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Award-winning cancer care in Richmond, Virginia

Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Johnston-Willis Hospital offers comprehensive oncology services in central Virginia. When you choose Johnston-Willis as your cancer care provider, you gain resources from the global cancer institute of HCA Healthcare.

Together, we are redefining cancer care so each person facing cancer can fight the disease with the help of their own community, friends and family nearby.

For cancer-related questions, or to learn more about our cancer center, call askSARAH 24/7 at (804) 591-4152.

Every detail of our cancer center was designed to make your course of treatment as convenient and comfortable as possible. While other facilities may ask you to visit different locations for diagnosis, treatment, surgery and follow-up appointments, we have integrated these critical components of your care plan under one roof—just a few steps from free valet parking and designated parking for patients undergoing treatment.

Several national accrediting institutions have recognized Johnston-Willis for our excellence in cancer care. Our accreditations and awards include:

Comprehensive cancer support

At Johnston-Willis, you have access to a multidisciplinary team of cancer experts and the global cancer resources of Sarah Cannon, including:

  • Medical oncologists

  • Oncology-certified nurses

  • Specialized pharmacists

  • Oncology social workers

  • Chaplains

  • Dietitians

  • Oncology nurse navigators

  • Clinical trials

  • The Hawthorne Cancer Resource Center

  • Cancer survivorship planning

  • Support groups

  • Pet therapy

Oncology nurse navigators

A cancer diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming. At Johnston-Willis, our oncology nurse navigators are dedicated to guiding you through the treatment process by acting as an educator, a source of support and a liaison between you and our multidisciplinary team of oncology specialists working to get you on the path to recovery.

Types of cancer we treat

At Johnston-Willis, our oncologists and cancer specialists have experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of cancers, including:


Our oncology team will perform exams to determine the stage of your cancer, which helps guide your treatment plan. All cancers are staged from stage I to stage IV. Stage I is a very localized cancer, while stage IV indicates the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. Early detection of cancer is critical to achieving the best possible outcome for every patient.

Accredited Breast Cancer Program

Recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancers (NAPBC), Johnston-Willis' breast health experts screen, diagnose and treat a variety of breast cancers in both men and women.

Certified Brain Tumor Program

Johnston-Willis offers a Certified Brain Tumor Program for cancerous and noncancerous brain tumors. Patients travel from all over for our brain tumor expertise.

Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer

Gastrointestinal cancer, also called GI cancer, affect the organs in your body that are part of the digestive system. We treat many types of GI cancers.

Gynecologic cancer

It is best to seek treatment from an oncologist specializing in gynecology if you have been diagnosed with any kind of gynecological cancer. Our oncology team provides expert care for individuals with gynecological cancers.

Head and neck cancer

At Johnston-Willis, our oncologists treat a variety of head and neck cancers, including those that affect the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity and salivary glands.

Skin cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed every year. We treat multiple types of skin cancer, including but not limited to:

  • Basal cell carcinoma

  • Squamous cell carcinoma

  • Melanoma

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer develops from the tissues of the thyroid gland (the organ at the front of the neck that forms the Adam's apple). At Johnston-Willis, we use the least invasive therapies available to treat thyroid cancer at the earliest stage possible.

Metastasized cancers

Cancers that have spread from the primary site to other areas in the body are called metastasized cancers. Johnston-Willis' oncologists have extensive experience treating various types of metastasized cancers. Your dedicated healthcare team will deliver advanced care in a supportive manner, guiding you and your family throughout your cancer journey.

Cancer treatment options

Using the latest advances in medicine and care, we provide effective treatments to treat the whole person, not just the disease. At Johnston-Willis, your personalized care plan may include:

  • Surgery

  • Radiation therapy

  • Radiofrequency ablation

  • Infusion therapies, such as chemotherapy

  • Nutritional counseling

  • Psychosocial oncology and distress assessment

  • Palliative care services to relieve symptoms and side effects

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy at HCA Virginia-affiliate Chippenham Hospital

  • Inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and cancer rehabilitation

Surgical oncology

Surgery remains a key component of cancer care and is the most common treatment option for many patients. Surgery may be performed to diagnose cancer, remove a tumor, support cancer-related procedures (such as inserting a chemotherapy port) or reconstruct damaged tissue.

We use minimally invasive surgery techniques whenever possible, including robotic surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Chemotherapy, biotherapy and infusion therapy

We offer both inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy, biotherapy and infusion therapy services.

Chemotherapy and biotherapy use powerful medications to treat cancer by destroying cancer cells or stopping them from growing. These medications can be delivered in several ways, including orally, through an IV or through an injection into the skin, muscle or artery.

Infusion therapy delivers medications through a catheter. Some therapies deliver medication to all cells, and some procedures focus on a specific organ or location in the body.


Immunotherapy provides medication to stimulate or boost a person's immune system to destroy cancer cells. It can also help the immune system recognize and fight the tumor. This is a new field of cancer treatment with many exciting developments for the future of cancer care.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to minimize or kill cancer cells. Types of radiation therapy we offer include external-beam radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy and brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy)

Johnston-Willis is the only hospital in central Virginia to have and use the Gamma Knife®, a painless, minimally invasive stereotactic radiosurgery tool for treating brain tumors and other neurological conditions.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive treatment that may be used when surgery is not the best option for certain types of cancer. RFA involves inserting a fine needle into the tumor to deliver high-frequency electrical energy, which heats and destroys the tumor without affecting the healthy tissue nearby.

Cancer care outcomes

Johnston-Willis is committed to providing the highest-quality cancer care, which includes providing a report on oncology program outcomes to the public. Below is information on two different programs from 2018.

Colon cancer screening event

A triannual community needs assessment identified a higher rate of colorectal cancers in our area compared with the remainder of the state, according to State Cancer Profiles from 2009-2013. Colorectal cancer is one of the top five types of cancers treated at Johnston-Willis.

This program was marketed to area locals in the appropriate age range affected by this type of cancer and was presented featuring discussion by a gastrointestinal physician, registered dietician and a registered nurse. Participants met with oncology RNs one on one to discuss their particular risk factors, both those that can or cannot be modified. Participants were given hemoccult cards and instructions how to collect a sample at home with instructions to return specimen to lab for processing.


Purpose of the program:

  • Evaluate each person’s individual risks for developing colorectal cancer through use of National Cancer Institute evaluation tool

  • Meet one on one with participants to discuss their risk factors

  • Provide education on how to prevent colorectal cancer through diet, exercise and reduction in obesity

  • Discuss use of colonoscopy and other methods of screening

  • Provide hemoccult cards as a method of screening with instruction on how to use them and how to return the completed test to our lab for processing


Program results:

  • Six participants out of 20 returned sample for processing; all six were negative

  • Participants received letter informing them of results

  • Recommendations for continuing follow up per guidelines were provided


Of the 20 participants, 19 completed an evaluation of the screening program and 15 of those 19 rated it as Excellent. Additionally, 75 percent of the participated stated they would change some part of their self-care, most often diet, with an increase in fresh fruit and vegetables.

Quality study of HDR and EBRT treatment for gynecology oncology patients

There is a high incidence of gynecology oncology patients with complaints of cystitis and diarrhea when treated with external beam radiation treatment (EBRT) or brachytherapy (HDR), including vaginal cylinder or tandem and ring.

Study parameters:

Charts for 66 patients that received radiation therapy for gynecologic cancers of endometrium and cervix from January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 were reviewed. Of the 66 patients, 24 received only HDR treatment while 39 patients were treated with a combination of EBRT and HDR.

Study findings:


  • 24 patients were treated with HDR alone in three fractions, discharged, then returned for follow up a month later with no complaints

  • Of nine tandem-and-ring patients that were treated with both EBRT and HDR: two received EBRT elsewhere and one had a colostomy and long-term indwelling catheter prior to starting radiation therapy; of these, the side effects documented were from medication received during radiation therapy and not from cystitis or diarrhea

  • Six patients had complaints of cystitis and diarrhea, with varying severity


The conclusions drawn from the study were that patients treated with brachytherapy and EBRT experience varying degrees of cystitis and diarrhea, and no delay in treatment, missed appointments or hospitalization resulted from these toxicities. Referrals to a dietitian were given as needed, and the nursing staff provided further education on diet and nutrition.


About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

Johnston-Willis Hospital is part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare. Our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis, to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally-trusted care with the support of a globally-recognized network.

askSARAH helpline

Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially-trained nurses are available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (804) 591-4152 or chat online at

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