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Cancer Care

Tradition and innovation. At the Baptist Cancer Center, we are committed to providing state of the art care that is both personalized and compassionate. Our tradition of providing excellence in cancer care is reflected in our accreditation and distinctions from the Commission on Cancer. We’re at the leading edge of cancer care in San Antonio based off of a new model for breast cancer care with advanced reconstruction surgery and robotically-assisted surgery for prostate cancer.


Comprehensive cancer care, close to home.

From cancer screenings to treatments, Baptist is your first choice for quality cancer care in South Texas. We offer comprehensive, accredited cancer services at each of our San Antonio hospitals and convenient diagnostic imaging services at multiple centers throughout the city.

We deliver focused, expert breast care at our Baptist Breast Centers. We also are leading the way forward in cancer care as the first hospital system in the city to offer robotically-assisted surgery for prostate cancer. Comprehensive, compassionate cancer care  – That’s Baptist Care.

Baptist was the first hospital system in San Antonio:

  • To offer robotically-assisted cancer surgeries. This high-tech option allows for smaller incisions, less infection risk and faster and less painful recovery.
  • To create multiple, dedicated Breast Centers to streamline breast care from imaging, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • To achieve accreditation for cancer care in all five hospitals and to offer diagnostic imaging centers in seven locations. More locations mean better access to quality care.

At Baptist, we understand that a diagnosis of cancer is frightening, and even cancer screenings can provoke anxiety and concern. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Our dedicated cancer specialists are here to help you rise above the statistics, delivering the most effective treatments to beat cancer while taking care of your emotional and spiritual needs.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or just want to learn more, we invite you to explore our Cancer Health Library. Learn more about the different types of cancer, risk factors, screenings, diagnosis and cancer treatment programs.

Choose Baptist for Cancer Care.

  • All five hospitals are accredited by the Commission on Cancer
  • Dedicated team of experts at the Baptist Cancer Center
  • First hospital system in San Antonio to offer robotically assisted cancer surgery
  • Baptist M& S Imaging diagnostic imaging at multiple locations

Personalized Care

Patients are provided with personalized, concierge style service by our breast care navigators, Andrea Kassem, RN, OCN, and Bianca Rodriguez, RN. Patients and family members are provided with all the necessary information regarding diagnosis, breast cancer treatment and other supportive services, helping to minimize anxiety and expedite appointments.

Genetic counseling and genetic testing are key elements in preventive breast health care. A genetic counselor develops a comprehensive risk assessment by weighing a patient’s family history of cancer and lifestyle in addition to environmental factors. Our certified genetic counselors will work with you to create a personalized care plan aimed at lowering the likelihood of developing breast cancer or catching it at the earliest stage possible. Leslie Buheit, CGC is the first Certified Genetic Counselor in South Texas dedicated to breast health and is here to help women take the first step in breast health care. Learn more about genetic counseling

Cancer survivor credits his ‘doctor with a plan.’

Pancreatic cancer survivor Peter Suess credits God, friends, family, a positive attitude and “a doctor with a plan” for his successful treatment.

Suess went to the doctor complaining of vague abdominal pain, jaundice and weight loss. He wasn’t prepared for the diagnosis. (See Seuss’ story here.)

“I couldn’t believe that I was sitting here, having this conversation,” he says. “Frankly any cancer, but pancreatic cancer
was numbing, just absolutely mind-numbing,” says Peter Suess.

Surgical oncologist Morton Kahlenberg, MD, FACS, had a calming effect, Suess says. “Dr. Kahlenberg was very comforting, he settled us down quite a bit (saying) that it was not the end of the world.”

Suess’ pancreatic cancer was similar to that suffered by actor Patrick Swayze. Suess “had locally advanced cancer of the pancreas and had been told he was not a candidate for surgery,” Kahlenberg said.

“Working with his medical oncologist and radiation oncologist, we decided to try and shrink the tumor with chemotherapy and radiation first to bring it to an operable size.”

After the tumor responded to treatment, Kahlenberg performed a Whipple procedure to remove the tumor and part of the pancreas and other abdominal organs.

“We were able to remove it surgically, and today he is doing well,” Kahlenberg says. “This type of approach results in better outcomes, even in the case of these bad cancers.”

Kahlenberg notes that because pancreatic cancer is an aggressive cancer, Suess will have to be monitored closely.

Thirteen months after cancer surgery, Suess was asked at a charity fashion show what his advice was for anyone facing a diagnosis of cancer.

“You can’t do this stuff alone,” Suess told the audience. “You need a God, you need your family, you need a good doctor. A doctor that has a plan. And it worked. Friends. Unbelievable friends. And of course you’ve got to have a (positive) attitude.”

Suess also urges those fighting cancer: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

Read More

da Vinci surgery for cervical and uterine cancer

At Baptist, we’re giving cervical cancer and uterine cancer patients a new option: less-invasive surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System.

Traditional open gynecologic surgery, using a large incision for access to the uterus and surrounding anatomy, has for many years been the standard approach. Open surgery can result in significant pain and a long recovery process and threat to surrounding organs and nerves.

For complex hysterectomies and other gynecologic procedures, including some cervical and uterine cancer surgeries, robot-assisted surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System may be the most effective, least-invasive treatment option. Through tiny, 1 cm - 2 cm incisions, our skilled surgeons employ the da Vinci System to operate with greater precision and control.

For patients, this means less pain, quicker recovery and less risk associated with large incisions. We employ state-of-the-art techniques to ensure better outcomes for you.

Call (210) 297-7005 for more information about robotically assisted cervical and uterine cancer surgery.

  • “It is our goal to provide comprehensive care that parallels or exceeds the care provided at our nation’s best cancer centers and we are well on our way to achieving this,” says Morton Kahlenberg, MD, FACS, Medical Director of Baptist Cancer Center.

  • “The Baptist Breast Center model is clearly different than traditional, less efficient care models and is unique to our community,” says Dr. Kahlenberg. “It is our goal that the Baptist Breast Center becomes the community and region’s standard for how patients with breast diseases are cared for.”

Baptist Cancer Center

The Baptist Cancer Center represents our commitment to providing the best in care for patients with cancer and those at increased risk for developing cancer. The dedicated experts at the Center oversee all in-patient and outpatient cancer care, education and research activities. This coordinated approach means a more seamless experience for you.

All of our hospitals provide cancer care accredited by the Commission on Cancer. The Commission is a national consortium of professional organizations that establishes rigorous standards to help ensure excellence in patient care. Our hospitals have maintained this accreditation for more than a decade, demonstrating our dedication to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients.

Prostate Cancer Care

At Baptist, we are proud to be the first health system in San Antonio to offer robotically-assisted prostate surgery as an exciting alternative to traditional “open” surgery for radical prostatectomy. Removal of the prostate gland using the da Vinci® Surgical System offers a less invasive alternative than traditional prostate surgery.

The benefits of robotically assisted prostatectomy include:

  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Faster recovery

Learn more about prostate cancer, including symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis and prostate treatment.

Call (210) 297-7005 for more information about robotically assisted prostate cancer surgery.

Baptist Breast Centers

Baptist Breast Centers provides unparalleled care, whether you are concerned about your risk for developing cancer or have received a diagnosis. With five locations throughout the city, we offer next day appointments and San Antonio’s only oncology certified breast care navigator. You can trust Baptist Breast Center when you need us most.

Each Baptist Breast Center provides complete breast imaging services – digital mammograms, breast ultrasound, biopsies, MRI access – and state-of-the-art care for patients with breast diseases, including breast cancer or those at increased risk for breast cancer.  A comprehensive network of leading radiologists, surgeons, plastic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, navigators, and genetic counselors are here to serve you, dramatically decreasing wait times and improving the efficiency of care delivery.

BBC Innovative Care
The Baptist Breast Center Difference

The Baptist Breast Center at North Central Baptist is the first and only nationally-recognized, NAPBC accredited breast program in South Texas to offer a certified breast care navigator, a certified genetic counselor and physicians with expertise in breast care and advanced diagnostic treatments in one location and with multiple access points for seamless, quality care. Learn more

The Baptist Breast Centers are also accredited in mammography by the American College of Radiology and the FDA. In addition, the facility has also voluntarily participated in a rigorous review process to be sure it meets nationally accepted standards for other aspects of breast imaging. In partnership with Baptist M&S Imaging, the center has achieved accreditation by the American College of Radiology in Stereotactic Breast Biopsy, Breast Ultrasound and Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy. Learn more

Find a doctor who specializes in Oncology  — call (210) 297-7005.

South Texas Lung Institute

The South Texas Lung Institute (STLI) is a collaboration of pulmonologists, oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and primary care physicians working in concert with St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital to provide highly coordinated lung cancer treatment. We’re the first initiative in South Texas to offer a navigated program with one-call access so that your high-risk patients can be quickly referred to the right resource.

Let the South Texas Lung Institute connect you to quality lung care services with the only patient navigated program available in South Texas and a dedicated team of physicians committed to guide you every step of the way.

If you fit one following criteria, talk to your primary care physician for a screening referral:
Age 55–74 with a history of smoking equal to or greater than 30 years (a pack a day) and if an ex-smoker, have quit within the last 15 years.

Call (210) 297-LUNG for more information.

South Texas Lung Institute