Silver Bay native is region’s only gynecologic cancer specialistColleen Evans, a 1996 graduate of William Kelley High School, recently joined the Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic as the only gynecologic cancer specialist in northern Minnesota.
By: Chaviely Dellinger, Lake County News Chronicle
Colleen Evans, a 1996 graduate of William Kelley High School, recently joined the Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic as the only gynecologic cancer specialist in northern Minnesota.
“I hope to provide comprehensive gynecologic cancer care to the women of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin,” Evans said, speaking about her hopes for the new position. “I saw an opportunity to provide a much-needed service so women could get cancer treatment closer to their homes and families.”
“Dr. Evans, who grew up in Silver Bay, is the only gynecologic oncologist in Northern Minnesota,” spokeswoman Kim Kaiser said.
“From our past experience of having a gynecologic oncologist doing outreach in Duluth, we and our patients have seen real benefit from having those services provided here,” said Dr. Anne Rogotzke, an obstetrician at Essentia Health-Duluth.
Evans grew up in Silver Bay, and part of her decision to come to Duluth was because the city lacked a gynecologic oncologist, according to Kaiser, resulting in patients having to go to the Twin Cities or Rochester. Depending on the severity of treatment, this can result in emotional and physical strains on patients.
“It is a huge burden for women and their families to make that trip for their cancer treatment,” Evans said. “For many women, the trip to Duluth is a significant effort in itself, so not having to travel to the Twin Cities for consultation and their surgery is a big positive,” Rogotzke agreed.”Being closer to home, family and friends gives them support and peace of mind during a stressful time. For many of our patients, especially for our older patients, it’s been a real hardship asking family and friends to spend an extended amount of time in the Twin Cities or Rochester during their hospitalization for cancer surgery.”
Evans said she is excited to return to the area. Growing up in Silver Bay came with “lots of opportunities to spend time in the outdoors and enjoy the seasons,” she said.
Evans earned her medical degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Maine, also serving a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. She also took part in a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
“I had always planned on going to medical school; I did think that I would be a family practice physician, though,” she said. “During my OB/GYN rotation as a medical student, I worked with a gynecologic oncologist and really felt drawn to the cancer patient population and found that I loved surgery.”+
Gynecologic oncologists must complete four years of general obstetrics and gynecology training, followed by another three to four years of advanced training in treating women with gynecologic cancers.
“During this time period we participate in clinical training, including administration of chemotherapy and advanced surgical techniques required to treat gynecological cancer,” she said.
Evans’ duties typically include meeting with patients who have a known or suspected gynecologic malignancy. She provides counsel about treatment options, which often include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. In the event that malignancies have progressed beyond those treatment options, end-of-life and hospice care are discussed.
“Dr. Evans sees herself as a partner in her patients’ treatment.” Kaiser said.
Patients can schedule an appointment with Evans by calling (218) 786-3800.