Doctor to offer chemotherapy in South Lake Tahoe
Starting next week, many South Lake Tahoe cancer patients will no longer need to travel more than 30 minutes to receive chemotherapy.
After a two-year hiatus, oncologist and hematologist Dr. Jorge Perez will once again be offering the treatment locally — this time at his new office on Emerald Bay Road.
“I realized the difficulty for patients to travel to other places for treatment …” he said Wednesday. “I thought it would make life a little easier.”
Perez will be the only physician in town to offer chemotherapy, which will be provided at his local office on Mondays. He offered the treatment in Stateline, Nev. — where he practiced medicine for about 10 years until 2011 — but no one has provided it since, he said.
His departure from the area left a need for local chemotherapy that hasn’t been filled since, said Angie Burns, treasurer of the South Lake Tahoe Cancer League.
“When Dr. Perez left,” she said, “it did leave a void here in the community.”
Without local chemotherapy, the League has had to transport certain South Lake Tahoe cancer patients to Carson City, Nev., Reno, Nev., Truckee, Calif., and UC Davis for chemotherapy, Burns said.
Some, but not all, of those patients will now be able to receive treatment at Dr. Perez’s South Lake Tahoe office, she said.
“I think it will help a lot of patients,” she said. “They won’t have to travel, and it will be much more convenient for them.”
Perez, who completed a PhD in cellular biochemistry and residency in internal medicine and chemical pathology in England, founded the Sierra Nevada Cancer Center in Carson City.
One of the ideas behind the center is to make the kind of cancer care found in big city’s available to those living in small, rural communities. Patient access to cancer treatment is a large part of Perez’s mission.
Consequently, Perez is willing to open his South Lake Tahoe office more than one day a week for chemotherapy treatment if a need in the community exists, he said.
“It depends on the need,” Perez said. “If there are needs for more (treatment), we will grow to meet whatever the needs are.”