Written By: Amanda Deck
Once known as the Plant City Cancer Center, Heysek and Kepes Radiation Oncology, located at 303 N. Alexander Street on the South Florida Baptist Hospital campus, will soon be celebrating its 17th year of service to the Plant City community. Since its inception on March 5, 1996, the practice has been led by two highly educated and esteemed board-certified Radiation Oncologists, Randy V. Heysek, MD and Kathryn L. Kepes, MD, along with caring nursing personnel, radiation therapy technologists, and a medical physicist.
After graduating with honors from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Dr. Heysek furthered his schooling at the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed an internship at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis at the University of Tennessee and a residency in radiation oncology at the University of Maryland Cancer Center at Baltimore. In addition to his extensive educational background, Dr. Heysek has provided radiation therapy—with special interest in treatment of head, neck and prostate cancer—for over 20 years to patients in Hillsborough and Polk County with other offices in Lakeland, Davenport, Lake Wales, and the Moffitt Cancer Center. Although he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Prostate Institute, Dr. Heysek has performed duties as the Chief of Staff at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and President of the Polk County Medical Association, and board member of the American Cancer Society (ACS).
An expert in business and medicine, Dr. Kepes earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from St. Louis University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami, where she was also inducted in the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society. Dr. Kepes has a special interest in breast cancer and lung cancer. Dr. Kepes founded the Center for Radiation Oncology, which consisted of four practices in Hillsborough and Pasco County. Yet today she works solely at Heysek and Kepes Radiation Oncology Center. Dr. Kepes has been honored by her peers throughout her career, earning a 2009 Florida Super Doctor honor and a 2010 Florida Outstanding Physician award. Furthermore, she is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the ACS, and has served on the Board of Directors of Lifepath Hospice, as Medical Advisor for the Southeast Hillsborough ACS unit and National President of the Association of Freestanding Radiation Oncology Centers.
It’s apparent the medical expertise of Drs. Heysek and Kepes is virtually unrivaled in the Plant City area. However, what their practice focuses on most, apart from offering excellent cancer treatment using state-of-the-art equipment–including intensity-modulated radiation therapy, 3-D conformal therapy, high dose radiation for skin cancers, and AccuBoost for breast cancer– is providing it in a friendly, respectable atmosphere. From providing coffee, cookies and a comfortable waiting room stocked with a television, a puzzle table, magazines, newspapers, and other reading materials, Heysek and Kepes Radiation Oncology is dedicated to making their patients feel right at home.
“We try to make our patients feel like they are a part of our family,” said staff nurse and office supervisor Raquel Fernandes. “They adopt us and we adopt them.”
In order to provide that comforting atmosphere, the staff at Heysek and Kepes have gone above and beyond the call, making sure that every detail—from the soothing incandescent lighting in the dressing room to the beautiful artwork decorating the hallways—accommodates a patient’s every need. In fact, the helpful staff will go the extra mile, putting their patients in touch with nutritionists, counselors, and other resources to ensure they are receiving the best care possible. And since many of their patients are seasonal, Heysek and Kepes strive to keep in touch with their patients’ relatives up north.
No one likes to discover they have cancer. Not only does it affect a patient’s physical, emotional, and social health, but it also has a direct influence on his or her family. As a result, Heysek and Kepes Radiation Oncology is committed to providing total cancer care.
“Learning you have cancer can be an overwhelming experience, and we try to make the healing process as easy and convenient as possible,” said Fernandes. “We love our patients and we love being able to help. Although every day is a challenge, we can make a difference in each of our patient’s lives, helping them fight the disease and know there is life after a cancer diagnosis. We enjoy our patients and work to provide them with quality care.”