BWWMH upgrades oncology center facilities

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 12, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The oncology center at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital has recently received an upgrade in their facilities that will decrease the time it takes for patients to receive their treatments.

One of the improvements at the center is their new in-house pharmacy, from which patients can get their medications directly. In addition to their medications being mixed on site, patients can also have their lab work done there. This means that patients can spend up to four hours less in the center to get their treatments.

Kelly Strickland, regional director for Southeast Cancer Network, has been a part of the cancer center for the last five years. She also manages three other facilities in Tuscaloosa, Winfield and Jasper.

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Another kind of medication the new pharmacy facility can provide is supportive medications for patients already on treatment. These medications can assist in keeping patients hydrated, diminishing nausea and other side effects associated with treatments such as radiation.

The center is also getting new radiology equipment, which should be in use by August. They have purchased a new dual-energy machine that is capable of Intensive Modular Radiation Therapy (IMRT). The new machine is equipped to do radiation treatments that protect more of the surrounding tissue than traditional radiation treatment options.

Once the new radiology equipment is up and running in August, Strickland hopes to have a time where people can come tour the facility and see what kinds of treatments available.

Although the center is getting an upgrade in technology and equipment, the same staff is there to serve its patients. Dr. Shelby Sanford, who specializes in radiation oncology, and Dr. Fuad Hassany, who specializes in hematology and medical oncology, will be there to treat people every time they come in.

Strickland said she feels that the staff is one of the reasons the center has done so well.

All of the facilities that Strickland works with have been growing by 10 to 15 percent, and the cancer center in Demopolis seems to be following suit. She said that the mission of the Southeast Cancer Network is to give people the best places to get treated close to their homes.

Strickland has experienced cancer with her own family members, and it has led her to realize that her job is very important to the people she sees everyday.