Cancer Specialists that Know Their Patients

Your doctor tells you to have a seat and gives you the news:  You have cancer. Your mind races with fear. You think of your family, your work, your life… and you More »

New Years Eve: Traditions Around the World

Are you wondering what you will do this New Year’s Eve?  Why not incorporate one of these holiday traditions.  Will you be wearing red undies this year?! Argentina – To attract love More »

Getting to Know the Doctors: Dr. Charles Perkins

Meet the man behind the White Coat, Dr. Charles ‘Trey’ Perkins.  Charles Perkins MD, PhD, obtained his medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine and his PhD in Genetics and Moleular More »

Affordability of New Homes is Back in Gainesville

The real estate market CONTINUES to heat up and sales this year are again stronger. Particularly significant is the re-emerging new home market. This market crashed in 2007-2009, after there were no More »


Cancer Specialists that Know Their Patients

Your doctor tells you to have a seat and gives you the news:  You have cancer. Your mind races with fear. You think of your family, your work, your life… and you wonder what to do first.

Dr, Charles Perkins, Dr. Allison Grow, Dr. Cherylle Hayes & Dr. Christoper Balamucki

Dr. Charles Perkins, Dr. Allison Grow, Dr. Cherylle Hayes & Dr. Christopher Balamucki

I personally got to know Dr. Cherylle Hayes who has been dealing with cancer patients for over 18 years as a board-certified Radiation Oncologist. She is the number one person I would go to if I had this diagnosis. Why? Because she is a leading authority on the subject, and has empathy for her patients that goes far beyond the doctor’s office. Having known Dr. Hayes for years, I can personally attest that she stays up late worrying about her patients. Her work is her life. Dr. Hayes and her team treat all patients as if they are one of their own family members.

Dr. Hayes has served as Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Florida and has traveled to many sites studying and giving lectures on all types of cancer. She is currently the medical director at The Cancer Center at North Florida. Her team of highly trained & experienced doctors includes Dr. Christopher Balamucki, Dr. Allison Grow and Dr. Charles Perkins.

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I asked Dr. Hayes questions that I thought a new patient might like the answers to and here is what she said:

Q: Why should a cancer patient see your team?
A: Our team has a depth of expertise that is equivalent to any team of radiation oncologists. We have expertise in skin; head and neck cancers; breast and gynecologic cancers; lung cancers; prostate cancers including image-guided IMRT, radiosurgery, and seed implants; colorectal cancers; stereotactic radiosurgery for all body sites; radiation implants; and benign brain tumors such as meningiomas and acoustic neuromas. This is in addition to all the less commonly seen cancers.

We also have staff and administration that support our aim of providing the friendliest environment for patients and their needs. Our center is accredited by the American College of Radiology and the American College of Surgeons, meaning we consistently meet the highest standards of care. We partner with excellent doctors in other specialties to provide complete cancer care–medical oncology, radiology, ENT, surgery, GI, gynecologic oncology, pulmonology, etc.

Because of the excellent relationships we have, we can make things happen quickly, to get answers and form the best possible multidisciplinary treatment plan.

Q: How can you put a cancer patient’s mind at ease?
A: We take the time to explain your disease, its typical behavior, whether it has spread, and why we recommend a particular kind of treatment. We don’t see 3 or 4 patients an hour–we take the time to sit down, review everything, and answer your questions and concerns. And no matter whether you have a highly curable cancer, or one that is harder to cure, we will always be straightforward with you and your family. For us it’s about improving the quality of your life, during and after treatment. At The Cancer Center we like to think outside the box and individualize your care.

It’s important to remember that the majority of patients are going to be cured as 5-year survival rates exceed 60%. Death rates continue to decline for all cancers combined, for both men and women, as reported by the National Cancer Institute.

Q: Are there any new medications or treatments available?
A: There are so many wonderful new techniques AND medicines available. Our team, and the medical oncologists we work with, have more clinical trials open for enrollment than most academic centers, and more techniques for both curing and palliating patients. Some of the most exciting options are radiosurgery, which is being used for more and more cancers in the early stages; radioisotopes, like Sirtex and Xofigo; and targeted biologic agents, like Perjeta for breast cancer and anti-EGFR agents for lung cancer.

Q: Do you have the latest technology?
A: Absolutely–we have multiple forms of image guidance available, which means that the target is reimaged daily during treatment to ensure the beam is going to the right place; and we have an excellent radiosur-gery machine, the CyberKnife, which can treat ANY site in the body but particularly shines for treatment of lung and upper abdominal tumors, be-cause it tracks respiratory motion. We also have state-of-the-art treatment planning software, which allows us to add together prior radiation plans for patients who may need repeat courses of radiation; enabling us to be sure we don’t give too much total radiation to any point in the body.

Q: Can a patient call and speak directly with their doctor?
A: Yes! Patients typically have personal access to their doctor. Patients are given contact numbers to nurses and doctors who will return calls that day.

Q: What if a patient has an urgent question in the middle of the night?
A: Whenever you call our office, one of our trained staff will answer your questions, and doctors are on call around the clock.

Q: Is parking easy and is there a charge for this?
A: We have ample parking, immediately adjacent to our building, which is fully accessible and free.

Dr. Cherylle Hayes, patient Storm Roberts and Dr. Allison Grow

Dr. Cherylle Hayes, patient Storm Roberts and Dr. Allison Grow

Storm Roberts - When I was diagnosed with cancer, it was like drinking from a fire hose. So much information is thrown your way that it gets confusing. That’s when I knew to contact Dr. Cherylle Hayes. She and her staff helped me navigate through my cancer care. It’s always good to get a second opinion. Dr. Hayes made me appointments with various academic and private centers. After doing my own research I decided on a course of treatment that worked out perfectly for me. Without the help of Dr. Hayes and her staff at North Florida Regional Cancer center I’m not sure what the outcome would’ve been. I’m alive today thanks to their expertise, love and dedication. I trust Dr. Cherylle Hayes and her staff at North Florida with my life.

Paz Kent - After my diagnosis of breast cancer I was referred to Dr. Cherylle Hayes by all the physicians involved in my testing & diagnosis. Originally, my plan was to have a consultation with Dr. Hayes and then request a referral for radiation treatment in a location closer to where we live. The first time I met Dr. Hayes was special! She projected knowledge and confidence and understood my concerns . Her enthusiasm and passion to heal was contagious. My husband & I went home with a better understanding of my case. She answered my questions, relieving my doubts and fears.

We felt comfortable and confident with Dr. Hayes. Together we decided we could not go to anyone else. It’s a significant drive of approximately two hours round-trip for about a 30-minute treatment but it’s well worth that and more. The Center projected a feeling of serenity. The staff and the doctors were welcoming and cheerful. I am thankful to all caregivers including my gynecologist, radiologist, surgeons, pulmonologist, and other physician friends that highly recommended Dr. Cherylle Hayes. They said “she’s a doctor’s doctor too.” That’s high praise indeed! My husband, a lymphoma survivor, and I are blessed.

Dr. Christopher Balamucki and patient, T. W. Stevens

Dr. Christopher Balamucki and patient, T. W. Stevens

T.W. Stevens – I recently received radiation treatment at The Cancer Center, completing therapy in August 2014. I worked for the Veterans’ Affairs service for over 40 years, retiring in 2006. After serving in several direct patient care administrative assignments, including serving as the Administrative Officer of the Shreveport VAMC ER, I was selected for management training and spent my last 31 years as a Service Director at seven different medical centers in addition to holding temporary assignments in Central Office. In 1981 I was selected as a member of a group assigned to develop a customer service training program and sent to the Disney Customer Service Institute. Over a ten-year period my group conducted training for over 2000 employees in proper customer service techniques. The reason I give my resume is that I feel my training and experiences with patients and employees make me well-qualified to judge institutions and their service to the patients they serve. The North Florida Radiation center equals the very best in customer service and all it implies. The friendly and highly educated staff, including the physicians, explained all the procedures in lay terms that would make the least informed comfortable. The parking was great compared to what we faced at the VAMC and Shands facilities. I hope never again to need this type of treatment or any other for cancer, but if I do, North Florida Radiation Oncology would be my choice.

Patient Darrel Fox and Dr. Charles Perkins

Patient Darrel Fox and Dr. Charles Perkins

Ginger Elmore - The people that work in the office are so good to me: I have a relationship with them, they call me by name, and I know their names as well. They care and make sure you understand what is going on with your treatment plan. They have made sure I’m doing well in all aspects of my life! Cancer is a mental challenge for me more than a physical one and they recognize that and address it!! The staff and the doctors are amazing; I would recommend them to anyone and have peace that anyone will be well cared for. I feel like they are my friends. I see them daily for treatments and every day is the same, happy and upbeat.

The facility is very nice, always clean and fresh; the lobby area is very relaxing, and the fresh coffee and the warm cookies make your day so much better. It makes you feel like you are getting a reward, and for some of the people I have met at treatment, the cookies and coffee are the highlight of their day. There is fellowship in the waiting room!

You could not be in better hands than with the caring team of doctors at 
The Cancer Center.

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Cool Holiday Gifts

Kisai Maze by Tokyoflash

Most Watches are plain and boring, but this one from Tokyoflash is definitely one mesmerizing piece! It’s called the Kisai Maze. This isn’t any regular watch, and it will sure cause other people to wonder how you’re reading the time. The watch displays the time in a maze like fashion. It takes a bit of practice to get used to it, but there’s also a simple mode button reveling the time in a standard way. It comes with a leather strap and the face is made of real wood. It also has an always on Display with EL Backlighting so you can see in the dark. This timepiece makes a unique gift and is sure to impress. All this comes at $109. The one in this review is: DarkSandle+GreenLCD.


Keurig 2.0 K550

I never thought a coffee maker could be sexy but this little number is. With its sleek stainless steel looks, touch screen programing and mood lighting in the oversized 80oz. water reservoir, it adds cache to any kitchen. Did I say mood lighting? Yep, the nightlight illuminates the water with several different colors to choose from and it’s programmable to turn on and off whenever you like. The machine comes with a water filter starter kit so your coffee will taste the way it should.

If you have a large family or office you can now make a pot of coffee in the carafe that is double walled for insulation. The Keurig 2.0 comes with a variety of coffee and offers single to family sized K-Cups. For those of you that like a jolt in the morning there is a Strong Brew option.   There are many sizes to choose from. Go from travel mug to expresso, you will find the perfect cup of joe.   We found this starting at $199.99


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Kale: Super Food



Kale is now known as the super food. But why? 5 reasons you should incorporate it in your diet.

1 Anti-Cancer. It contains antioxidants which help your immune system, such as vitamins C and A. It helps you keep a healthy weight.

2 Protects against Heart Disease. It helps fight free radicals and keeps your cholesterol levels in order.

3 Weight Lose. Yes, it can help with this as it makes you feel full. The fiber will kick start your digestive system into gear.

4 Memory. Packed with manganese that will help your brain function better. Clear head leads to a healthy body.

5 Iron. You don’t have to get iron from meat. 100 grams of kale has almost the same amount of iron as red meat. 


Sauteed Kale with Currants & Olives

4 lbs. kale, tough part of stems trimmed
1/2 c. dried currants (can substitute golden raisins) 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. pitted Kalamata olives, thinly sliced
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Cover the dried currants with hot water in a small bowl. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water. Add kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes, then drain. When the kale is cool enough to handle, gently squeeze out any excess water with a lint-free kitchen towel (or using a salad spinner). Coarsely chop the kale (1/4-1/2” strips).

In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up into strips, until well softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and blanched kale and toss thoroughly. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the kale is hot and sizzling, about 3 minutes. Stir in the currants, olives, lemon zest and lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly, until all is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


New Years Eve: Traditions Around the World

Are you wondering what you will do this New Year’s Eve?  Why not incorporate one of these holiday traditions.  Will you be wearing red undies this year?!


Argentina – To attract love wear new pink underwear. At exactly midnight take your first step forward with your right foot…presumably with your pink undies on! This is said to bring you good luck.

Brazil – Wear white to bring good luck for the rest of the year. Jump 7 waves for good luck. People throw flowers into the water as a tribute to Yemanja the goddess of the sea.

Scotland – The First Footer is the first person to set foot into your home on New Year’s day. This person decides the family’s luck for the rest of the year. This was based on the belief of the magic power of beginnings. The person most welcome on new year’s morning was a tall, dark haired man and especially if he brought a gift as this was considered magical as his handsome features would make the year a pleasant one and his gift of a loaf of bread, or a shovel of coal would ensure that there would be no lack of food or warmth in the household.

Spain – Eating one grape for each bell strike at midnight will bring you a year of prosperity. Each grape represents one month. A sweet grape means it will be a good month and a sour grape, a bad month.

France – is called la Saint-Sylvestre and celebrated with Champagne and foie gras. At midnight it is custom for all to kiss under the mistletoe.

Italy – People throw old clothes, pots and pans and other items out the window. Even appliances and furniture! This symbolizes letting go of past unhappiness and clears the way for new beginnings. Wear red underwear! Yep, even men do this to attract… good luck!

Mexico – Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient of the slice with the coin or charm is said to be blessed with good luck in the New Year.

Germany – Lucky charms are traded or given away the night of Holy Sylvester. These lucky charms are usually little chocolate pigs, a symbol of prosperity, but also chocolate clovers, horseshoes and chimney sweeps, a symbol of cleanliness awaiting the New Year.

Japan – Called shogatsu or oshogatsu it is a 3 day holiday.
During this time people visit temples and shrines. Bonekai (“year forgetting parties”) are held with the purpose of leaving the old year’s worries and troubles behind.


Getting to Know the Doctors: Dr. Charles Perkins

Meet the man behind the White Coat, Dr. Charles ‘Trey’ Perkins.  Charles Perkins MD, PhD, obtained his medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine and his PhD in Genetics and Moleular Biology from Emory University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Perkins has extensively researched the use of DNA repair mechanisms as potential biomarkers for predicting response to treatment and as potential therapeutic intervention targets.  The goal of his research is to offer individualized treatment for cancer patients based upon their unique characteristics.

Dr. Charles Perkins is Board Certified is Radiation Oncology and is dedicated to quality care in all dedicated to quality care in all aspects of oncology. His clinical expertise includes Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy, Image Guided Radiotherapy and Brachytherapy, as well as Stereotactic Cranial and Extracranial Radiosurgery for treating both adults and pediatric patients. Dr. Perkins is especially interested in using of brachytherapy (implant or internal radiotherapy) to treat cancer.

Dr. Charles Perkins MD, PhD.

Dr. Charles Perkins MD, PhD.

Getting to know him

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Atlanta, Georgia

Q: What made you want to become a doctor and choose this field of medicine?
A: For my graduate thesis, I researched new therapies for leukemia, and interacted with many physicians who had patient contact. I decided then that while research was important, I wanted to treat patients face to face.

Q:  Do you have kids, pets etc.?
A:  Two very spoiled cats.

Q:  Has cancer affected you personally?
A:  My grandfather died of leukemia when I started graduate school. This more than anything influenced my decision to focus my research on cancer.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Gainesville?
A:  My wife and I enjoy going to shows and watching concerts.

Q:  Do you have a favorite healthy meal?
A:  Vegetable soup

Q:  How do you exercise?
A:  Gym, swim…etc. I have been exercising with the P90X program, and enjoy running, biking, and kayaking.

Q:  How do you get rid of stress?
A:  I have been teaching myself guitar, which is a great stress-reliever.

Q:  What do you listen to in your car on the way to work, country, talk radio-etc., and what is your favorite song?
A:  I listen to new rock/alternative mostly, though I enjoy a wide variety of music, from classical to pop. I also listen to talk radio. It’s difficult to pinpoint my favorite song, but overall I would say Journey’s, ‘ Don’t Stop Believin.’

Q:  What is your favorite movie and why?
A:  Very difficult to name just one, but growing up in the 1980s I‘d say the Empire Strikes Back. My mother took me out of grade school to see it the day it opened in 1980.

Q:  What gadget can’t you live without?
A:  My iPhone and my favorite app is Pandora.

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Affordability of New Homes is Back in Gainesville

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The real estate market CONTINUES to heat up and sales this year are again stronger. Particularly significant is the re-emerging new home market. This market crashed in 2007-2009, after there were no affordable homes in the “hub” of Gainesville- a home for under $280,000 was nowhere to be found. For the last 8 years we have only seen a sliver of the past new home boom with first time homebuyers and those downsizing being able to find and purchase homes they could afford. Many builders have had to leave the new home industry.

The good news is that this segment of the market is back. Builders are returning and homes are available under $200,000 again.  Just outside of Gainesville product in this range can be found at subdivisions like Savanah Station in Alachua where there are homes starting in the $130,000 range.

Twenty minutes from Gainesville purchasers can find new homes in High Spring’s Cinnamon Hills where luxury homes start at $180,000 as well as in Deer Trail in Bronson on ½ acre lots with starting prices under $130,000.

Henry Rabell, Sr Vice President at Bosshardt Realty suggests that there is strong affordability again right in Gainesville. Westchester on NW 43 Street is proof.  Rabell says ” Weschester subdivision is one of the few communities left within the city limits of Gainesville offering affordable energy efficient homes that include Granite counter tops as a standard as well as builder closing cost assistance in the amount of 3% of the homes sales total. These home prices start in the low $170s. Weschester is a pool community just a brisk bike ride from San Felasco preserve State park.”

Another affordable quality community with new homes just west of Tioga is South Pointe.  Trina Christensen, Sales Coordinator is excited about the new standard that South Pointe is setting with energy efficient luxurious homes. Christensen adds, “at South Pointe for an energy efficient maintenance free home; prices start in the $170s. We provide great amenities at an affordable price.”

The past perception that brand new homes are not affordable in Gainesville was accurate; however this has dramatically changed in the past ten years.  There are a few good buys out there for affordable brand new homes amenities.

For more information call Carol Bosshardt at 352-318-9698 or email