Commentary: Carson Tahoe Cancer Resource Center celebrates decade of care
Ten years ago, on Feb. 2, 2000, a vision became a reality. The Carson Tahoe Cancer Resource Center opened its doors to our community and the Northern Nevada region. Housed in the historic Adams House on Minnesota Street adjacent to the former Carson Tahoe Hospital campus, it was the perfect setting for a service that would come to be associated with the kinds of support cancer patients and families needed.
Cancer survivor Ann Proffitt, a hospital employee, knew that our community needed this service. She had experienced, first-hand, the frustration of lacking access to readily available information or guidance through issues of diagnosis and treatment. She realized that if someplace like that existed, patients and families would be empowered through education to become their own best advocates on their cancer journey.
Having the vision, she realized she needed a hospital champion to help her make it real. She found that champion in Elizabeth Jack, M.D., a hospital pathologist. Carson Tahoe Hospital administration realized what a unique and valuable service this was and took steps to save the Adams House from demolition. Soon it was repaired and furnished to provide the comforting, welcoming environment where persons facing a cancer diagnosis can feel comfortable.
Within two years the Cancer Resource Center had won national recognition for education of cancer patients from the National Cancer Institute Cancer Information Service and California Pacific Medical Center. The diagnosed cancer patient can walk in and know that they can learn about the diagnosis, discuss what various treatments involve, understand why they need “so many tests,” learn about community resources, receive financial counseling and assistance, and talk to people who have “been there, done that.” You see, the staff and volunteers of the resource center are all cancer survivors. That means a lot.
The resource center has served thousands of patients, and pioneered programs that are thought of as the standard of care today. Staff and volunteers at the resource center were the first cancer patient navigators.
There are support groups for various diagnoses, a massage therapy program, a yoga program and a healthy healing program to help survivors regain their strength and stamina after completing treatment. All programs are free and supported through the generosity of community donations and grants.
The resource center is now at home in the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center but we have brought everything we are known for with us. Remember, “If the diagnosis is cancer, think of us.”
• Carla Brutico, R.N., O.C.N., is manager of Carson Tahoe Cancer Center. Contact her or Ann Proffitt, supervisor of Carson Tahoe Cancer Resource Center, at 775 445-7500.