Article courtesy Herbert Atienza, Media Relations Specialist, Loma Linda University Health
With the release of 120 butterflies to signify the metamorphosis of its cancer programs, Loma Linda University Cancer Center will dedicate the Inland Empire’s premier Women’s Cancer and Surgical Oncology Center on Wednesday, March 20. The public is invited to attend the ceremony at 11 a.m. in front of the Schuman Pavilion on the LLUMC campus. Tours of the new Center will immediately follow.
The new Women’s Cancer and Surgical Oncology Center provides personalized patient care in a setting designed to encourage coordination and communication among all participants in a patient’s treatment – including physicians, nurses, therapists, surgeons, counselors, and the patients and their families themselves. The center also continues Loma Linda’s strong, historical commitment to medical research and assures patients have access to the latest advances in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.
“We’ve created the only center of its kind not only in the Inland Empire but within a 60-mile radius of the hospital,” said Cancer Center Executive Director Judy Chatigny. “The center creates a one-stop shop that allows patients easy access to many of Loma Linda’s nationally known oncology services including medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, as well as support services.”
As Director, Mark Reeves, M.D., explains, “The center brings together – both physically and figuratively – gynecology and surgical oncologists with medical and surgical oncologists in a collaborative way that ensures comprehensive, seamless care for the patient. Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan that is developed and reviewed through the collective input of medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and an entire team of specialists. Each plan is based on a patient’s diagnosis, values and life circumstances.”
Helping implement this treatment plan is a team of specially trained nurse navigators who help guide the patient through the continuum of care and provide patients the support and education they need to prepare for treatment and ongoing monitoring. The center also encourages the involvement of families throughout the course of treatment, including during clinical as well as educational visits.
“We also place high value in the non-medical dimensions of care,” said Dr. Reeves. “As a result, our center focuses on treating the whole person through support groups, exercise programs, access/referral to social work, dieticians, psychological services, spiritual support and other long-term needs of each patient.”
To help patients better understand their diagnosis, the center includes a user-friendly cancer resource center (supported by a cancer resource coordinator) which provides the latest information from the American Cancer Society and other well-respected sources. In addition, a cancer-help kiosk, linked directly to the National Cancer Institute’s database, allows patients and their families’ easy access to comprehensive cancer information, including treatment options, potential side effects, medications and supportive care.
Also unique to the center is its comforting environment, which brings “nature indoors” through the use of soothing color palette, artwork focused on nature and using natural elements, fabrics and furnishings selected to be more “hospitable” and less hospital, wood flooring to minimize noise, private rooms, and carefully placed furniture and computer screens to ensure privacy.
Adjacent to the medical and surgical centers is Loma Linda University Cancer Center’s Proton Treatment and Research Center, the first hospital-based proton therapy center in the world. Established in 1990, today the center uses proven-effective proton beam technology for many types of cancers, and has treated more patients than any other proton treatment center in the world.