St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea cancer program celebrates 10 years

CHELSEA – The cancer program at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea recently celebrated ten years since it began offering care to Chelsea and surrounding rural communities.  The hospital formally launched its cancer care program in October 2010 with medical oncology and infusion services before opening a more comprehensive Cancer Center in 2015.  Since then, the program has grown from 2,500 patient visits per year to more than 8,000 in 2020.

“When I’m speaking with community members, one of the more commonly talked about services is our cancer program,” said Nancy Graebner, president of St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  “Our Cancer Center is an incredible resource for our patients.  It has touched the lives thousands of families across our community and has provided access to world-class cancer care, right here in Chelsea.”

The growth of cancer services at St. Joe’s Chelsea accelerated with the opening of the Cancer Center.  A $6 million dollar fundraising campaign made the Cancer Center a reality – allowing further expansion of cancer services with a state-of-the-art facility built to maximize healing with scenic views, natural light and a soothing décor.  The Cancer Center includes more treatment bays and private treatment rooms large enough for loved ones to be near-by.  Additionally, chemotherapy mixtures are now made inside the hospital, increasing efficiency and decreasing patient wait time.

St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Cancer Center services now include:

  • Medical oncology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Surgical oncology
  • Nurse navigation
  • Social work
  • Spiritual care
  • Nutrition
  • High risk and genetic testing
  • Support groups
  • Clinical trials

St. Joe’s Cancer Center Fast Facts:

  • 80 patients per day; 20,800 visits per year
  • 30 radiation oncology visits per day; 8,000 per year
  • 30 infusion treatments per day; 8,000 per year
  • More than 100 clinical trials available at any time
  • Program has grown from 2,500 patient visits in 2015 to 8,000 in 2020

More than 1.8 million cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2020.  Nationally, overall cancer incidence is anticipated to grow 11 percent over the next five years, and 21.3 percent over ten years.  In the United States, 39 percent of women and 38 percent of men will develop cancer in their lifetime.  Fortunately, the five-year survival rate for all cancers combined has increased substantially since the early 1960s.

“As a longtime St. Joe’s nurse and local resident, it was so exciting for the hospital to have their own cancer and infusion center,” said Johanna Kruse, RN, BSN, OCN, a nurse working within the Infusion Center of St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  “I have been part of this from the beginning and it is an honor to watch it grow and become what it is today.”

The Cancer Center at St. Joe’s Chelsea is home to a beautiful lobby featuring a fireplace, heated chairs for patients, current magazines, coffee, water, fresh fruit, carefully selected artwork, and iPads.  Breakfast and lunch deliveries can also be accommodated upon request.  Patients and visitors are greeted by a concierge who ensures flesh flowers, fruit and special gift bags are always available.  The concierge also helps with unexpected needs such as assisting with child care coordination, offering transportation options, holding an umbrella and more. 

About St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea
St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea (SJMC) is a not-for-profit joint venture hospital, whose partners are Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, a member of national Catholic health care system Trinity Health based in Livonia, Mich., and Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center of the University of Michigan.  Founded in 1970, SJMC is nationally recognized for both quality of care and patient satisfaction by several national ranking organization including Press Ganey, and is accredited by the Joint Commission.  SJMC employs more than 1,200 individuals with a medical staff of approximately 750 physicians.  Key services include robust medical and surgical service lines, including an intensive care unit, eight operating rooms including robotic surgery, a 24-hour emergency department and senior emergency room, a state-of-the-art cancer center, a 24 bed inpatient rehabilitation unit, a comprehensive head pain treatment unit and both inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services.

For additional information about SJMC, please visit

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