Though treatable, Flanagan’s cancer was complex. Surgery was not an option. Instead, explained Dr. Duska, Flanagan’s care would require the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team of specialists at both NSMC and MGH. Under the direction of the NSMC Cancer Center’s James McIntyre, M.D., Chair of Radiation Oncology at NSMC and a radiation oncologist on staff at MGH, Flanagan began five weeks of treatment that involved daily radiation coupled with weekly chemotherapy. In addition, Flanagan received a series of five brachytherapy treatments—a minimally invasive technique that uses implantable radioactive “seeds” to deliver radiation directly to tumors—at MGH under the care of Anthony Russell, M.D.
Flanagan says her multi-disciplinary, multi-location treatment was "seamless.” “The coordination was unbelievable. It made going through treatment a lot easier,” she says. “Everyone I met knew me and knew exactly what was supposed to happen. I never felt alone.” Since finishing her treatment last fall, Flanagan has resumed her previously active lifestyle. “We all have ideas about how we want health care to be,” says Flanagan. “NSMC actually delivers.”