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L+M's Cancer Center Offers State of the Art + Heart

The new Cancer Center in Waterford offers one-stop shopping for patients and partners with Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Yale Radiology Department for the latest treatments and clinical trials.

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital's new Cancer Center in Waterford might just be the nicest place you hope you'll never need to see.

The new 47,000 square foot facility located at 230 Waterford Parkway South opened to visitors for the first time yesterday with guided tours and an official unveiling ceremony.  

It has everything a cancer patient could want or need—state of the art equipment, specialists, testing, and treatment—all in one beautifully designed building that puts patients' comfort first. It's also something that is sorely needed. 

Connecticut has one of the highest rates of cancer in the country, said William A. Stanley, L+M's vice president of development and community relations, and Southeastern Connecticut has the highest rate of cancer in the state. It's not for nothing that Bruce D. Cummings, L + M President and CEO, said when he came to the hospital eight years ago, upgrading the hospital's cancer center was identified as a top priority. 

In recent years, great strides have been made in cancer treatment, particularly in terms of understanding the microbiology of the disease, said Lawrence N. Shulman, MD, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Medical Affairs of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Over time, he said, another important aspect of cancer treatment has become increasingly obvious. "We can no longer practice oncology in a vacuum, it's all about partnership." 

The new Cancer Center brings L+M, Yale Radiation Group, and Dana-Farber together, united by a common ethos, in one building that brings oncology specialists, radiologists, social workers, therapists, nutritionists to the patient in one location that also gives patients access to the latest clinical trials.

The new Cancer Center offers blood work and testing, diagnosis and treatment all under one roof linked by computers to allow specialists to access and share information and in a building designed with patient comfort in mind, from the art on the walls in private chemotherapy rooms, to lounge areas with woodland views and wifi access. 

"Having an environment that is warm, welcoming and supportive makes a huge difference in [a patient's] journey through cancer care," said Shulman. 

When the Cancer Care Center opens on October 1, it will offer 16 exam rooms, 18 infusion chairs, two linear accelerators for radiation plus other radiation treatments, stretcher rooms for critical patients, specially designed chairs to accommodate GYN patients and head and neck patients, and much more. 

What makes the new facility really unique, however, is that it was "designed by patients, for patients," said Crista Durand, vice president, strategic planning, marketing, and new business development for L+M. 

The hospital sought input from cancer patients, survivors, and their families in building the new facility and, "their words of wisdom were taken to heart," Brenda Bullied, director of facilities planning and innovation at L+M. 

Clinical staff shed scrubs and donned hard hats to work tirelessly to ensure that what was built would serve patients first and foremost, never losing sight of the fact that, "we're doing this to help save lives," Durand said.  

The end result is a state-of-the-art facility that also has a heart. 

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