Vernon Cancer Center Opening Soon




Community Open House on Saturday, October 3 from 9am – 12 noon

NEWTON, Mass. (September, 2009) – When 30-year-old Anne Meisner of Natick was going through cancer treatment a few years ago, she had to drive a total of 1200 miles, pay for parking, gas and tolls and had to find childcare for her toddler and infant sons. It took half her day, five days a week, for six weeks. All for a treatment that lasted five minutes.

I started panicking months ahead about the childcare expense. Had Newton-Wellesley Hospital offered radiation back then, my routine and my children’s routine would have been significantly less disrupted,” said Meisner. “My life would have been more normal at a time I desperately needed to feel normal.”
Newton-Wellesley Hospital officially cut the ribbon on its state-of-the-art cancer center, paving the way for patients like Meisner and others in the western suburbs to receive comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer services close to home- all under one roof.
We want the Cancer Center to be the focal point for supportive care,” said Jeffrey Wisch, MD, Medical Director of the Vernon Cancer Center, Associate Chief of Hematology/Oncology and Director of Inpatient Oncology. “We hope to further develop our existing services to help our patients and their families cope with this disease. All of the services we provide have the same mission – providing support and helping patients and their families deal with cancer. Treating cancer is not just about treating a disease, it’s about treating the whole person and their family.”
In America, one half of all men and one third of all women will develop cancer in their lifetime – a startling statistic. In Massachusetts, public health officials have predicted that the number of cancer patients will increase 18 percent from 2000-2010, and that prediction is already being realized. Health officials also report that the number of Massachusetts residents with cancer will soon outstrip the capacity of available radiation facilities.
Newton-Wellesley Hospital has always had a strong tradition of providing excellent medical care for cancer patients, including general oncology, surgery and chemotherapy. The missing piece has been radiation therapy. Since 50% of all cancer treatment requires radiation, this is a critical component of a cancer program. To address this need, we have established the Joan and James Vernon Cancer Center.
The Vernon Cancer Center is a great collaboration between Mass General Radiation Oncology, New England Hematology/Oncology Associates and Newton-Wellesley Hospital,” said Ellen Moloney, Vice President for Outpatient Services. “The Center brings together these much needed services into one location providing better access and convenience for our patients and their families. Newton-Wellesley is also developing integrative support services and support groups for patients and their families that will be offered at the Center.”
The Cancer Center team provides personalized care in a private and comfortable setting for cancers such as breast, prostate, lung, colorectal and gynecological malignancies. In addition, benign and malignant blood disorders such as anemia, coagulation disorders, lymphoma, myeloma and leukemia are also treated.
Through a lead gift from Amos and Barbara Hostetter, the Center will recognize and honor Joan and James Vernon of Weston. Joan, a nurse and caregiver to many friends and community members, passed away in 2005 of cancer. Her husband, Dr. James Vernon, a compassionate physician and gifted surgeon whose career has spanned nearly four decades at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, has helped design and guide this center.
“In the almost 40 years I have worked here, we as a staff have worked hard to develop a sophisticated and expert level of care for our cancer patients,” says Dr. Vernon. “The Center offers Newton-Wellesley Hospital the opportunity to become a comprehensive cancer treatment site with the addition of radiation services. It is rewarding for everyone at the Hospital, a great honor for me and a great service for our patients.”
New England Hematology and Oncology Associates (NEHOA), a private practice moving to the Center from Wellesley, provides advanced care from highly specialized oncologists. The medical oncology team is led by board certified physicians, complemented by an experienced, specialty nursing team. The entire medical team, made up of hematologists, oncologists, oncology nurses, social workers and ancillary staff, use advanced protocols and technology to diagnose and treat cancer. They remain involved in all aspects of patient care – from diagnosis to treatment and during long-term, follow-up care.
The Massachusetts General Hospital Radiation Oncology Program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, also located within the Cancer Center, offers patients access to premier radiation oncology services and expertise. The Radiation Oncology team is led by board certified physicians who treat a broad spectrum of cancer diagnoses and complemented by a specialty team including medical physicists, radiation therapists and oncology nurses. The team utilizes the latest technology and equipment to plan and deliver individually tailored radiation treatment to reduce tumor volume while minimizing effects on non-cancerous tissues.
The radiation oncology services include both a linear accelerator and a CT simulator to provide advanced services to cancer patients. An on-site CT simulator provides the most accurate process available to localize, define and reconstruct a patient's tumor in three dimensions in order to generate the best treatment plan for that patient. The linear accelerator, also known as a linac, is the device most commonly used for providing external beam radiation treatments. This technology delivers a uniform dose of high-energy X-ray to the area of the patient’s tumor to destroy the cancer cells while minimizing the impact to surrounding non-cancerous tissue. Radiation oncology services include both Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT).
To ensure coordinated delivery of patient care, the Center offers patients access to a Patient Navigator. This is a new role and will provide support from the point of diagnosis through the entire continuum of care and works in conjunction with the physician to review, educate, implement and evaluate services that will complement the patient’s care plan. The Patient Navigator creates awareness for patients and their families about community resources and educational programs.
The Vernon Cancer Center also offers educational and support workshops and other positive, life-enhancing, integrative support services. These include:
  • Psychological and social services to help patients and their families deal with the emotional impact of the initial diagnosis and treatment. 
  • Massachusetts General Hospital’s PACT (Parenting At a Challenging Time) services to help parents who are undergoing cancer treatment address the concerns of their children.
  • Nutritional support to help patients get adequate nutrition and meet their dietary needs before, during and after their treatment. 
  • Specialized palliative care services that focus on the pain, symptoms and stress of a cancer diagnosis.
  • Pain management services tailored to deal with each patient’s unique diagnosis providing a better quality of life.
  • Genetics programs including Newton-Wellesley’s High Risk Assessment Program, genetics counselor, outreach and education. 
  • Patients and their families have access to the Cancer Center Resource Room with computer access to the American Cancer Society and other related web sites. Patients also have access to wireless Internet service as well as options for music during treatment.
  • Mind, body and relaxation services such as Reiki and yoga.
A community open house will be offered on Saturday, October 3 from 9am-12 noon for members of the community to come and tour the new facility. A variety of health lectures will be provided, as well as light refreshments.
Newton-Wellesley Hospital is a full system member of Partners HealthCare System, Inc. (PHCS), a nonprofit organization that includes acute care hospitals Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's/Faulkner Hospitals, The North Shore Medical Center, and specialty hospitals McLean Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, and the community-based doctors and hospitals of Partners Community HealthCare, Inc.
Newton-Wellesley Hospital provides a wide range of services, including medical, surgical, obstetrical, orthopaedic, neonatal, pediatric and psychiatric care. Newton-Wellesley has been serving its community for over a century. The medical staff of the Hospital includes nearly 1,000 physicians practicing a full range of specialties. Newton-Wellesley is a major teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine and also has established post-graduate training programs for Harvard Medical School residents.

Rachel Kagno
Public Affairs & Marketing
Newton-Wellesley Hospital

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