Our Team

We are not your normal cancer center. What sets us apart is that you are at the center of everything we do. We start by making things convenient and pleasant: A soothing infusion center, with the option of taking treatment outside. An onsite pharmacy and lab. Courtesy transportation, if needed.

But what leaves a lasting impression goes deeper than convenience, beginning with your first meeting with our patient navigator. A cancer survivor and nurse, she immediately makes you feel at home as she answers your questions, helps you process your emotions, and guides you to the resources you need. By the time you meet with one of our compassionate oncologists, it hits you...you haven’t come to ‘a’ center. You are at THE center of a support team, and you are not alone.

In addition to the experience and skill of our oncologists, a team of professionals will continue to guide you through diagnosis, treatment and into survivorship. That team includes dedicated nutritionists, licensed clinical social workers, nurse practitioners and patient educators.


Our Doctors

 
Michael Cain, M.D.
Medical Oncology and Hematology

 
Paulette Blanchet, M.D.
Medical Oncology and Hematology

 
Rebecca Davis, M.D.
Medical Oncology


       
Megan Daigle, MD
Megan Daigle, M.D.
Interventional Breast Radiology


  
Deborah M. Johnson, M.D.
Medical Oncology and Hematology


Salman Malad, M.D.

Medical Oncology and Hematology
 

       

Ricky Owers, M.D.
Gynecologic Oncology



Victoria E. Panelli, M.D.

Medical Oncology and Hematology 


John M. Rainey, M.D.

Medical Oncology and Hematology

       

Kelvin Raybon, M.D., FACP
Medical Oncology and Hematology

Kristen Sager, M.D.
Medical Oncology and Hematology

Molly Thomas, M.D.
Medical Oncology and Hematology



Support Staff

  
Markell Ayo
Nurse Practitioner

 
Allison Bertrand
Nurse Practitioner

 
Theresa Bodker
Patient Educator

       
 
Natalie Deshotels
Physicians Assistant


Rebecca Donohue
Nurse Practitioner & Genetic 
Counselor

Jamie Duhon
Patient Navigator 
 

       
 
Hilary Hill
Registered Dietitian


Mareesa Mathers 
Nurse Practitioner





Support Services

A cancer diagnosis can be frightening, and overwhelming. Many of our patients tell us that during those first doctor visits, they had a hard time remembering specific information because of their fear. 

Our focus is to support patients beyond physical treatment of the disease, and we have a team of experienced staff members ready to guide you back to health.

Patient Navigator

Patient navigation is a unique concept to the Lafayette area; though the program is in place at leading cancer centers nationwide. The patient navigator does exactly what her title says—she navigates, or guides, patients through the complex cancer care system from point of suspicion through treatment. Often, patients face gaps in service as well as fragmented care. The navigator works to reduce those barriers to help patients get the care they need. The program makes sure that all patients with suspicious findings receive information and assistance to help them obtain follow-up care, a timely diagnosis and treatment, if necessary.

This will make for better outcomes and greater patient satisfaction. Our navigator assists patients by offering a broad array of services, including:
  • helping to schedule and keep medical appointments
  • arranging follow-up care
  • coordinating and streamlining insurance paperwork
  • identifying local resources and appropriate support
  • helping to identify and obtain elder or child care or transportation

Care Management - Licensed Clinical Social Worker

There are many stages of the cancer treatment process. Some patients may be faced with difficult decisions, may have feelings of being overwhelmed, experience communication problems at home or at work, and have feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

To provide support during difficult times, a licensed clinical social worker will help patients deal with social and emotional issues, providing professional counseling for both individuals and families. For example, patients will be evaluated for distress via a Distress Screening Tool throughout their treatment at the Cancer Center.

In addition, the social worker can assist with practical issues, such as transportation, financial concerns, and work issues as well as referrals to a range of community resources, including education and wellness.

Genetic Counseling

Cancer is thought to be the result of many factors, such as genetics, environmental exposure and lifestyle. Although the majority of cancers are not inherited, recent research has found that inheritance can greatly increase the likelihood of some cancers. Researchers have discovered that there is more cancer in certain families due to an abnormal gene that is passed from generation to generation.

Why have cancer risk counseling? Some people with a significant family history, or with a family member who had cancer at an early age, may be worrying needlessly. After looking at your family history, it may be possible to take advantage of today’s technology of gene identification and testing to give you and your family a better understanding of your cancer risks.

Peace of mind. If you are found to have the gene change that increases your risk of cancer, you can then use this knowledge to take measures to reduce this risk. This may relieve the uncertainty and anxiety you and your family have been living with.

Reducing Risks. Knowing you are at risk is invaluable in helping you and your healthcare provider manage your care. In most cases there are three options for reducing cancer risk. These include increased surveillance, preventive medications and/or preventive surgery.

What should you expect? You will be given a form to fill in concerning your family health history. You will then meet with the counselor who will take a careful family history and discuss with you the basics of cancer genetics, as well as any emotional, legal, or ethical concerns you may have. If you wish to proceed, you will sign a consent form and a blood sample will be drawn and sent to the appropriate laboratory for testing. Usually the lab will verify insurance coverage and inform you of any out of pocket expense prior to performing the genetic test. Since results cannot be given over the telephone, a return appointment will be made for disclosure of results.

The goal of genetic counseling and testing is to develop a personal risk management plan to prevent cancer development or to allow early detection, while potentially curable.

Nutrition Counseling

Some patients may benefit from nutritional counseling during treatment and recovery. Upon referral, the registered dietitian will assess patients and determine if supplemental nutrition is needed or develop a plan to relieve negative symptoms caused by chemo, radiation and/or surgery. Proper diet can often help patients cope with appetite loss or taste changes, maintain healthy weight or overcome fatigue.

Lafayette General Medical Center dietitian Hilary Hill is now a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO) through the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Hill is one of only four CSO’s in Louisiana, and the only one in Lafayette. This certification indicates specialized knowledge, competence and experience in oncology nutrition, as it requires at least 2,000 hours in oncology nutrition and passing of a national board exam.

The dietitian is available to answer questions, provide educational materials, and guide you toward reliable resources.

Patient Education --- The Clinical Nurse Specialist

Being diagnosed with cancer can be extremely overwhelming. Cancer Center of Acadiana’s Interdisciplinary Support Team approach is unique to the Acadiana region and an important part of the Center’s goal of providing the highest level of holistic cancer care. An important component of the cancer journey is patients being fully informed and educated as to what to expect during their cancer treatment.

A Clinical Nurse Specialist, which is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, provides comprehensive information related to the cancer journey. After the initial visit with the Oncologist and prior to beginning treatment, an education session is scheduled with the Clinical Nurse Specialist. The patient, family members and significant others are encouraged to attend the education session, where written and verbal information is discussed to customize each patient’s treatment regimen. The patient is given a notebook containing contact information for the Center, and a way to organize information including a system to keep track of appointments, treatment regimens, medications, medical records and more.

Information regarding diagnosis, treatment schedules, potential side effects or problems that may result from treatment and how to manage side effects are also discussed. The session instructs the patient how to take care of him/herself before, during and after treatment. Once all questions and concerns are answered, the patient and family meet with other support team members to learn about other services available at the center.