Mon, July 15

End of an Era: Dr. Deborah Lindquist has treated three generations of cancer patients during 30-year career in Sedona

Dr. Deborah Lindquist MD shows one of the cards she has received since announcing her retirement at her Arizona Oncology office in Sedona last week. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Dr. Deborah Lindquist MD shows one of the cards she has received since announcing her retirement at her Arizona Oncology office in Sedona last week. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Dr. Deborah Lindquist, MD, has treated thousands of cancer patients out of her Sedona office for 30 years. She says she is the one that is “truly blessed.”

 Lindquist, an oncologist in Sedona, is retiring.

“I’ve had the most beautiful cards,” Lindquist said referring to the warm reaction she has received from her patients and the community. “I can, with good conscience, go into my retirement,” she explained

“I’m almost 69. It’s time. My husband’s been retired for five years. He’s getting bored waiting for me to go traveling,” she said.

“It’s a small town. It’s what I like about being here,” Lindquist said, who has cared for three generations of patients over the past 30 years.

Lindquist started her first practice Boston in 1987 and arrived in Sedona Dec. 31, 1988. “I’ve been here ever since,” she said.

In 1996, Lindquist’s office joined a company that eventually became Arizona Oncology.

“It’s always been just me working here in Sedona,” she said referring to her oncology work. “I see patients here in clinic. The nurses give chemotherapy.”

The Arizona Oncology clinic, located in Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Sedona facility, is currently the only location in the Verde Valley where patients receive chemotherapy.

Arizona Oncology patients can continue receiving care at the Arizona Oncology offices in Flagstaff or Prescott Valley or one of the more than 20 other locations throughout the state, according to Amy Magaziner, spokesman for Arizona Oncology.

“All of our practices share electronic medical records, which makes it easy for patients to continue their care at one of these practices,” Magaziner said. “We have established a dedicated patient line for our patients (928) 220-3626.”  

For patients who want to continue cancer treatment in the Verde Valley, NAH has decided to open a cancer center in the Sedona campus where Arizona Oncology is vacating.

NAH has hired a new oncology physician, Dr. Madhuri Kadiyala, MD, who will also treat patients at NAH’s Verde Valley Medical Center, allowing patients to receive treatment, including chemotherapy, in Cottonwood or Sedona.

Lindquist said she has had a special interest in breast cancer in her career and has run research trials in Sedona for breast cancer.

“Patients could come here and get new therapies here that were not approved widely,” she point out. “We’ve had a lung trial. We’ve had many trials.”

She has been on the Breast Cancer Committee for U.S. Oncology and “we have a monthly phone call because things change that fast.”

Lindquist said cancer treatment has advanced greatly in the 40 years she has been a doctor.

People are surviving much longer, she said. “Immunotherapy therapy” has made a huge change for people with many kinds of cancer. We have people surviving 10 to 15 years, maybe when they would have lived a year. And they are living good lives … It’s amazing.”

The doctor said now people have many more choices of chemotherapy and the side-effects are not as difficult to handle.  All potentially have side-effects, she continued, but some have less and it depends on the disease and what’s needed.

Research is working

 Lindquist used Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia as an example that there has been great progress in cancer treatment since she was in medical school.

“The average life-span used to be three-and-a-half years,” she said. “And now people take a pill and they can live forever taking the pill because it targets the specific mutation in the cell.

“I could always help even if the end is going to be death. I can always be of some assistance with helping people with their symptoms, with how they are looking at it. My patients are my friends. I got their emails. I got their phone numbers. We’ll be in touch.”