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Published on August 17, 2017

Betty Cartette

Close to home

Kurt Oettel, MD

Kurt Oettel, MD

Local cancer care offers convenience and comfort

Kim Breidenbach, MD

Kim Breidenbach, MD

Betty Cartrette was shocked.

"I went to see the doctor in the fall of 2016 for a spot on my lung, which didn't turn out to be anything," Betty says. "But after some tests, they came back and told me I had colon cancer."

Treatment began almost immediately for Betty, including chemotherapy treatments close to her Coral City home at Gundersen Tri-County Hospital and Clinics Whitehall.

Betty completed chemo in February 2017, but the news wasn't good during her follow up appointments: The cancer had not responded.

"Betty has an advanced form of cancer," says Kurt Oettel, MD, Gundersen Medical Oncology. "We tried to treat her with another drug, but that also did not work."

Betty has since turned to palliative care, under Dr. Oettel's guidance, and has regular checkups with Kim Breidenbach, MD, Gundersen Tri-County Family Medicine.

"Our patients can receive efficient, coordinated cancer care in Whitehall because of the outreach service Dr. Oettel provides and the great relationship between specialty and primary care providers," Dr. Breidenbach says.

Despite the challenges with her cancer, Betty says she feels good and remains upbeat.

"It's been wonderful," Betty says. "They are all very friendly. They take time to talk to me and explain things. Gundersen's been good to me."

"For many people, traveling a long distance for their care is a non-starter," says Dr. Oettel. "In Betty's case, I see her about once a month in Whitehall, saving her drive time for treatment in La Crosse. Sometimes we will use telemedicine, but to do a physical exam or help coordinate care, it's hard to beat in-person care."

For more information, call Gundersen Tri-County at (715) 538-4361 or (888) 775-0516. You can also visit to read more about Gundersen Health System cancer care available at Gundersen Tri-County.

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