When Dr. Jorge Perez opened Sierra Nevada Cancer Center (SNCC) in Carson City in 2002, he quickly realized the need to bring quality cancer care to patients in remote areas of northern Nevada.
“Fighting cancer is hard work for patients,” Perez said in a statement on the SNCC website. “Having to travel hours to a larger city to get the treatment you need is not the best option for many people. We try to make it easier on them.”
Today, the practice has satellite offices in Stateline, Gardnerville and Fallon to make cancer care more accessible to his patients.
“We provide services in rural areas, we are always open and people can be seen as soon as they want to be seen,” Perez said in a phone interview with NNBW.
He makes himself available 24/7 and it is not uncommon for him to take phone calls from patients well after hours. Day or night, his cell phone is always on, he explained.
“It is important to me (to be accessible) because I think that it is important to the patient as well,” he said.
Perez is originally from Columbia and attended medical school at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He later completed internships and residencies in general surgery, internal medicine and pathology in the United Kingdom and at the University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Medical Center and served in a fellowship in oncology/hematology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.
He came to northern Nevada when he started Sierra Nevada Cancer Center.
“It was almost a random event,” Perez said.
He had been working at a private practice in Houston, Texas, when he began looking across the country for new opportunities. While visiting the northern Nevada area, he was attracted to the fact that he could start his own practice.
“It was a challenge, and that was appealing,” Perez said.
He said that it was daunting to open his own practice with no prior knowledge of how to run a business. However, he succeeded and has continued to grow the practice within northern Nevada. Today, he and his staff serves approximately 450 patients a year and sees 13 to 14 new patients every month.
“I enjoy tremendously interacting with patients and seeing them get better,” Perez said.
“It is very scary to have chemotherapy ... a lot of cancers we can’t cure,” he added.
Perez spends three days of the week in Carson City and spends the rest of the time at the three other satellite offices. He does not have any plans to open any other offices at this time. He explained that he would have to bring on another physician to further expand the practice.
“There are not enough hours in the day or days in the week,” Perez said.
For more information on Sierra Nevada Cancer Center, visit www.sierranevadacancer.com or call 775-883-3336.