By DENISE GRANT
Blanchard Valley Health System has announced plans to build a $4.25 million comprehensive regional cancer center at EasternWoods Outpatient Services, on Findlay’s east side at 15900 Medical Drive South.
The health system’s board voted to build the center to adjoin the radiation therapy center at EasternWoods.
“A comprehensive community cancer center will allow us to consolidate many cancer services in one location and add support services that patients and their loved ones need during cancer treatment and recovery,” said Kimberly Benson, director of oncology services. “With this expansion, patients will have one location to receive exceptional cancer care in Findlay.”
Construction is expected to begin this year.
EasternWoods already houses radiation therapy and a medical oncologist. The cancer center will make room for a second oncologist, a care navigation nurse, infusion and nutrition specialists, a research nurse, labs, a financial counselor and a pharmacist.
Benson and Dr. Eric Browning, a surgeon with Findlay Surgical Associates, 300 W. Wallace St., said the new center is being designed to offer both comfort and care to those whose lives are affected by cancer. A quick look at the statistics shows that’s pretty much everyone.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in two men will develop cancer during their lifetime. For women, the odds are only slightly better, one in three.
“So if you don’t get cancer, chances are good that you know someone who does,” Benson said.
Browning said the high rates can be attributed to much longer lifespans. He said age remains the number one indicator of cancer risk.
The health system has already earned accreditation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive care.
Benson said a more comprehensive approach to care is recommended by the commission, and has been advocated by the hospital’s own committee on cancer.
“Having one place where a cancer patient can receive all of their services is just so much better and more comfortable. No running around town from office to office. It’s local. It’s convenient,” Benson said.
Comfort counts, Benson and Browning said.
“A diagnosis like that means your world just blew up,” Benson said.
Browning said services such as a financial counselor to help manage the “tremendous expense,” or a nurse to track and schedule appointments and coordinate care, can help ease the burden.
Browning said the center will even offer counseling in “survivorship.”
“Someone has just beat cancer and they want to move on, but there is a lot to consider,” Browning said.
Cancer treatment can have long-term health consequences, even for those who survive the disease.
“We need to be able to keep track of all that. We need to know what tests are needed and when they need to be done. A lot of this has been left to the family doctors in the past,” Browning said.
Both Benson and Browning used the words “comfort and cure.”
“It’s our mission and our promise,” Browning said.
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