Library and supportive staff help allay fears
Knowledge is power. People fear what they don’t understand, especially when it comes to their own bodies. A patient hears the diagnosis, cancer, and goes numb. Then, when the shock wears off, he or she dives into the often frustrating and exhausting task of researching the disease. What the patient finds could mean peace of mind, a quicker recovery, or lead to an altruistic need to help others in similar straits.
Ann Proffitt, cancer center coordinator for the Carson-Tahoe Cancer Resource Center, funded by Carson-Tahoe Hospital, fought and won her own battle with cancer several years ago. “I’m generally not one to sit back and let something happen to me without finding out why,” she says. “I realized one thing I could do for my own survival was to educate myself.” And that she did, tracking down information and experts from around the world. Her knowledge led her to facilitating support groups and speaking to various gatherings to disseminate information and teach others how to do the research for themselves. After six years of volunteer work, she started to feel a bit overwhelmed, and began her mission to bring a cancer resource center to the area.
Working at Carson-Tahoe Hospital, she approached the Carson City facility first. The idea was well received, and the hospital foundation offered up space.
The center opened unofficially in mid-January, and officially on February 2. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, but the staff is flexible if those times are impossible for an individual. The information at the center, all of which is free, includes a full library of non-clinical hooks, two computers with Internet access, advice on financial help and cancer screenings for those with limited funds. The center also offers consultation on how and where to obtain second opinions, where to get the right phone numbers for information, even special requests such as how to get discounted airfare when traveling for out-of-town treatments.
The center is currently staffed with one full-time employee (Proffitt) and three volunteers. They assist with surfing the Internet, finding information, suggesting support groups, and as survivors themselves, offer empathy and encouragement.
Much of the information can be copied or printed and taken home, while on-site reference materials are available for perusal in the center’s homey atmosphere. Call 1-877-CTH-CNCR for more information.
Nevada Center for Ethics and Health Policy
Conferences broach the difficult subject of death
Knowledge is power. Sometimes passing that knowledge on to others can make the difference between living the end of a life on one’s own terms and living the end of one’s life based on the arbitrary assumptions of people who may not share the same values and wishes. il’s not an easy subject, but when it comes time for people to start talking about death, about what makes a good death and how to plan for it, the Nevada Center for Ethics and Health Policy (NCEHP) is making that conversation easier.
The NCEHP was created in January with the help of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Although it is independent, the center is housed at the University of Nevada, Reno and can be contacted at 775/327-2309. Pam Howle, project director for the center, wants to bring the discussion of death out into the light of informed discussion. To meet this goal, the NCEHP organizes various conferences and seminars across the state. Contact the center for a calendar of upcoming events.