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'This is a celebration of their lives'

Cancer Center eyes future with upcoming events

The staff of the Cancer Center at Harrington Hospital, which celebrated its first anniversary last month. From left, Jackie Calcia, operations manager, Mary Lovett RN, oncology nurse, Dr. Shakeeb Yunus, hematologist and oncologist, and Heather Staniszewski RN, oncology nurse. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
January 23, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — After celebrating its first anniversary last month, The Cancer Center at Harrington Hospital will continue to celebrate their success with several programs in the next few months.

"Each month, we have posters for our, I hate to put it this way, but, 'Cancer of the Month,'" said Jackie Calcia, Harrington Cancer Center operations manager. "This month is cervical cancer and last month was prostate. It's a tool for making our patients and their families aware of all different types of cancer and to let them know we are here."

The hospital staff makes a large distinction as to what they call their patients. Anyone, from the day they are diagnosed onward, is a cancer survivor. They believe that no one is dying or suffering from or even living with cancer. They are survivors every day of their lives from that point on.

The hospital also runs a "Look Good, Feel Better," program every other month for women. The program helps them pick out wigs and a licensed cosmetologist works with them as they help with the aesthetic side effects from radiation and chemotherapy.

"We're all about patient service," said Calcia. "We try every day to be an advocate for all our patients. You have to realize that when patients walk through our doors, they are very apprehensive. They know they have a terrible disease, possibly life-threatening. They have no idea what they are in for. Immediately, we try to calm them down and relax them. We try to provide them with as much information as possible."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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