By Michele Pilon
President/CNO, Transylvania Regional Hospital
October has come to be associated with breast cancer awareness, but whether a patient is diagnosed with breast, lung, colon, prostate or another type of cancer, Transylvania Regional Hospital is here to help. We’re proud of our expansive services and we are fully prepared to help patients from diagnosis through post-treatment. We’re also excited about our new Cancer Center which we expect to open in 2019.
Our sophisticated diagnostic screening technology is second to none. We offer 3D mammograms, the new screening “gold standard.” They give physicians breast images that are, as the name implies, three dimensional, and therefore seen from several different angles. This screening is especially important for women with dense breasts or those who have more glandular rather than fatty tissue. In my June column, I spoke about our advanced 64-slice Revolution EVO Computed Tomography (CT) scanner, which provides superior imaging in less time, with significantly less radiation exposure. We are in the process of purchasing a new GE Optima Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner. We’re fortunate too, to have surgeon Dr. Marco Chavarria-Aguilar on staff to perform breast biopsies for patients.
Our lung cancer screening program uses a low-dose CT scan to detect lung cancer earlier than ever. To date, Mission Health has identified 60 very early lung cancers in our Lung Cancer Screening program. I can’t emphasize enough what a diagnostic game changer this technology is. Early detection provides the patient with earlier intervention, which in turn, leads to much more favorable outcomes.
While our diagnostic services have state-of-the-art technology, it’s the skills of our expert technologists and radiologists that make our services truly extraordinary. They all hold radiology degrees and are registered with the American Registry of Radiology in various practice modalities. Our mammography, CT and MRI technologists have passed an advanced registry in their respective disciplines, and the same is true of our ultrasound technologists, who possess registries in an array of arenas, including abdominal, obstetrical, pelvic, vascular and breast imaging. In addition, our Mammography Program is accredited by the American College of Radiology, which ensures that we meet nationally accepted standards.
When required, the Brevard Cancer and Infusion Center provides treatment to our chemotherapy patients and essential infusion services for those with osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Patients are treated in chairs that provide heat and massage, and iPads are available for music therapy. Cancer patients are offered individualized plans of care, based on their needs. Referrals are given for counseling, nutrition, acupuncture, fitness, physical therapy and massage. Additional options for patients include guided imagery and essential oils to treat chemotherapy side effects.
We’ve also come to understand that cancer doesn’t “end” after the final treatment, and our cancer survivorship support group meets the second Thursday of every month, at 4:00 pm in TRH’s Newland Conference Room. It’s open to all who have received any type of cancer diagnosis, and every August we host an annual Cancer Survivorship Dinner, at no cost for attendees.
The future TRH Cancer Center will be significantly larger than the current Brevard Cancer and Infusion Center, to accommodate more patients and additional services and staff, such as a nurse navigator, provide patients with options for group, semiprivate and private treatment options, and offer separate space for non-cancer patients needing infusion treatments such as antibiotics. A resource library will also be available.
As with our diagnostic capabilities, the “magic ingredient” in our infusion center is our amazing caregivers. They provide the consistent, tender and compassionate care that our cancer patients need, no matter what stage of the journey they’re in. All of our nursing staff hold specialty certifications in Oncology, and one nurse is further certified in Hospice/Palliative Care. Additionally, two of our nurses received the prestigious “North Carolina Great 100” award, while another two are DAISY Award recipients, a respected nursing excellence recognition.
Caring for our cancer patients is a privilege. This month we raise awareness about breast cancer, and in that spirit we honor all those who have been touched by cancer. At TRH we are dedicated to diagnosing, treating and offering education and ongoing support to every cancer patient and their family. When you need us, we will be here, ready and able to serve you.
Michele Pilon, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, is the President and CNO of Transylvania Regional Hospital. Her diverse professional experience includes service as a bedside nurse and over a decade as a leader at healthcare institutions in Virginia, Florida and North Carolina. Ms. Pilon earned a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Ohio’s University of Akron and a Masters in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis in Illinois; she is also a Board-Certified Nursing Executive.