Accolades are starting to roll in for Carson-Tahoe Hospital's Cancer Resource Center.
Just 19 months old, the center won a regional Patient Support Award and has been nominated for a national honor, both through the Cancer Information Service, a program of the National Cancer Institute.
"This nomination and award are wonderful," said Cancer Resource Center Coordinator Ann Proffitt.
Instrumental in the establishment of the Center, Proffitt started her battle against breast cancer 9-1/2 years ago and is a survivor. She said the center's programs have mushroomed beyond anything she imagined.
"At first, people called me a pushy broad," she said with a smile.
Pushy or not, the work has paid off. The library has grown to more than 500 books and patient load has doubled, said Proffitt.
"The growth has helped us evolve," she said. "Some things didn't work. We stayed with the ones that did."
One of those successes is the newsletter, which recently received a tobacco money grant and hopes to move to a monthly rather than bimonthly publication.
The many volunteers that work at the center are instrumental in its success and in addition to intensive one-on-one counseling, they help sort medical bills, help patients find funding sources for expensive therapies and take the mystery out of Medicare and Medicaid issues.
Much information is available in both Spanish and English and the center offers a number of support groups.
Proffitt said spending time with patients is critical especially right after diagnosis, when they're feeling overwhelmed. The educational process is important because it empowers them to take control.
"Knowledge is the beginning of the healing process," she said.
In addition to working with patients, the organization is mentoring other centers in Fallon, Yerington, Winnemucca and South Lake Tahoe as well as networking to provide information to state and community health services in rural Nevada towns like Ely and Tonopah.
Located in the Adams House, the Resource Center is a small white frame structure wedged between a day-care center and the burgeoning complex that is now the hospital. Services are provided free.
Celebrating its 25th year, Cancer Information Service provides information to patients, families and healthcare professionals throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.