Hospital starts work on clearinghouse for cancer information

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Carson City may be a few years away from a literal cancer center, but a cancer resource center is a only a step away.

Members of Carson-Tahoe Hospital's cancer center committee are working on the first leg of a project that would create a one-stop center for cancer information.

Cancer Center Committee Patient Advocate Ann Proffitt is a survivor of breast cancer and knows first hand the importance of having support and information. Proffitt said while Carson City has excellent resources for cancer patients, it's fragmented throughout the community making it difficult for patients to get proper information.

"I'm excited about the resource center," she said. "I'm a seven-year survivor. I didn't know where to turn, what questions to ask my doctor, what was appropriate to ask, what wasn't. When people get cancer, they're afraid of the diagnosis. They don't know there are solutions to the questions they're facing. Even if you know someone in your family has had cancer, you have no range of experience in this. Once you're dealing with it personally, it's a whole different ball game."

The resource center would be located in the hospital-owned Adams house on Minnesota Street. Many patients receive counseling through their doctors, said Dr. Elizabeth Jack and the resource center would provide a place for patients to get counseling, information on everything from therapy and financial aid to options for treatment and support resources.

"When people have a diagnosis of caner, it's easy to lose perspective," Jack said. "They don't know where to turn. There's lots of information out there, but they need help finding it. They need to know there's support out there, and we can help them not lose their perspective and keep the future ahead of them."

Jack and Proffitt said the center would be a place where people could meet other cancer patients as well as get help finding information about their particular disease.

"When I talk to cancer patients, they're so totally lost and most people think they're going to die," Proffitt said. "They don't know how many survivors are out there. They need to see people who have survived this. No matter how strong your family and friend support is, there's something about walking into a room with other cancer patients that gives you hope. It gives (patients) peace of mind in a situation that's totally out of their control."

The resource center is the first step in creating a cancer center, Jack said. The hospital paid $37,000 in September for consultant Mark S. Tanaka of Sacramento, Calif., to study the feasibility of hospital's future cancer center. Tanaka's report is due to the hospital in a few weeks. If Tanaka's report gives Carson the thumbs up as a viable location, construction on the estimated $4 million cancer center could begin next year.

Hospital trustees will consider today giving almost $80,000 to help the the resource center get on its feet. If funding is approved, Jack said she hoped the center would be up and running by January.

If you go:

What: Carson-Tahoe Hospital Joint Meeting of the Building and Finance Committees and the Board of Trustees

When: today, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Pinon Plaza Casino Resort Conference Center, 2171 Highway 50 East, Carson City.

For information on the caner resource center, call Ann Proffitt toll-free at 1-877-284-2627


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