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Cancer Care Center’s open house set

Wood County facility aims to ease cancer fight’s stress

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Dr. Robert Lavey, director of the Cancer Care Center at Wood County Hospital, stands near the facility’s linear accelerator. Construction began on the $5 million, 7,000-square-foot facility in fall, 2013. The first patients to receive radiation therapy will begin treatment on Monday.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
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BOWLING GREEN — An illuminated, virtual blue sky brightens the ceiling inside the radiation therapy treatment room at Wood County Hospital’s new Cancer Care Center.

The serene image of sky, clouds, and trees overhead is just one of the center’s personal touches designed to comfort cancer patients.

In this room, underneath the faux skylight, patients can receive radiation therapy instead of driving daily to Findlay or Toledo, as previously required. Calming canvases depicting tropical scenes from the South Pacific and Caribbean hang in the reception room and clinic area, another personal touch medical director Dr. Robert Lavey wanted to incorporate.

The radiation oncologist arrived in Bowling Green to launch the center with specific ideas about how best to treat cancer patients. The artwork is more than just decoration; he wants to lower patients’ stress levels and help encourage a “positive attitude to carry on with their battle and the long journey that is living with cancer.”

“This position at Wood County Hospital — starting a cancer center from scratch with [a] very community-orientated administration and physicians — enables me to put that vision into practice in designing a cancer center from the ground up and selecting the personnel who will work with me at the cancer center and the equipment that the cancer center will have,” said Dr. Lavey, who most recently held a professor position at the University of South Florida.

The $5 million, 7,000-square-foot cancer center is located in renovated space inside a medical office building next to the hospital. Community members are invited to an open house from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday to tour the facility at 960 W. Wooster St., Bowling Green.

Construction work began in October. The first patients to receive radiation therapy will begin treatment on Monday. Such treatment hasn’t been available in Bowling Green for about 15 years, hospital spokesman Catharine Harned said.

A typical radiation therapy regimen requires a patient to receive treatment five days a week for six to eight weeks, Dr. Lavey said. He added that a session may last 10 to 20 minutes, meaning some patients spend more time traveling to a medical facility than they do in treatment.

“By having it convenient and nearby they are able to maintain their normal schedule,” Dr. Lavey said. “We have to continue our usual responsibilities of work and children and spouses … so minimizing the time and the energy spent in receiving your therapy preserves the patients’ strength.”

In addition to radiation oncology, the center houses Dr. David Brown’s medical oncology office. Recliners are arranged in an airy, light-filled room, where there’s enough space for chemotherapy patients to bring a companion to a treatment session.

The center also offers access to pain-management services, physical and occupational therapists, and nutritionists.

The project was funded by the hospital and donations from the Wood County Hospital Foundation and Wood County Hospital Guild, Ms. Harned said.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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