.

Embark on an inspiring journey of reigniting hope in cancer treatment:

Contributing to Cancer Care

Singing River Cancer Center operates three strategically positioned facilities in Gulfport, Ocean Springs, and Pascagoula, Mississippi, extending its services to cancer patients. Affiliated with Singing River Health System, the center harnesses state-of-the-art medical and surgical technologies. It employs a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to address diverse cancer forms, encompassing initial diagnostics and testing through comprehensive treatment.

In reference to the center’s holistic approach, Dr. Finan underlines, “At Singing River Cancer Center, we provide comprehensive solutions for cancer patients, ranging from diagnosis to treatment, supportive care, and research initiatives.”

The ultimate objective of the center is to not only improve the quality of life for cancer patients but also to advance the boundaries of our understanding of this intricate ailment.

Foundations of Excellence

Establishing an organization might be a straightforward task but it demands a bedrock of robust core principles to ensure it is enduring. With a deep sense of pride, Dr. Finan is pleased to articulate the organization’s fundamental values. He asserts, “At Singing River Health System, our mission’s fundamental foundation lies within our pride, passion, and commitment to improving health and saving lives in our community every day.”

At Singing River Health System, the employees hold a sacred trust to deliver the highest quality and most compassionate care to the community. Every team member embodies the spirit behind each of the five core values:

  • Our patients are our guests – To always put patient care and safety top of mind while serving every patient with an exceptional level of compassion, empathy, and attention that exceeds all expectations.
  • Quality is in our DNA – To always ensure our work is the highest quality, adhering to clinical and business best practices to protect our patients (our guests), our organization, and my personal reputation as an effective team member. We understand that accuracy, safety, privacy, consistency, punctuality, cleanliness, and dependability are our shared responsibilities.
  • Caring communication is key – To always devote ourselves to demonstrate that we care. Our speech, body language, tone of voice, and professional appearance will demonstrate our commitment to caring and understanding.
  • Serve with heart and soul – To always demonstrate the highest standards for customer service in my work with patients, guests, and fellow team members.
  • Yes, is the answer – To always seek ways to “get to YES” when caring for others. To always find options that are in the patient’s best interest.
  • Teamwork always wins – To always work as part of a TEAM with the mindset of WINNER to deliver our best with creativity. This core value takes all of us working together to deliver the best care and contribute the best work and best ideas every day.

Revolutionizing Cancer Care on the Gulf Coast

Dr. Finan is a respected and accomplished healthcare leader who has made significant contributions to the field of oncology. He has over 36 years of experience in the medical f ield and has extensive experience in oncology. He is passionate about medical fitness and has given powerful testimony about the importance of this aspect of healthcare.

Dr. Finan is the only Gynecologic Oncologist on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, specializing in the diagnosis, care, and treatment of women with cancers of the reproductive system. Through his passion, he is dedicated to treating all areas related to gynecological cancers by using the least invasive and most effective treatments available.

Before becoming an integral part of Singing River, Finan served as the Cancer Center Director at the University of South Alabama (USA) Mitchell Institute from 2014 to 2018. Following his retirement from the University of South Alabama at the age of 60, Singing River’s leadership team recognized the pressing need for Gynecology Care in the Gulf Coast community and steered him away from retirement by enticing him to join the Singing River family.

Prior to Dr. Finan joining Singing River, patients with gynecologic cancer in the Gulf Coast region had only two options for treatment: New Orleans or Mobile. Dr. Finan was captivated by the Singing River culture and community and was ready to fill the void of gynecological oncology care along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Dr. Finan joined the Singing River Health System team in April 2020, taking on the roles of Medical Director of Singing River Cancer Center and Singing River’s Chief of Women’s Health. He is an excellent resource for our community and sees many patients diagnosed with cancers of the female reproductive system. Dr. Finan’s expertise has earned him recognition as one of the top Gynecologist Oncologists in the U.S. News and World Report for several consecutive years.

Innovative and Personalized Cancer Treatments

Cancer is a complex disease that requires a range of treatments depending on the type and stage of cancer.

Cancer treatment plans are highly individualized and may involve a combination of these treatments or other therapies. The choice of treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health and preferences.

“Cancer treatments are ever-changing, and at Singing River Cancer Center, we are on the cutting edge of these treatments,” states Dr. Finan proudly.

In addition to employing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, they utilize advanced techniques such as immunotherapy and oral chemotherapy, targeting cancer at the cellular level.

The transformative evolution of Singing River Cancer Center’s treatment approach involves the integration of next-generation sequencing (NGS) as a form of targeted therapy. This personalized cancer care approach empowers clinicians to explore the intricate molecular landscape of a patient’s cancer. Through NGS, specific genetic alterations are identified, providing an understanding of the unique characteristics of the tumor. Armed with this knowledge, the targeted therapies, often administered orally, can be precisely tailored to disrupt the specific molecular pathways that fuel the cancer’s growth. This personalized approach not only enhances treatment efficiency but also minimizes potential side effects by selectively targeting cancer cells while preserving healthy tissues. This new form of technology signifies a new era in cancer care, offering patients a more precise and tailored approach to improved outcomes and an enhanced quality of life.

Singing River Cancer Center offers comprehensive care for various types of cancer. This includes anal, bladder, bone, brain, breast, cervical, colon, esophageal, head and neck, kidney/renal, laryngeal, leukemia, liver, lung, lymphoma, melanoma, multiple myeloma, oral, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, rectal, sickle cell, stomach, testicular, thyroid, uterine, and more.

For patients with small, localized tumors, the center provides minimally invasive and highly effective stereotactic body radiation therapy. This precise form of radiation therapy targets tumors in areas like the lungs, spine, liver, neck, lymph nodes, prostate, and soft tissues using carefully directed energy beams.

Another advanced treatment in our arsenal is HDR Brachytherapy, a safe and effective option for certain tumors. This technique delivers a very high dose of radiation directly inside the tumor, avoiding unnecessary exposure to healthy surrounding tissues. This highly localized approach leads to fewer side effects and improved treatment outcomes.

Empowering Patient Care Through Technological Innovation

The adoption of these technological innovations plays a pivotal role in enhancing patient care, elevating diagnostic capabilities, optimizing operational efficiencies, and ultimately reducing healthcare expenditures. Singing River Health System employs various avenues to harness the potential of technology for the advancement of innovative medical devices.

Regarding the institution’s commitment to technological progress, Dr. Finan underscores, “We are staying abreast of technological advancements by collaborating with manufacturers and innovators to leverage these tools effectively for the benefit of our patients.”

Additionally, Singing River Cancer Center proudly holds membership in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System Cancer Community Network. This extensive network encompasses community cancer centers spanning Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Its primary focus lies in fostering collaboration between UAB and community-based healthcare providers. This collaboration aims to drive exceptional patient outcomes, bolster accessibility to early cancer detection and treatment, and optimize patient satisfaction at the local level.

Keys to Success

Dr. Finan offers valuable insights for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry. He shares, “The advice I would give to medical enthusiasts who aspire to engage in the healthcare sector is to commit to lifelong learning by keeping up with the latest research, treatments, and technology. Also, cultivate empathy and compassion for patients and families. This will tremendously impact the outcomes for your patients.”

Commitment to Advancing Cancer Care

Dr. Finan emphasizes that the primary focus at Singing River Cancer Center is always on their patients. “We are committed to innovation and focus on delivering high quality, patient-centered care to individuals affected by cancer,” he highlights.

The center holds a relentless dedication to innovation and places a strong emphasis on providing patient-centered care of the highest quality to those grappling with cancer. With the ongoing advancement of technology and medical expertise, the overarching objective is to forge ahead in areas such as cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. This comes hand in hand with a continual commitment to enhancing the overall experience for every patient in their care.

Eight Years of Excellence

Singing River Cancer Center has been accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer for eight consecutive years. The Commission on Cancer recognizes cancer care programs for their commitment to providing comprehensive, high-quality, and multidisciplinary patient-centered care.

Patient’s Story: Resilience Redefined

Annie Sanders is 36 years old and embraces life’s challenges with strength and determination. Known for her active involvement in many local organizations and her dedication to making an impact in her career and community, Annie’s journey took an unforeseen turn not long ago.

It began in 2020 when Annie was diagnosed with Endometriosis, leading to a partial hysterectomy to stop the chronic pain and excessive bleeding.

Unfortunately, the pain resurfaced in April of 2022, with the discovery of ovarian cysts. Following the removal of her right ovary, she received more troubling news in an unexpected pathology report. Her doctor at the time approached her with the most gut-wrenching news of her life: “You have Ovarian cancer.”

This was unfathomable to Annie, and she immediately wondered how she would tell her daughter. She began seeking answers and information to give her hope for the future.

During her search for a specialist, she heard rave reviews about Dr. Michael Finan, a well-established Gynecological Oncologist on the Coast, from her peers and friends prior to the first appointment. Their first meeting filled Annie with renewed hope as Dr. Finan showcased not only his expertise but genuine care and kindness. His extensive knowledge, combined with his thoughtful approach, offered Annie the reassurance she needed for her treatment plan.

His plan included 6 rounds of chemotherapy administered once every three weeks. The emotional side effects were accompanied by many physical side effects that included bruised nails, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, nose bleeds, and more. However, the emotional side effects were more lasting.

Following her chemo treatment, Annie experienced a whirlwind of emotions. On one hand, there was a profound sense of gratitude and optimism for successfully completing the treatment. It marked a significant milestone in Annie’s cancer journey, a testament to her strength and resilience. At the same time, she acknowledged the toll that chemotherapy had taken on her body. She knew it was crucial to give herself time to recover—both physically and emotionally.

Today, Annie carries herself through life with renewed purpose, cherishing every moment while deepening her relationships. Exhibiting her capacity for endurance and growth, she listens to her body, practices self-compassion, and recognizes the importance of rest during her healing process.

Annie is forever grateful for the exceptional level of care she received from the Singing River Cancer team and the personalized approach by Dr. Finan. She proudly expressed, “Dr. Finan’s comprehensive knowledge and experience in the oncology field, coupled with his ability to tailor treatment plans to each patient’s unique needs, sets him apart from other providers. His compassionate and empathetic nature truly distinguishes him as a healthcare provider. He doesn’t have to go above and beyond to establish a strong relationship with his patients; it just comes to him naturally and it shows.”



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