WARREN - The Cancer Care Center at Trumbull Memorial Hospital, which has its own building after being located inside the hospital for many years, offers the latest in radiation treatment and therapy to patients, officials said.
Luana Andamasaris, a registered nurse in radiation oncology, said the center provides treatment for all forms of cancer for adult patients.
Darla Habosky, lead therapist, said state-of-the-art radiation treatment is provided featuring the latest in treatment planning with new computer tomographer (CT) simulation, which helps detect cancer more easily.
Luana Andamasaris, a registered nurse in radiation oncology, Sue Silvis, secretary /receptionist, and Darla Habosky, lead radiation therapist, set up a display at the Cancer Care Center at Trumbull Memorial Hospital of awards they have received in the past 20 years for participating at the Relay For Life in Warren.
''The center was originally located in the hospital since the 1960s. We moved to our new location seven years ago for easier access for the patients,'' Habosky said.
The center is in the hospital's Medical Professional Building, 1353 E. Market St., directly across from the hospital, and connected to it by the walking bridge over Market Street.
''When we got new equipment, we moved over here. It provides much easier access to the patients who can park and come in the front door to the center, which is on the first floor,'' Andamasaris said.
Today the center sees between 25 and 30 patients daily.
In past years, the hospital's auxiliary has helped get equipment for the center as it does for the main hospital.
Habosky said Community Health Systems has in recent years been making all kinds of improvements at the hospital, including new equipment for the center.
She said the center will offer lung cancer screenings with low-dose CT scanners, which are better able to detect cancer.
Andamasaris said the patients who are high-risk will be able to get a prescription from their doctor and come to the center for lung cancer screening.
She said lung cancer is among the main cancers handled by the center, in addition to breast cancer.
Habosky said there is a breast health navigator on site, who helps patients throughout their breast cancer process.
The two said the center was designed in a way that would create a ''relaxed, focused-on-the-patient atmosphere,'' as patients are often fearful and nervous.
The center has also participated for the past 20 years in the American Cancer Society's Warren Relay For Life since its inception. The staff and family of the staff have been on the team.
Andamasaris said this year's team had 33 team members and 70 cancer survivors, with the team name TMH Happy Campers and the motto ''Celebrating Smore Cures.'' A camping-like scene was set up at the relay, called TMH Camp Cure.
She said the team won the Silver Survivors Award, given to any team that has more than 250 years of survivorship on their team combing all the years of the cancer survivors.
''This year's relay had a new luminaria ceremony where more of the teams took part and read the names of survivors or those who have passed. It was very meaningful,'' Andamasaris said, noting the luminaria was set up inside the survivor's tent.
Habosky said many of the survivors are amazed at the relay and all the people who come together.
''The survivor lap is very emotional for a lot of them because they see everyone applauding them as they go around the track. It's tearful for so many,'' Andamasaris said.
She said one of the biggest changes in 20 years is the number of survivors who attend is growing.
''There are so many patients we have touched and helped at the center and to see them there as survivors is wonderful,'' Andamasaris said.
In past years, the team has had such themes as ''Roman for a Cure,'' and has received such honors as first place for Best Banner and Spirit of the Relay Award.
The two said they are honored to be part of a relay that is number one in the state and eighth in the nation.
Andamasaris said the American Cancer Society has an office in the center.
As for treating cancer patients, Habosky said the technology has grown continually every year.
''The key today is treatments with less side effects,'' she said.
Andamasaris said the number of drugs available to treat patients has also increased with more research by the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Roger Takars, a board-certified radiation oncologist, checks all the patients. The radiation oncology team includes Takars as well as a physicist, therapists, oncology-certified nurses and a dosimetrist.
The staff use, in addition to the CT simulator, linear accelerators and image-guided therapy.
Andamasaris and Habosky said they and other staff do what they can to be as supportive and compassionate as possible.
''We get them gifts or some treat bags for the holidays and show we support them,'' Andamasaris said.
''It can be a frightening experience, and we want to make it comfortable for them,'' Habosky said.
Andamasaris said the staff has received cards from patients who thank them for helping to make something so scary more relaxing and less of an unpleasant experience for them.
Various support groups meet at the center including a general cancer support group, a man-to-man support group for prostate cancer, and a breast cancer support group. Each meets once a month.
''At the meetings patients are better able to relate to one another knowing that they are not alone in what they have been going through,'' Habosky said.
For information, call 330-841-9399.