Oncology Pioneer to Step into Retirement

There's only been one man at the helm of Radiation Oncology since its inception in 1987, and now that man is stepping into retirement.

Florian Ploch, M.D., medical director of Radiation Oncology for the NorthBay Cancer Center, will retire on Dec. 31. 2018.

Back in the mid-1980s, medical staff treating cancer patients at then-Intercommunity Hospital came to former hospital CEO Gary Passama with an idea: establish a radiation therapy service for hospitalized patients, and he agreed. When the Gateway Medical Plaza was built in 1986, it was designed to house the latest linear accelerator, and Dr. Ploch came from Napa to oversee the newly formed center as its medical director.

Outpatient chemotherapy services became available to NorthBay patients once medical oncology and a clinical trials program were added to the center in the mid-1990s. In 1996, the center became the first civilian facility in Solano County to earn accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.

Over the years, Dr. Ploch has seen radiation oncology become more "targeted" in its ability to diminish tumors, he said, thanks to more sophisticated equipment and increased accuracy in the computing power needed to isolate them.

But, one thing has not changed over the years, he noted. "We have remained true to our original goals: to put the patient first and to keep up with technology. We've been able to do that with the retention of a very good staff and the steady direction of James Long, M.D."

"Dr. Ploch has been the continuing force for the cancer program through many critical changes," said Dr. Long, Cancer Center medical director. "Through his consistent leadership as Cancer Committee Chair, NorthBay Cancer Center has maintained it's certification by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as the first and, for many years, the only certified cancer center in Solano County. His devotion to the best interests of the patients set the standard for years to come. He will be sorely missed."