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The Community Cancer Center: A Unique and Special PlaceThe Community Cancer Center: A Unique and Special Place
In the late 1990s BroMenn Healthcare and OSF Healthcare system took the bold step to create and support a comprehensive cancer center. These healthcare systems put aside any competitiveness to say that together they could improve care for cancer patients. Because of this commitment, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, they need to go to only one place; the Community Cancer Center.
The Center opened its location on Vernon Avenue in Normal, IL in May of 1999. It soon became clear the staff motto inside the Center will be "whatever it takes." From professional education efforts, to monthly community education forums, to work with minority churches, to a wig bank, to prescription grants, to survivor celebrations, the motto is played out. The Community Cancer Center is the place to go to for care and information for any cancer related question or issue.
Lives are being saved and quality of life is improved because of the advanced technology and expert physicians at the Center. Tumors are being reached in new ways with greater success than was possible before the Community Cancer Center was opened. The Center is committed to offering the latest proven technologies so Central Illinois has immediate access to new life saving treatments without leaving the area.
Studies have shown that coordinated, comprehensive care increases cancer survival rates. Our Center has developed programs across the continuum from prevention to survivor services in the spirit of comprehensive care. Whereas in most communities, multiple institutions provide fragmented, duplicated and uncoordinated service; but at the Center, cancer care activities take place under one roof. Nowhere in Central Illinois, and rarely across the country, is there one place in a community where your care is so enhanced and coordinated. At the Cancer Center you can get the care of multiple physician specialties, the latest drug therapies and radiation treatments with a full complement of support services.
Doctors, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, work together, under the same roof to provide lifesaving combination therapies. Patients have access to the newest drug therapies and clinical trials because of the Center and the support given to research programs. Physicians work together to plan care, evaluate standards of care and participate in research. Each month there are eleven multidisciplinary cancer conferences where physicians discuss specific cancer cases to jointly plan the best treatment strategy for that patient. Additionally, the doctors together support a genetic screening program to identify at risk family groups.
Research has shown that multidisciplinary planning improves patient outcomes. For every patient and family, a social worker, dietitian, nurse and chaplain are available to provide the support necessary. Combined, these professionals have more than 5,000 patient visits annually.
- At a time when many people feel lost, the social worker helps patients and family members find resources and coping skills. The Center offers 8 support groups monthly.
- The dietitian provides the community educational programs on healthy eating and cancer prevention but as importantly, develops meal plans and recipes for patients undergoing treatment to maximize strength and decrease side effects.
- The chaplain provides the much needed spiritual care for the cancer journey, sitting with individuals, praying with and for people and facilitating spiritual support groups.
The Library at the Center is a resource for all community members, patients and health professionals. Developed and coordinated by a mother, who learned the importance of information when her child was diagnosed, the Library includes a comprehensive collection of materials. For the first time there is one place for people to go to get information on cancer, located where patients receive treatment.
Fifty percent of cancers can be screened for; and when identified early, survival rates improve dramatically. The Center provides community education on early detection via community programs, printed screening guidelines, sponsorship of screenings and funding for those without the financial resources to pay for the test or procedure.
Scientific evidence suggests that more than half of the cancer deaths nationwide are directly related to tobacco use, nutrition, physical inactivity, obesity and other lifestyle factors and therefore, could be prevented. The Community Cancer Center has been an active participant in efforts to decrease exposure to second hand smoke, has offered numerous nutrition classes on healthy eating for ages 3 and up and for years offered a standing room only cooking class series. The Community Cancer Center is committed to the prevention and early detection of cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need a referral to come to the Community Cancer Center?
- Call the Center (309-451-8500) for more information as some persons need a referral for medical services from their insurance carrier. Many services of the Center do not need a referral.
- Where is the Community Cancer Center located?
- The Center is located at 407 E. Vernon Ave., Normal, IL 61761.
- Do I have to be seeing a doctor at the Community Cancer Center to utilize the support and educational services?
- No, support and educational services are open to all. For a current listing visit www.cancercenter.org
- How do I make a donation to the Community Cancer Center Foundation?
- Contributions can be mailed to Community Cancer Center, 407 E. Vernon Ave., Normal, IL 61761 or credit card donations called to 309-451-8500. Can Cancer be prevented.