Archive For "April, 2011"

Bud and Shirley Brannon

Patient Spotlight – April 2011

Bud and Shirley Brannon

We treated Bud back in 2004 and now are treating Shirley in 2011.

Bud and Shirley have been very happily married for going on 58 years. They say that being best friends is the secret to a long marriage. The two of them are very joyful people and always have a smile on their faces.

They think the world of Dr. Gast and her staff here at Fort Smith Radiation Oncology and would like to thank them for being so caring in a difficult time.

Bud also says, “If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Shirley added, “I would do any treatment that Dr. Gast would recommend me to do. She knows her stuff.”

The staff here at Fort Smith Radiation Oncology would like to thank the Brannon’s for being such good and caring people.

The Brannon’s, like all of our patients mean a lot to us.


Posted In: Patient Spotlight
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Relay for Life 2011

Team Fort Smith Radiation Oncology once again participated in the North Sebastion County Relay for Life benefitting the American Cancer Society.  For many years, Dr. Kris Gast and her staff have provided the cancer survivor dinner to the participants and has participated as a team.  Team Fort Smith Radiation Oncology sold $1 a minute massages to help raise money for their team.  Overall, the event was a great success!

Relay for Life 2011 Mary Jane, Becky and Carolyn

Relay for Life 2011

Relay for Life 2011 Becky serving dinner

Relay for Life 2011











Posted In: Community Involvement, Relay for Life
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Dr. Gast: What Do You Know About Cancer?

Radiation Oncologist at Fort Smith Radiation OncologyYou’re sitting in the waiting room. You or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer.

Your mind is spinning, full of questions. Yet when face to face with your doctor, your mind goes blank.

Perhaps you make your way through treatment, and you still don’t understand what has happened and why certain tests or treatments have been done.

You’re nervous to keep your doctors long; they always seem so busy.

You Google and explore the Internet, but it just brings more questions and confusion. The information given on the Internet just overwhelms you, and afterward you just feel tired.

When you visit with others who have gone through treatment, they are just as confused, overwhelmed and curious as you.

I find this to be a common problem in my practice. Patients in their first visit tell me that they have visited multiple physicians and had multiple tests done. At that point, they are in a state of shock.

I am Dr. Kris Gast, and a major part of my job is to explain to you, in a way you can understand, and not in Latin, the language of the MDs.

I am here to answer your questions about cancer and the treatment process. So let’s get started with the most common question:

How does your doctor know which treatment is best for you?

Treatment today is based on decades of research. When new treatments are available, the patients who have come before you have tried these new treatments.

In trials, patients are assigned treatment, sometimes without even the doctors knowing exactly what drugs the patients are receiving.

Cancer patients must have checkups for five to 10 years to determine if they have been cured. Patients have X-rays and lab work on a regular basis.

Trials are no different. Patients are followed for five to 10 years. Periodically, information regarding the patients who are in the trail is published in medical journals.

After all the patients have had at least five years of checkups, the final data is analyzed.

If the final data shows the new treatment is better than the existing treatment, then the new treatment becomes the standard.

New treatments usually go through multiple trials before they become the standard treatment. This is why it takes so long for new cancer treatments to become available.

You can see why the term practice is used with respect to medicine. As doctors, we are always learning.
Next time, I will answer the question: What does “stage” mean?

On that note, send your cancer questions, and I will do my best to answer them, in English, of course.

Dr. Kris Gast is a board-certified radiation oncologist. She has been in practice for 21 years, the last 13 at Fort Smith Radiation Oncology in Fort Smith. Her column, Cancer Demystified, will appear the first Wednesday of every month in the Times Record. Send questions to

Link to original article in Southwest Times Record:

Posted In: Cancer Demystified by Dr. Kris Gast
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