Retired aerospace software engineer Joseph Lindorfer, 81, was part of the team that helped humankind land on the moon.
In the context of spaceflight, 100 miles pass quickly. But in the course of Lindorfer’s cancer treatment, 100-mile round trips between his home and City of Hope’s main campus in Duarte have presented a challenge. Over the past six-plus years, Lindorfer has had multiple major surgeries, rounds of radiation and immunotherapy, and imaging appointments to treat his original cancer (squamous cell carcinoma near his ear), as well as recurrences and metastatic disease to lymph nodes.
Today, Lindorfer’s commute is dramatically shorter, since City of Hope and Providence Little Company of Mary have joined forces to provide comprehensive, academic level cancer care in the South Bay.
“Driving from where I live in Rancho Palos Verdes to Providence in Torrance is about 12 miles—and no freeways—so that’s like night and day,” says Lindorfer. “I’m really happy about not having to travel that far to Duarte, which was almost all freeways.”
Located on the Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance campus, City of Hope | South Bay has been offering medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology and clinical trials since 2018 for a broad range of cancers. “There was a huge demand, so that initiated the idea to open our doors in the South Bay,” says Sariah Liu, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist at City of Hope | South Bay. “Patients are very happy. Because we are able to provide care locally, I’m able to see or communicate with patients like Joseph almost on a weekly basis, so that’s absolutely a huge difference in terms of a patient’s experience.”
In 2019, Lindorfer’s first treatment at City of Hope | South Bay was radiation therapy, which required visiting the facility five days a week for a month. Eventually he transitioned all of his care, including immunotherapy, from Duarte to Torrance. “I had a port installed at Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance as an outpatient,” says Lindorfer. “Then I continued on with immunotherapy. City of Hope has a great facility in the Torrance office for injections—certainly the equivalent to Duarte’s.”
In addition to providing convenience for patients, the partnership facilitates collaboration between City of Hope and Providence providers. “We prefer our patients to do all their imaging, such as PET, MRI, CT scan and X-ray, at the Providence imaging center, because it’s conveniently located in the same building—and also our computer systems are connected,” says Dr. Liu. “There’s seamless communication between us and the supporting staff at Providence.”
Another benefit is ease of referrals to the hospital, since patients sometimes need additional specialized care such as gastroenterology and neurology. The collaboration also includes weekly breast cancer tumor boards for patients screened at Providence Women’s Imaging Center. “All the experts from the different subspecialties, including surgical, radiation and medical oncology, get together and talk about the case and make sure we deliver the best care for the patient,” says Dr. Liu.
Lindorfer, whose latest PET- CT scan was all clear, continues to have his imaging done at Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance to make sure his cancer remains under control. “He was initially diagnosed in 2014, and six years later, after many recurrences, he has no evidence of disease whatsoever,” says Dr. Liu. “I feel very fortunate that we are able to deliver this kind of care locally so that we can make life easier for him and improve his quality of life.”
Without the long commutes to Duarte, Lindorfer looks forward to spending more time exploring his community on his electric assist bicycle—once he recovers from shoulder replacement surgery on both shoulders. “I’ve been really pleased with the people I’ve met at Providence and City of Hope | South Bay and the care I’ve received. The people were all just great,” he says. “The two places combined have saved my life for a while. I’m still going strong.”
For more information on cancer treatments at Providence Little Company of Mary and City of Hope | South Bay, call 844-925-0942 or visit www.providence.org/locations/plcm-torrance/oncology.
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