VCU Community Memorial Hospital fights against cancer

Published 11:00 am Thursday, June 2, 2016

The region may be rural, but area health-care providers are making sure residents have access to topflight care in the fight against cancer.

Mary Hardin, director of the cancer center at VCU Community Memorial Hospital, said the hospital is offering more and more services to locals.

The South Hill-based hospital partners with the VCU Massey Cancer Center to provide advanced treatment and services in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina that are certified through highly regarded organizations, Hardin said.

The partnership allows cancer and hematology patients to receive the benefits of a nationally recognized cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute, with experienced board certified cancer specialists, highly coordinated care and tailored treatment plans, she said.

It means that local cancer patients also have access to cutting-edge clinical trials, offering them added and advanced treatment options, Hardin said.

Since its creation in the 1980s the program has grown from a staff of four to over 20, Hardin said.

“In our rural area we want to make sure people have access to services,” Hardin told members of the Lunenburg County Chamber of Commerce at its luncheon meeting Thursday at Victoria Restaurant.

“They didn’t have to go to Duke; they didn’t have to go to Richmond to get service.”

One of the greatest strengths of the cancer program is the multidisciplinary support team, Hardin said.

The team includes licensed dietitians, exercise and rehab therapists, pharmacists, licensed social workers and chaplains.

The clinical services offered by the program include multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment planning; care of adult cancer, including complex and rare cancer and blood disorders; radiation oncology treatment; nutritional counseling; genetic counseling and cancer risk assessment; home health and hospice services; and to survivorship care.

“This is a program I’m really proud about,” she said.