We're here for you
Cancer touches the lives of millions of people each year. If you’re among them, it can be a frightening and confusing time as you and your loved ones face the unknown. But you don’t have to face it alone. Our faithful cancer care team will walk by your side to help soothe your physical ailments and lighten your emotional burdens.
Offering treatment delivery and advanced radiation oncology equipment, Tri-County Health Care is committed to providing you the latest technology for early detection, as well as a comfortable, local option for treatment.
In partnership with Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, Wade Swenson, M.D., and Alyssa Manning, FNP, visit every other Tuesday. Dr. Swenson accepts referrals from other oncologists or providers and follows evidence-based guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network so that you can be confident you're getting the best care.
Your in-house team of nurses is readily available, and they have quick access to Dr. Swenson via phone call. They understand how tough this journey is, and they find fulfillment in helping you through it.
Click to find out more about our dedicated providers below:
Stephanie Sellin shares a very moving and personal story about her cancer journey and the exceptional care she received at Tri-County. With chemo treatment behind her, she can see the end in sight and she's looking forward to summer, camping and fishing and floating the river.
Providing a warm, comfortable and convenient option for patients, care can be seamlessly coordinated with your oncologist and a local Tri-County physician. Patients are generally encouraged to receive their first chemotherapy treatment at their oncologist's facility. If no problems develop, they can coordinate further treatments at Tri-County.Other services:
- Port placement
- Fluid hydration
- Oral chemotherapy navigation
EducationCancer care patients will be treated to one hour devoted exclusively to education so that they are prepared for what's to come:
- Explanation of each drug regime by oncology pharmacist
- How treatment affects nutrition and appetite by Nutrition Services
- Conversation about financial hardships or other needs with Social Services
- Nursing education to explain the disease and answer additional questions
- A free educational book for you to keep
Privacy, peace and personal touch
Private rooms give you a relaxed atmosphere in which to receive treatment, with space for loved ones who wish to keep you company. You can have peace of mind by knowing you have immediate access to your nurses while receiving treatment.
Feeling insecure about your looks can add another heavy layer to an already disheartening situation. We want to take those worries away. Free wigs and fittings are provided to those who need them. We’ll also talk with you about skin care recommendations and soothing lotions that could bring you some relief.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exams are a non-invasive diagnostic imaging exam of soft tissue, bone, and muscle that have become one of the fastest growing types of medical diagnostic tests in the United States. Tri-County's installation of its own leading-edge MRI System, now allows patients to experience faster, more comfortable exams right here in Wadena. Providing one of the most modern diagnostic technology systems available today, Tri-County is the only health care system to provide this particular MRI system within a 45 mile radius. An integral part of Tri-County Health Care's Advanced Imaging Suite, this technology provides tremendous patient benefits including:
- More Personalized Exams—Patients can receive exams tailored to their specific body type and needs while maximizing comfort.
- Greater Diagnostic Confidence—This leading edge technology provides greater diagnostic confidence with high-quality images like never before and a range of clinical applications that can help you to respond to treatment earlier than ever before.
- Faster Speed & Enhanced Comfort—With a wider 70cm open bore design, our MRI reduces the closed-in feeling of traditional MRIs. The short magnet also allows for many exams to be performed with your patient’s head outside of the system helping to alleviate concerns of claustrophobia
- Aesthetic Comfort—Our beautiful ceiling scape and personal music capabilities allow patients to rest in comfort during their exam, helping to reduce anxiety.
Tri-County's MRI system uses NO RADIATION to capture images, but rather magnets to acquire superb image quality that may be used for a wide range of medical needs — from orthopedic and sports-related injuries to breast cancer testing — and can help physicians make quicker, more accurate diagnoses. The system can provide access for patients up to 550 pounds.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scans
Furthering a commitment to provide you with the very best health care right here at home, Tri-County Health Care owns its own in-house 128-Slice CT Scan. This scanner utilizes leading edge technology for radiological diagnosis, scanning the whole body in seconds to provide incredibly sharp 3-D images of any organ or part of the body.
From a patient perspective, this technology helps to diagnose conditions faster, and more accurately, sometimes before patients even notice any symptoms. It is adaptable to virtually any patient, young or old, and of any size, while minimizing radiation exposure.Benefits
- Noninvasive and accurate
- Provides detailed images of many types of tissue
- Fast and simple tool for a wide range of clinical problems
- Less sensitive to movement than an MRI
- May eliminate need for exploratory surgery
- No radiation remains in the body after exam
- No immediate side effects
As an ACR-accredited Lung Cancer Screening Center, TCHC offers its patients a computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer. The test uses low doses of radiation and a CT scan to capture detailed picture of the lungs.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual screening for those at high risk for lung cancer. The Task Force identifies high-risk patients as those who:
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., with approximately 160,000 people dying from it each year. The most common type of lung cancer – non-small cell – can sometimes be cured if it is found early enough. Evidence suggests that screening detects approximately one half of lung cancer cases at an early stage at which treatment is an option.
For more information or if you think you meet the criteria for lung cancer screening, make an appointment with your provider to discuss your options.
Medicare covers this annual screening for those who fit the criteria.
Digital breast tomosynthesis (tomo), also known as 3-D mammography, is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool to improve the early detection of breast cancer. During the 3-D part of the exam, an X-ray arm sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in seconds. Images are displayed as a series of thin slices that can be viewed by our radiologists as individual images or in a dynamic interactive animation. 3-D mammography is often used in combination with 2-D digital mammography.
Benefits of 3-D Mammography
Two of the top benefits of 3-D mammography are improving the early detection of breast cancer and providing peace of mind due to greater clarity and accuracy. This increased accuracy reduces the number of call-backs, sparing women the anxiety, inconvenience and expense of coming back for further imaging.
How is 3-D mammography different than 2-D?
Traditional digital mammography takes two-dimensional pictures of the breast and is still an effective tool for detecting breast abnormalities. Rather than viewing the breast tissue in 2-D images, with 3-D images our radiologists can now examine the tissue one thin layer at a time, making fine details are more visible and less likely to be hidden by overlapping tissue.
Do I need a referral for a 3-D mammogram?
Patients 40 or older do not need a written referral from their health care provider for a routine annual mammogram. Patients younger than 40 will need a written referral. This technology has become our new standard of care and is available to all patients for screening and diagnostic mammograms.
Is there increased radiation with 3-D mammography?
3-D mammography is quite safe. Radiation exposure to the breast is very low. In fact, the radiation dose for a combined 2-D/3-D mammography exam is well below the acceptable limits defined by the FDA, and is only a fraction of the level of radiation you receive from natural sources. What can patients expect during a 3-D mammogram?
What can patients expect during a 3-D mammogram?
3-D mammography complements standard 2-D mammography. No additional breast compression is required and it only takes a few more seconds. The experience will be very similar to mammograms patients have had in the past. As is typical with any mammogram exam, some women experience minor discomfort and others experience no discomfort at all.
With 3-D mammography, do I still need an annual screening?
Yes. All women are at risk for breast cancer, regardless of symptoms or family history.Mammograms often can detect potential problems before they can be felt. Early detection greatly increases treatment options and the likelihood of successful recovery. Although 2-D/3-D combination exams have been proven to detect more cancers, it is still recommended that all women 40 or older receive a routine screening mammogram every year.
Is 3-D mammography safe for women with breast implants?
Yes. Mammography, both 2-D and 3-D, is safe for women with breast implants. Most breast implants are designed to withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure. A mammogram generates an average of 20 lbs. of pressure.
Minimally Invasive Breast Biopsies
A minimally invasive breast biopsy (or Stereotactic Breast Biopsy) is a procedure that uses mammography to precisely identify and biopsy an abnormality within the breast. It is normally done when the radiologist sees a suspicious abnormality on your mammogram that can’t be felt in a physical exam. This procedure will help determine whether or not you have breast cancer or any other concerning abnormalities in your breast.
Utilizing 3-D Mammography as a guide, stereotactic breast biopsies use mammographic images to locate and target the area of concern and to help guide the biopsy needle to a precise location. This technique helps ensure that the area that is biopsied is the exact area where the abnormality was seen on the mammogram. After the sample is collected it is sent to a lab for testing
Why is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Performed?
A breast biopsy is typically done to investigate irregularities (such as a lump) in the breast. A breast lump may be frightening. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, breast lumps are often benign (non-cancerous). A breast biopsy is typically done if your doctor becomes concerned following a mammogram or breast ultrasound. Your doctor may also order these tests if a lump was discovered during a physical exam.
Benefits of a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
Quite simply, a stereotactic breast biopsy is less invasive than a surgical biopsy, requires less recovery time, and causes minimal scaring.
Are There Risks with a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?
If you are pregnant or concerned you may be pregnant, radiation from the X-rays may be harmful to your unborn child. Be sure to tell your doctor so alternative biopsy methods can be considered. Complications from a biopsy are rare. The risks associated with the procedure are outweighed by the benefits of having potentially cancerous calcifications inspected. Remember, the quicker breast cancer is detected, the faster your treatment can begin.
How to Prepare for a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
Before your breast biopsy, tell your doctor about any allergies you have, especially any history of allergic reactions to anesthesia. Also be sure to mention any medications you may be taking, including over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin or supplements.You’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown. You should avoid using moisturizer on your breast and remove all jewelry and any body piercings before the biopsy.
After a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
You will be able to go home after your stereotactic breast biopsy. The samples of your tissue will be sent to lab. You will be given instructions on how to care for the biopsy site at home. This includes keeping it clean and changing the bandages to prevent infection. You should contact your doctor if you develop a fever over 100°F or experience redness, warmth, or discharge from the site. These are all signs of infection.
A colonoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of your large intestine (colon) for abnormalities by inserting a thin flexible tube, as thick as your finger, into your anus and slowly advancing it into the rectum and colon. This instrument, called a colonoscope, has its own lens and light source and it allows your doctor to view images on a video monitor.
Why is a colonoscopy recommended?
A colonoscopy may be recommended as a screening test for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It has been estimated that increased awareness and screening would save at least 30,000 lives each year, and a new recommendation by the American Cancer Society has lowered the age for people to start colon cancer screening at 45, not 50. Read the full article here. A colonoscopy may also be recommended by your doctor to evaluate for symptoms such as bleeding and chronic diarrhea.
What preparations are required?
Your doctor will tell you what dietary restrictions to follow and what cleansing routine to use. The colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and comprehensive, so be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
What are polyps and why are they removed?
Polyps are abnormal growths in the colon lining that are usually benign (noncancerous). They vary in size from a tiny dot to several inches. Your doctor can’t always tell a benign polyp from a malignant (cancerous) polyp by its outer appearance, so he or she will usually remove polyps for analysis. Because cancer begins in polyps, removing them is an important means of preventing colorectal cancer.
What happens after a colonoscopy?
You will be monitored until most of the effects of the sedatives have worn off. You might have some cramping or bloating because of the air introduced into the colon during the examination. This should disappear quickly when you pass gas. Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you’ll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed. If you have been given sedatives during the procedure, someone must drive you home and stay with you.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is well-tolerated and rarely causes pain. You might feel pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure. Typically, your doctor will give you a sedative or painkiller to help you relax and better tolerate any discomfort. You will lie on your side or back while your doctor slowly advances a colonoscope along your large intestine to examine the lining. Your doctor will examine the lining again as he or she slowly withdraws the colonoscope. The procedure itself usually takes less than 45 minutes, although you should plan on two to three hours for waiting, preparation and recovery. In some cases, the doctor cannot pass the colonoscope through the entire colon to where it meets the small intestine. Your doctor will advise you whether any additional testing is necessary.
What if the colonoscopy shows something abnormal?
If your doctor thinks an area needs further evaluation, he or she might pass an instrument through the colonoscope to obtain a biopsy (a small sample of the colon lining) to be analyzed. Biopsies are used to identify many conditions, and your doctor will often take a biopsy even if he or she doesn’t suspect cancer. If a colonoscopy is being performed to identify sites of bleeding, your doctor might control the bleeding through the colonoscope by injecting medications by cauterization (sealing off bleeding vessels with heat treatment) or by use of small clips. Your doctor might also find polyps during colonoscopy, and he or she will most likely remove them during the examination. These procedures don’t usually cause any pain.
Colonoscopies are typically the go-to screening test for colorectal cancer. However, there is a minimally invasive alternative. Cologuard is a stool-based DNA test that you can complete in the privacy of your own home. It works by detecting blood or protein in your stool that may indicate cancer. The kit is mailed directly to your home, which you can complete and mail back without having to come in for an appointment. You also don’t have to follow strict preparation instructions such as following a special diet, enduring a bowel prep, or having a pre-op physical. Your provider would then discuss the results with you.
Is Cologuard an option for me?
If your provider recommends a colorectal screening and you’ve had a colonoscopy in the past, then you may be a candidate. You may also be eligible for Cologuard if you are at low risk for colorectal cancer, don’t have a family history of cancer or aren’t exhibiting symptoms related to colorectal cancer. However, if your Cologuard test comes back positive, then your provider may order a colonoscopy.
For more information, speak with your provider about your options for colorectal screening tests.