December 3, 2009

Cancer Center to Begin Seeing Patients

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. - Dec. 3, 2009 - The Cancer Center at Harrington has received approval to treat its first patients, Harrington Hospital announced today.

"We expect to start seeing patients immediately," said Diane Becquart, Director of The Cancer Center at Harrington.

The approval was granted today by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health following a safety and quality review of the facility.

The opening of The Cancer Center at Harrington means that patients in the region will be able to receive comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer treatment close to home, said Harrington Hospital CEO Ed Moore.

"With the opening of The Cancer Center at Harrington, our dream of providing advanced cancer treatment, including both radiation therapy and chemotherapy under one roof, has become a reality," Moore said. "We had our groundbreaking only a little over a year ago, and now cancer patients in our region have an alternative to driving long distances to receive first-rate care."

The Cancer Center at Harrington, operated by Harrington Hospital, provides infusion services (chemotherapy) and is staffed by oncology physicians and oncology nurses. To optimize patient safety, the Cancer Center at Harrington has its own pharmacy suite. The American Cancer Society Resource Room, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, provides a comfortable library-like setting where patients and their families can access literature and use a computer to learn more about cancer treatment. The room is staffed by volunteers who can assist in the research.

"Patients and their families will be able to avail themselves of social work services and counseling to deal with the psycho-social aspects of cancer," Becquart said. "In addition to physicians and oncology nurses, we will have a social worker on site. Our goal is not only to treat cancer but to repair hope.

"We are realizing our vision of a cancer treatment program that focuses on the community," Becquart said. "We are developing a lecture series, and we will have a boutique where local residents as well as our patients undergoing chemotherapy will be able to purchase scarves and wigs.

"Our center will soon add a breast reconstruction surgeon, a pain management center, urology services, reiki and other complementary therapies," Becquart said.
"Harrington has built a state-of-the-art facility with the patient's privacy and comfort in mind," she said. The facility features private and semi-private spaces for infusion services, private examination rooms, and personal touches such as a soothing waterfall display in the main waiting area. The waiting room is also a wireless hot spot, allowing those with WiFi capability on their laptop computer to access the Internet and e-mail.

To make an appointment or learn more about The Cancer Center at Harrington, please call 508-764-2400.

The Cancer Center at Harrington is Harrington Hospital's portion of a two-story facility on the Harrington campus that is called The Central Massachusetts Cancer Center. The Cancer Center at Harrington is on the second floor and Harrington's joint-venture partner, Radiation Therapy Services, Inc., is located on the first floor of the 21,000 square-foot, two-story $14 million facility, situated at the edge of the Harrington Hospital campus in Southbridge.

Radiation Therapy Services, Inc. began offering advanced radiation services at the facility in June 2009. The company employs a CT scanner to determine the exact size of the area to be treated and a state-of-the-art linear accelerator, known as a LinAc, to deliver the radiation. Radiation Therapy Services radiation oncology treatments include Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), which focuses the radiation treatment on the tumor and spares the normal tissue.

"The opening of The Cancer Center at Harrington means we will be able to better serve our patients," said Shakeeb Yunus, an oncology physician who has treated cancer patients at Harrington Hospital for more than three years. "If a patient needs chemotherapy and radiation or other oncology services, with some exceptions, he or she will be able to receive treatment at one attractive suburban location without having to shuffle from one hospital to another, and without having to fight city traffic or look for parking."