SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More than 6,000 people in KELOLAND will be diagnosed with some kind of cancer this year.

For those living in smaller towns or rural areas undergoing treatment can mean time away from a job or family.

When Jeri Schettler was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, it was a scary time.
She admits she was caught off guard because cancer wasn’t something that ran in her family.

“We couldn’t feel the lump at all, and so that’s why it was so surprising,” said Schettler. “Yeah, I spent a lot of time crying for a few weeks before I started chemo, Scared, afraid, not knowing what was next and how chemo would be, just all the unknowns.”

Jeri made a number of hour-long trips to Sioux Falls to see her doctors at Sanford Hospital. Once her surgery was over and her treatment plan with radiation and chemo was in place, she received all of her care at the Worthington Cancer Center.

For Jeri having the cancer center here in Worthington was even more convenient because she only works a block and a half away.

“I don’t know if I could have kept working the way I did and fulfilled my responsibilities, and so it was great and the care that I got with the nurses and stuff here. They are like family. I’d go to chemo, and we would talk about our kids and their kids and what we did,” said Schettler.

She says attitude is important for those fighting cancer, and her nurse practitioner agrees.

“Most patients are so grateful that they have kind of a short drive and can get quality care just kind of right in their backyard,” said Sabrina Sowles. “You know cancer is a big enough burden as it is, so if we can take even a little bit off their shoulder, patients are just extremely grateful for being able to have that here, said.

Jeri is undergoing chemo through April as a precaution, but her doctors tell her she is cancer free.

The Worthington Cancer Center serves people all over Southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa who find it easier to drive to Worthington rather than Sioux Falls.