Gwinnett Medical Center’s new Cancer Support Center will be housed in Building 631 on the medical center’s Lawrenceville campus. (Special Photo)
LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett Medical Center is taking its comprehensive approach to cancer care and support a step further this November when it opens its Cancer Support Center.
This center will go beyond the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, getting to the root of emotional support for patients and their families.
Katherine Michaud, director of oncology services for Gwinnett Medical, said the goal of the center is to get patients through treatment and into survivorship.
“This Cancer Support Center really follows along the continuum of care that patients need,” Michaud said.
For women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and those who are undergoing treatment, the center will offer some special services. It will house the medical center’s Certified Breast Health Navigators, accredited nursing professionals who guide patients through the often confusing and frightening process of diagnosis and treatment.
“(Patients) have support from that initial stage of hearing, ‘I have cancer,’” said Dr. Kimberly Hutcherson, director of breast imaging and intervention at the Gwinnett Breast Center and a breast cancer survivor herself.
In addition to the breast health navigators, the Cancer Support Center will provide sessions to help women undergoing cancer treatment cope with changes to their appearances.
“When you’re going through chemotherapy it’s very taxing,” Hutcherson said from experience. “Each cycle (of treatment), something happens to your body that you didn’t know could happen. Everyone has different levels of complications.”
The center will also offer the services of a licensed cosmetologist, an American Cancer Society Patient Resource Navigator, who will provide private consultations for patients.
Michaud said the Cancer Support Center will also house an appearance room, offering free wigs through American Cancer Society.
“We’ll be able to really expand and have a more robust presence for our wig bank,” she said.
Other services that will be offered through the Cancer Support Center include genetic risk assessment, a resource center with brochures, books and Internet access to health information, support groups and, later this year, nutrition counseling and oncology social work services.
The center will be just across the hall from the Gwinnett Breast Center.
“I think by having the resource center nearby we’re just expanding on the services we offer,” Hutcherson said. “It will be fantastic to really allow a central service to help guide (patients) in these directions.”
To learn more about services offered in the new Cancer Support Center, patients can call 678-312-3316.