Cancer Centers Contribute to Patients and the Community

While the large cancer hospitals do amazing work, I am extremely grateful for my local cancer center.

I have written several articles about being on a Patient Advisory Committee for a new cancer center located in my area. I realized I wrote from the perspective of a cancer patient but failed to present how important the center is to the community.

I was privileged to attend a Chamber of Commerce dinner in my hometown, where an award was given to the medical center for what it was doing for our community. I realized then how myopic I have been. There were several great agencies to praise that received awards that evening. These places included a food bank, a diaper bank, a school for exceptional children and several more.

We are the largest cancer center in our area covering several rural areas. Aultman even has a house where the local Amish families can stay, since they aren’t allowed to drive and must pay a driver. The center cooperates with larger medical centers in Cleveland including the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital of Case Western. These places are an hour away and through this collaboration, the patients do not have to drive several hours for treatments that are now available locally.

The nurses, doctors and staff live here and understand the community. Their children attend the same schools; we shop at the same places and go to the same restaurants. We certainly value and treasure our large research centers like MD Anderson, Cleveland Clinical, Mayo Clinic and other well-known centers. However, according to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1.9 million new cases diagnosed by the end of 2022 in the United States. We need all the places we can get to help us, and the large centers cannot do it all.

The larger centers are invaluable in setting up protocols, providing new treatments and research findings and consulting with the local centers. But the local hospitals know the patients, are in rural areas and administer treatments and monitor their patients.

What a benefit these cancer centers are whether big or small, rural or urban, local or regional. We need to take advantage of both the local and regional centers. I am grateful to both and feel all the cancer centers deserve any awards and accolades they can get!

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