Forrest General Celebrates Life on National Cancer Survivors Day®
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (May 30, 2014) From family members to close friends, everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer. On Sunday, June 1, 2014, Forrest General’s Cancer Center will join people around the world as they gather to observe the 27th annual National Cancer Survivors Day®.
The Cancer Center encourages cancer survivors to connect with other survivors, celebrate milestones, and recognize the healthcare providers, family, and friends who have supported them along the way. It is a day for cancer survivors to stand together and show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive, and even inspiring.
Designing jewelry had become a way for Thomson to give back to those who had suffered and endured so much during such a vulnerable time in their lives. However, Thomson, who ironically created pieces of jewelry in her jewelry line, Quail Hollow Designs, to help those battling cancer, never imagined that she too would face the same fight for her life after Thomson was diagnosed with breast cancer on August 23, 2013.
“I asked why? I was so mad at God! I thought, here I’ve spent the past 5 years promoting cancer awareness for my best friend that was sick, and this is my thank you for doing this,” said Thomson.
After her diagnosis Thomson began receiving chemotherapy at Forrest General’s Cancer Center. Her message now is to inspire other cancer survivors who may face physical, emotional, social, and financial challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment to be brave, remain positive and to give back while fighting cancer.
Forrest General’s Cancer Center ranks among the largest and most sophisticated regional cancer centers in South Mississippi and is the only comprehensive community cancer center in the 19-county service area. The 34,000-square-foot Cancer Center offers a comprehensive program encompassing continuing care, detection, diagnosis, education, prevention, psychosocial support, screening, rehabilitation services and treatment for cancer patients. The Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and participates in National Cancer Institute (NCI) approved clinical trials. The facility delivers state-of-the-art treatments and support services in comfortable surroundings utilizing an interdisciplinary approach that involves the individual, family, friends and healthcare professionals.
Radiation Oncologist Mike Cheng, M.D., said, “Our goal is to provide comprehensive cancer care to patients in the 19 counties we serve. Cancer care should be provided to patients close to their home, family and friends, not at a long distance away.”
“We strive to deliver the highest level of care to our cancer patients in a very serene environment close to home,” said Joseph Salloum, M.D., Radiation Oncologist.
Jay Slaughter was diagnosed with colon cancer in April 2013. He had surgery before receiving treatment at Forrest General’s Cancer Center. Slaughter said he is proud of the staff’s commitment to ensuring the patient experience is a positive one. “I could not ask for a better physician or nurses. Every single one of them is very caring and compassionate. Cancer is a tough thing. This has been an incredible journey, and they have helped me tremendously,” said Slaughter.
All of the advances in the control and prevention of cancer start with clinical trials. Without trials, progress would be slow to non-existent. Forrest General’s Cancer Center is an affiliate of Louisiana State University. This affiliation allows for participation in cooperative group studies such as CALGB (Cancer and Leukemia Group B), ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group), NSABP (National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project), RTOG (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group) and SWOG (South West Oncology Group). The Cancer Center also participates in pharmaceutical studies through various manufacturers. Clinical Trials are research studies in which people (who volunteer) help doctors find ways to improve health and cancer care. Each study is dedicated to answering scientific questions and finding better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose or treat cancer.
Forrest General’s Cancer Center offers advanced technology in the delivery of Radiation Treatment. With the recent installation of the Varian TrueBeam and Trilogy Linear Accelerators, the Cancer Center offers the most advanced image-guided radiation therapy system for conventional and stereotactic approaches to treating cancer. TrueBeam and Trilogy systems offer CT Imaging on board – this allows physicians to target smaller tumors with a greater degree of accuracy. The TrueBeam system is digitally automated – this means that it can proceed through the entire treatment without the Radiation Therapist looking down at the console, allowing them to concentrate entirely on the patient.
“The Radiation Oncology Department recently completed a $6 million upgrade. We now have the state of the art equipment that can provide our patients with a spectrum of state of the art treatments like radiosurgery, high dose rate brachytherapy, and with radioactive isotopes which will provide our patients with exceptional care,” said Joe Marcello, Oncology Service Line Administrator.
In 2014, Forrest General ranks in the Top 10% of hospitals nationwide for Medical Excellence in Cancer Care, according to CareChex®, a division of COMPARION, an independent company recognizing the nation’s best performers on various measures of quality relating to process of care, outcomes, and patient satisfaction.
Forrest General’s Cancer Center urges everyone – cancer survivors and supporters alike – to make healthy choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, and getting recommended screening tests. Screenings for breast, prostate, lung, colon or other types of cancer increases the chances of detecting certain cancers early, when they are most likely to be curable.
For more information about screenings, support groups, available technologies and services at Forrest General’s Cancer Center, call FGH OnCall at 1-800-844-4445 or visit forrestgeneral.com/oncology.
About National Cancer Survivors Day®
National Cancer Survivors Day® is a service of the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and is sponsored nationally by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Coping with Cancer magazine, with support from Amgen, Astellas, Genentech, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, and Teva Oncology.