Consumer health information and resources for the cancer community are now easier to find and access in Southside Virginia thanks to the new Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia (Resource Center). The Resource Center’s mission is to facilitate the availability of local, state and national cancer programs and resources to individuals living within the southern regions of the Commonwealth. It identifies the specific needs and services that are of the greatest help to residents affected by cancer through the guidance of a Cancer Task Force composed of local cancer care providers, cancer community organizations and health district leaders – all in partnership with Virginia’s leading cancer resource, Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center (VCU Massey). Located in Danville, the Resource Center supports the findings of a cancer needs assessment conducted of several local health districts by VCU Massey. The Resource Center is supported by VCU Massey through a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.
The Resource Center acts as a switchboard and search engine for directing individuals living in southern Virginia to community cancer resources, such as identifying transportation to treatments and doctors’ appointments, co-payment assistance programs and providers for the uninsured, as well as managing an online calendar of community cancer events. It also plans cancer-related programs and activities, such as the upcoming, free cancer prevention and survivorship program series, Keeping Well, which begins on January 17. In addition, the Resource Center provides disease-related, site-specific education packets to cancer patients through the Cancer Task Force and local oncology practices. And collaborating with the Health Information and Advocacy at Your Library program available at 20 local library branches, it offers the public accurate, reliable and current information related to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship.
“Cancer exacts a burden on the physical, mental and economic well-being of cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. There are a great number of varied sources of support to help lift the burden, but these are often underutilized because their existence is unknown,” says Melanie Vaughan, coordinator at the Resource Center with Charlotte Litzenberg. “Our goal at the Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia is to serve as the connection between these helpful resources and the folks who need them. Many of these support services can have a positive impact on someone facing cancer.”
Local cancer survivor Tracy Keller, DVM, was grateful to have received assistance from the Resource Center. “Since being diagnosed in 2008 with stage IV colon cancer, I have tried to stay up-to-date and participate in cancer education events because they have really helped during my long, difficult cancer journey,” she says. “Through the Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia, I stay informed of local cancer programs and have learned of new ways to get support here in my hometown.”
Patient assistance director at the Danville Cancer Association, Cathy Love, believes there was a great need in Southside for the Resource Center’s comprehensive compilation of available cancer services. “The Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia has begun a great effort to assemble and inform people of the whole picture of cancer care and support in our community. Melanie and Charlotte at the Resource Center are educating people in our area about their cancer options and doing so with a lot of compassion.”
The Resource Center is open every weekday except Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is also available by appointment by calling (434) 766-6650 or contacting Charlotte Litzenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org and Melanie Vaughan at email@example.com. Located at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, the Resource Center’s address is 150 Slayton Avenue in Danville.