Currently there are 12 million cancer survivors – people living with a history of cancer – in the United States, with 8,500 living in Central and Eastern Oregon. Over 1,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed in this area each year. With people from all backgrounds, and a 32,000 square mile service area, the need for cancer support services is tremendous.
In August 2007, a generous donation from the Tour des Chutes organization helped grow the Cancer Survivorship Program at St. Charles Medical Center. With this support now all cancer patients in our region are being impacted positively through a number of coordinated and expanded programs.
Our goal: That every person diagnosed with cancer, or living with a history of cancer, will have access to a variety of supportive, life-affirming programs during treatment and beyond.
A Cancer Survivorship Program Coordinator was hired in August, 2007 to develop an array of comprehensive services for cancer patients and their caregivers by building on established programs, reaching out to local and national organizations, and creating new and innovative support venues. Highlights this past year include:
The Cancer Support Volunteer Program gives patients and their caregivers the opportunity to speak with someone who has “walked in their shoes” through a pilot partnership with the nationally established Cancer Hope Network (CHN). In May, 2008, 34 volunteers representing 21 different cancers were trained by CHN to become support volunteers. (Prior to this partnership only breast cancer patients received this one-on-one level of support through the Sara Fisher Navigator Program.) All volunteers have been out of treatment for at least one year. Local patients or caregivers desiring to talk with a support volunteer can call the Cancer Hope Network at 1-877-HOPE-NET (1-877-467-3638). The partnership was designed to match local callers with local volunteers first. If a local match isn’t available, CHN will attempt to match the caller with one of their additional 350 trained volunteers. The service is free of charge. To date, our local volunteers have been matched with over 160 patients across the nation and continue to receive high praise for their commitment and caring. The partnership has been so successful that CHN is promoting it to other community hospitals nationwide. Another training will be held in Bend in Spring, 2009.
The St. Charles Cancer Treatment Center website was developed to provide resources, improve communication and impart information to patients and survivors.
On-going St. Charles Cancer Treatment Center programs receiving additional support through the Survivorship Program include: the Sara Fisher Breast Cancer Project, cancer support groups, educational programs and special events such as the Soaring Spirits Family Survivorship Camp.
Additional programs under development include Survivorship Care Plans and new media technology.
For more information on the Cancer Survivorship Program, please contact:
St. Charles Cancer Treatment Center
2500 NE Neff Rd., Bend, OR 97701