Orlando Health expands colorectal cancer suite at Health Central

The renovated space gives patients increased access to cancer care at the hospital in Ocoee.

Dr. Antonio Caycedo is the chief of colorectal surgery for the Orlando Health Colon and Rectal Institute at Health Central Hospital in Ocoee.
Dr. Antonio Caycedo is the chief of colorectal surgery for the Orlando Health Colon and Rectal Institute at Health Central Hospital in Ocoee.
  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • News
  • Share

Clearly, there is a need.

On its first day of operation — Monday, March 25 — Orlando Health’s expanded and renovated space for colorectal cancer care at Health Central Hospital in Ocoee had 30 appointments scheduled.

This space allows Orlando Health to bring colorectal oncology services closer to home and offer consistent access for patients. Before the suite opened, patients receiving a cancer diagnosis at Health Central were referred to Orlando Regional Medical Center for surgeries.

Health Central now has 3,400 square feet dedicated to seven exam rooms, with three special exam rooms for minor procedures. Surgeons will be offering clinics and surgeries at Health Central. There is a small Telehealth space for virtual meetings between doctors and patients.

“We are permanently present in this community … instead of being intermittently or occasionally present,” said Dr. Antonio Caycedo, chief of colorectal surgery for the Orlando Health Colon and Rectal Institute. “By the fact that this suite exists, we are now stating our commitment to deliver not only clinics but surgical services, advanced services.”

Orlando Health has 10 colorectal surgeons, and two will be at the Ocoee facility full-time.

Dr. Antonio Caycedo, chief of colorectal surgery for the Orlando Health Colon and Rectal Institute, demonstrates interactive technology that gives patients visual aids to help them understand their diagnosis and treatment.

Major surgical procedures still will be performed in the operating room, but an increase in services and minor surgeries offered at Health Central keep more patients in their West Orange County community without the need to drive to downtown Orlando. This suite makes it more convenient for patients to get all their treatments, including chemotherapy, in one location, Caycedo said.

“They can be here around their support network,” he said. “Especially if you have a diagnosis of cancer — you need your support around you. We don’t want to have to have the patients come to us. We want to come to them.”

Each exam room is equipped with a state-of-the-art screen to help patients understand their diagnosis and treatment.

“Rather than taking a booklet or a piece of paper to draw things for you, we have these screens (with) 3D images and can expand, draw on top of it — because visual aids are very important,” Caycedo said.

Eventually, these images will go directly into patients’ medical records.

“Lots of people die from colon cancer, and about 60% of those deaths are preventable … if it is caught in time,” Caycedo said. “The way to catch it in time is to get people to do the colonoscopies.”

Erinn Thek, a resident of Clermont, was diagnosed with rectal and colon cancer in May 2023 at Health Central’s cancer institute, then located in another building on campus. She said she is so grateful for the hospital’s cancer institute and its team.

“When you are told such devastating news that you are unable to prepare for, words cannot express how nice it is to have the best care team ever,” Thek said. “Dr. Renee Mueller, Dr. (Jennifer) Logan, and Dr. (Jeffrey) Chi spared no time in figuring out my aggressive treatment and the steps I would take.”

Within two weeks of her diagnosis, all of her imaging and blood tests were arranged, and she was treated with radiation and chemotherapy.

“Every Friday I had a follow-up meeting with Dr. Logan to make sure everything was good,” Thek said. “My radiation therapists and chemo nurses were all fantastic.

“Now I am in my last leg of this process,” she said. “I had surgery in January, and Dr. Mueller was able to get the tumor (which shrank significantly) along with 22 lymph nodes, so the cancer couldn’t jump around. I have a reversal surgery I still need to go through, but I am so grateful for the Ocoee facilities/hospital.”

“The new multispecialty surgical oncology suite is an expansion of current offerings, bringing care closer to home,” said Joseph Khayat, Health Central chief operating officer. “The medical office suite not only provides a place for care, but also is a symbol of our commitment to bringing the experts to the needs of the West Orange community.”

Further expansions will bring thoracic, head and neck cancer services to the suite.

The institute is a research and teaching facility, and fellows and residents will be trained at the Ocoee hospital.

Health Central Hospital team and West Orange Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors cut the ribbon March 13 to open the hospital’s new colorectal suite. Courtesy photo


Latest News