The Cancer Research and Resource Center of Southern Virginia in Danville moves to new location
The Cancer Research and Resource Center of Southern Virginia in Danville has moved to a new location that is more accessible to cancer patients, survivors and their families and caregivers. After four years at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, the office now resides in Danville’s Main Street community at Kennedy Hall, 103 S. Main Street, formerly part of Stratford College.
An outreach office of Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center with funding provided by Massey and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, the Cancer Resource Center continues with its mission: To actively engage with the communities of Southside Virginia to improve the health and well-being of community residents as it relates to cancer, with the goal to advance cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship. The Cancer Resource Center is also committed to fostering an open conversation about cancer research and community engagement in cancer studies.
With the guidance of local medical professionals, the Cancer Resource Center’s coordinators, Charlotte Litzenberg and Melanie Vaughan, program coordinator, Kathy Hurt, and marketing and communications coordinator, Dianne Whittle, work to address the specific cancer needs of particular areas within the Danville region, and to promote services that are of the greatest help to residents affected by cancer. Initially, a Cancer Task Force comprising local cancer providers was formed to focus on local resources first.
The Cancer Resource Center has more recently added a large research focus to its mission. The first research project, which began in May and ended in September, was led by Andrew Barnes, Ph.D., from the VCU Department of Healthcare Policy and Research. It was an exciting study assessing the populations’ understanding of the Affordable Care Act and how people make decisions about purchasing health insurance.
“Our affiliation with VCU Massey Cancer Center opens doors to opportunities for studies, clinical trials, educational opportunities and resources,” says Vaughan.
Since 2012, the Cancer Resource Center has hosted an on-going cancer-related series of lunch-time programs and activities such as the free Keeping Well Series: For those concerned with cancer prevention and survivorship. The series has grown in popularity with as many as 100 participants learning about such topics as what’s new in nutrition, how acid reflux affects your health, skin cancer awareness and prevention, and the effectiveness of vitamins and supplements. The programs are cancer related, but benefit all. The dynamic speakers are experts in their fields and graciously donate their time.
Currently, the Cancer Resource Center is working with area hospitals, medical offices, nursing schools and public school systems throughout Southern Virginia to provide education about the highly preventable cancers that can develop in both men and women from the human papillomavirus (HPV), for which there is a safe and effective vaccine. As with the measles and Tdap vaccines, it is recommended that boys and girls get this series of three shots starting at age 11 for better immune response and before they are exposed to the virus.
In another initiative, Early Detection Saves Lives, the Cancer Resource Center is preparing to visit businesses throughout Southern Virginia to show how early detection and screenings are good for long-term health, which is good for business too.
The Cancer Resource Center has recently launched a couple of peer-to-peer support groups for anyone touched by cancer: Step by Step, in partnership with Danville Regional Medical Center, which is a weekly walking group, and Throw Paint at Cancer, funded by Danville Regional Medical Center and hosted at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History.
The Cancer Resource Center also provides packets about specific cancers and brochures on local transportation resources, coping and support and hospice myths and facts. It’s coordinators are available to speak at various church groups and organizations about how the Center can connect area cancer patients with local cancer resources.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there about cancer and its various treatments,” says Litzenberg. “We encourage anyone with cancer to contact us and let us help guide them through this journey – from diagnosis to treatment to recovery and support. We’ve organized and distributed over 1,000 packets of cancer information.”