A Canton doctor who treated cancer patients from across Georgia for two decades will long be remembered for showing them kindness and compassion.
Dr. Mehmet Ercan, founder of the former Cherokee Regional Cancer Center, died last Wednesday at the age of 87.
Mehmet, a radiation oncologist, and his wife, Fusun Ercan, opened the Cherokee Regional Cancer Center in Canton in 1987. For 20 years the center provided treatment to patients. Ercan said her husband was the sole doctor at the center and received a great deal of help from staff.
“He came to this country from Turkey with very little and built his practice from the ground up,” she said. “Once the practice was up and running, we were able to find help. We had a physicist and many wonderful nurses working there that helped him serve many counties in Georgia, not just Cherokee.”
Ercan said patients came from as far as the Tennessee border to see her husband specifically because of his work ethic, kindness, and devotion to his patients.
“He was very compassionate with those that came to see him,” she said. “He would go to the waiting room and speak with his patients, joke with them, and walk with them hand-in-hand to the front of the center and back to the rooms for check-ups. He really cared about his patients and the community and he was a consistent presence within the American Cancer Society, donating and helping whenever he could.”
Dr. William Marks, a friend of Mehmet’s, echoed Ercan’s sentiments about Mehmet’s compassion and kindness.
“He was always so kind and caring,” he said. “He was one of the most compassionate people I have ever known. He lived a long life and was a key contributor to our community and an active member in the medical field for a very long time.”
Ercan said that because her husband owned a practice, he had privileges at Northside Hospital and ended up making many friends over the years. The practice became part of Northside Hospital Cancer Institute – Cherokee in 2007, and Mehmet Ercan retired shortly after.
Ercan said her husband was just as kind and compassionate outside of work.
“He was a quiet man, and had a quirky sense of humor,” she said. “He made his jokes with a poker face. He loved to make people laugh and he touched many people’s hearts. He was a great husband and father.”