WARREN - With the combination of the newest technology and the expertise and support of the medical staff, cancer patients coming to the Cancer Center at Humility of Mary Health Partners are ensured their needs will be met.
The center, which opened 17 years ago at 667 Eastland Ave. S.E., Warren, provides medical and radiation oncology and various cancer services for patients age 18 and older battling all forms of cancer.
Sarah Varner, a licensed independent social worker, said the center offers prevention and early detection, diagnosis and treatment, clinical research, rehabilitation and end-of-life care.
Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland
Charlotte Traenkle, a staff secretary, left, and Sarah Varner, a licensed independent social worker, both with the Cancer Center at Humility of Mary Health Partners in Warren, are in the radiation treatment room for cancer patients at the center. The radiation room is where cancer patients receive treatment.
Charlotte Traenkle, staff secretary, said the center also does hematology and blood-related illness services.
"We see patients sometimes each day who are currently in treatment," Varner said. "They could be getting radiation treatment or chemotherapy."
Varner said the overall goal is to get the patient into remission.
- Warren Relay For Life:?May 10 and 11 at Courthouse Square
- Liberty Relay For Life: May 17 and 18 at Churchill Park
- Austintown Relay For Life: June 7 and 8 at Fitch High School stadium
- Cortland Relay For Life: June 7 and 8 at Lakeview High School stadium
- Lordstown-Newton Falls Relay For Life: June 14 and 15 at Newton Falls High School stadium
Patients needing radiation or chemotherapy would see the nurses and physicians at the center as well as the medical assistants and nurse practitioners on site.
Varner's duties include directly working with patients and addressing any of the needs they may encounter through their cancer journey such as financial issues, emotional needs, transportation, advanced care planning and end of life.
Traenkle's duties include scheduling appointments and chemotherapy treatments and visits with the doctors and any testing the patients may need such as catscans and MRIs.
"Some of the patients' cancer types may require they be seen by specialists," Varner said.
Traenkle said the center sees a lot of lung, breast and colon cancer patients.
"It seems like the patients are getting younger," she said. "You used to think of cancer affecting only older people, but the patients are getting younger."
Traenkle said there have been patients with testicular and lung cancer in their 20s and 30s.
"The push for prevention and detection has definitely increased the volume of patients because the cancer is being detected earlier and able to be treated sooner so the patient has a better outcome," Varner said.
The center has exam rooms, treatment rooms and the radiation treatment room.
The Trumbull site was the first to offer IMRT and CT simulation. A new CT scanner with detailed 3D images enables physicians to effectively detect and treat cancer. A redesigned PET/CT system optimized for cancer care provides physicians with more sensitivity, speed, resolution and diagnostic confidence when diagnosing cancer patients.
The facility has an outdoor healing garden where patients can relax. Varner said the medical oncology exam and treatment rooms face the garden so patients in the rooms can look out directly to see the birds, flowers and gardens.
Traenkle said there are also large bird feeders outside the room windows.
"The garden has many places were people can walk and sit and reflect," Varner said.
The garden walkway has bricks that patients' families can purchase in honor of or to celebrate a loved one, Varner said. People can also purchase a tree or small statue in honor or in memory of someone.
"Many of the items in the garden were donated by different patients' families to honor them,'' said Traenkle.
The center, which has a staff of 30, including radiation and hematologist oncologists, has been very involved for many years with American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. The lobby is decorated with Relay plaques and awards that the center has received for its participation.
The St. Joseph Cancer Care Team from the center will participate at the Warren Relay this Friday. The team's theme this year is "A Christmas Blessing for a Cure."
Varner said the center holds ongoing fundraisers year round which include selling bottled water, bake sales, garage sales, candy bar sales, Chinese auction baskets, and other events.
She said the center has had a team for 17 years and most years has won the award for the team that registers the most cancer survivors.
Traenkle said there are patients and their family members who will help the team by sewing or crocheting or making a basket for the raffle.
Varner said for many of the patients who come to the center, getting to see the staff in a social environment outside the work setting "is very encouraging and positive for them."
"A lot of the patients tell us they feel we are part of their family," Traenkle said. "They enjoy spending time with us outside of the center and not having to think of their treatments."
Varner said the Relay team helps raise funds for the American Cancer Society, and although funds go the ACS and not the center, patients are referred to the ACS for support.
Varner said patients needing ancillary services such as home care or meal services are referred to an agency that can help them.
Varner said the center has an internal fundraiser currently called the ''Rose Club'' to do a renovation for the center which includes expanding and renovating the patient treatment rooms to make them more tranquil and comfortable.
In addition to the Warren location which offers comprehensive services to patients in Trumbull County and western Pennsylvania, there is the St. Elizabeth Boardman Cancer Center serving Mahoning and Columbiana counties. The Partners for Urology Health serves prostate patients and is located in Austintown.