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Northern Montana Health Care

The Northern Montana Sletten Cancer Center is a joint venture between Northern Montana Health Care and Benefis. This center provides chemotherapy for the communities of the Hi-Line, helping to ease the burden of traveling for cancer treatments.

Northern Montana Health Care is proud to announce the arrival of Dr. Martha Mapalo to the Northern Montana Sletten Cancer Center. Dr. Mapalo, Hematology/Oncology, did her Fellowship in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She is very active in the Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation, assisting with events between New Mexico and Zambia. Dr. Mapalo is also a service-volunteer for her church. She is a travel buff and is looking forward to seeing this part of the United States.

What is Oncology?

Oncology is the branch of medicine that researches, identifies and treats cancer. A physician who works in the field of Oncology is an Oncologist.

Oncologists must first diagnose cancer, which is usually carried out via biopsy, endoscopy, X-ray, CT scanning, MRI, PET scanning, ultrasound, or other radiological methods. Nuclear medicine can also be used to diagnose cancer, as can blood tests or tumor markers. Oncology is often linked with hematology, which is the branch of medicine that deals with blood and blood-related disorders.


Once a diagnosis is made, the oncologist discusses the disease stage with the patient. Staging will dictate the treatment of cancer. Chemotherapy — which is defined as the destruction of cancer cells — may be used, as well as radiation therapy. Surgery is used to remove tumors. Hormone therapy is used to treat certain types of cancers, and monoclonal antibody treatments are gaining popularity. Research into cancer vaccines and immunotherapies is ongoing. Palliative care in Oncology treats pain and other symptoms of cancer.

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