'An exciting time for oncology'

Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc. A rendition of the proposed Carson Tahoe Cancer Center at night as designed by Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc.

Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc. A rendition of the proposed Carson Tahoe Cancer Center at night as designed by Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc.

The steel beams are rising on a Carson City cancer center, which medical officials promise will ease the burden on patients tugged around the region to get the care they need.

Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare officials say the new $11.2 million Carson Tahoe Cancer Center will put five different services under one roof. And that roof over a 33,000-square-foot, two-level center is expected to be completed in September. Located in the new hospital campus off Medical Parkway in north Carson, it will be the only fully accredited, free-standing cancer center in Nevada.

Carla Brutico, manager of cancer services for Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare, said the center will offer two new treatments, one that cuts six to eight weeks off radiation treatment for young women in the early stages of breast cancer.

"There are a percentage of patients in rural areas who opt to have the breast taken rather than to have breast conservation treatment," she said. "They'd rather not have the cost and have to travel five days a week for radiation for normally six to seven weeks."

Brutico, who is a cancer nurse, said a new option is called Mammosite, which only requires the patient to receive radiation doses twice a day for five days.

"This is a very exciting time for oncology with the new treatment being developed and used every day," she said.

Another new treatment doctors plan to perform in the new cancer center is Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. This treatment allows the technicians to modify the dose of radiation to the patient throughout the treatment. Less radiation to normal tissue means fewer side effects.

It's often the side effects that wear a cancer patient down.

Cancer survivors Kory Davis and Myrna Vindum struggled with fatigue while trying to figure out their diseases.

Vindum, a 64-year-old breast cancer survivor, said when she walked into the Adams House, which housed the Cancer Resource Center, she was shocked to see a healthy survivor.

Ann Proffitt, the founder of the resource center, taught her how to use the Internet and encouraged Vindum to attend support meetings.

"The doctors were very nice, but they are scared of talking about anything except statistics because they might get sued," she said. "Then you go home and you are so scared of this big elephant in the bathroom. I saw a parade of doctors and I was scared and I'm a strong woman."

She said the resource center, which will be moved to the cancer center, helped her recovery.

Davis, a 46-year-old skin cancer survivor, said his family suffered as much as he, because of the worry and the travel between doctors.

"Our children will be the ones who benefit from this the most," he said about the cancer center.

-- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

Inside the center

Carson Tahoe Cancer Center will house:

• The Cancer Resource Center, a library for information about cancer and space for support groups. Wellness classes, counseling and clinical trials will also be here.

• A blood draw station.

• Two private-practice medical oncology offices. Dr. John Kelly is expected to lease one space.

• An ambulatory infusion center. The center will open with four chairs for chemotherapy treatment with the capacity for up to 13 patients.


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