Radiation Oncologist Dr. Tod Speer Getting Back to Patient Care at the Willmar Regional Cancer Center

Published in Cancer Care, Medical Professionals Tag: Tod Speer, MD  

Author: Staff

The Willmar Regional Cancer Center’s (WRCC) newest radiation oncologist Dr. Tod Speer is used to Midwestern living. He grew up near Chicago and most recently lived in Madison, Wis., where he worked at the University School of Medicine as a clinical assistant professor in human oncology.  Though he enjoyed his job, he decided he wanted to get back to a private practice where he could focus on taking care of patients.

“Working in oncology in an academic setting was always a whirlwind of activity.  You’re teaching medical students, seeing patients, lecturing, participating in clinical trials or even writing books,” Dr. Speer said. “I really wanted to get back to what I love the most about medicine—taking care of patients and their families.”

After making the decision to leave the academic sphere, Dr. Speer and his family hoped to find an opportunity in a more tight-knit community.  That led him to Willmar and WRCC. Though he is employed by Allina Health, he cares for patients at the WRCC. As a radiation oncologist, Dr. Speer works with patients undergoing radiation treatment, which is used to treat a wide variety of cancers.

“When I was interviewing, I was looking at a number of healthcare centers across Minnesota and Wisconsin, but I was so impressed by the Willmar Regional Cancer Center. The willingness of the administration to support—and grow—the program was something I hadn’t seen anywhere else.  The referral base of physicians was icing on the cake,” Dr. Speer said.

Of all the places he considered, he quickly realized WRCC was where he wanted to be.

“The cancer center serves such a vital role to the region.  They’ve done so much and yet there is still room for growth which is really exciting to me,” he said.  “The environment both at the cancer center and in the community is exactly what we were looking for—a wide variety of churches to choose from, area lakes and a hockey program for my youngest son.”

While it was a great fit for him professionally, it was also the kind of place he could really see his family fitting in.

A father of four, Dr. Speer and his family are looking forward to getting more involved in the community.  And he is looking forward to spending more time his with his family.  His wife and youngest two children made the move to Willmar with him.His two oldest are grown and living on their own.

“It’s so different from living in a larger city like Madison—and that’s a great thing.  Now that my family is here, we’ll spend some time exploring the area, checking out local lakes, getting involved with our new church and everything else the Willmar area has to offer,” he said.

When it comes right down to it, it’s the kindness of those around him that have made his transition to a new town and his role at the WRCC so enjoyable.

“The most amazing part of being a part of this community is the people. Everyone is so personable and inviting.  My first few weeks here, I was on my own and fellow staff were inviting me to dinner or to hockey games to see the Willmar Cardinals play,” Dr. Speer said.“Everything about Willmar has this kind Midwestern hospitality.  This is my kind of town.”