The Moonlight in Venice Gala Raises $70,000
MERIDEN - It may have been rainy and gloomy outside last Friday evening, on September 23, 2011, but the energy and enthusiasm still ran high at MidState's Moonlight in Venice Gala, where over 350 people turned out for a wonderful night in support of MidState Medical Center.
Our guests included MidState employees, physicians, community members, members of the Board and staff from across our Hartford HealthCare system. We were pleased to have join us this year the President & Chief Executive Officers of every single one of our hospital partners: Jeff Flaks, Hartford Hospital; Clarence Silvia, The Hospital of Central Connecticut; Steve Larcen; Windham Hospital and Natchaug Hospital; and Elliot Joseph, Hartford HealthCare.
"Tonight we are celebrating our Cancer Center and new levels of excellence," shared president & CEO, Lucille Janatka, as she announced in opening remarks the news that are center received an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Commission on Cancer. "Your support allows us to growth and prosper," she said.
Janatka also took a moment to recognize the generous contributions of the local Palladino family, for whom the Palladino Family Cancer Center is now named. Gratitude was expressed to the MidState Auxiliary and Gala Chair, Geraldine Meoni, for the time and dedication in planning this event.
Following the program, guests feasted on a delicious menu of salad, pasta, surf and turf, and a spread of desserts from a Viennese table. The dance floor was filled all night with those in attendance dancing to the sounds of Block & Blu.
In total, The Moonlight in Venice Gala raised $70,000 with over $11,000 in proceeds coming from the silent auction. These funds will directly support the Palladino Family Cancer Center, and ensure that MidState continues to offer the latest in programs and services for our cancer patients.
This evening would not have been possible without the gracious support of so many sponsors, volunteers, and friends and family of MidState Medical Center. Many thanks to all!
View the Photos of the Gala (to log on, use the password as typed "gala" no quotes).
MidState Medical Center celebrates Cancer Survivors' Day
Meriden - The weather was nearly perfect this past Sunday, September 18, as approximately 300 survivors and their family and friends turned out for MidState's annual Cancer Survivors' Day.
As survivors began arriving, they were greeted with music from The Pat Adams Trio of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Director of the Palladino Family Cancer Center, Abbi Bruce, RN welcomed all to the 9th annual Cancer Survivors' Day and thanked all members of the event planning committee, as well as volunteers, for their hard work in making Survivors' Day possible.
Meriden Mayor Michael Rohde was in attendance, as in year's past, to issue a proclamation declaring September 18 Cancer Survivors' Day in the city of Meriden. Mayor Rohde, a cancer survivor himself, acknowledged the efforts in research and treatment that contribute to the growing number of survivors today. "This is a disease that affects everyone," he said, "and we are all in this together."
Survivor, Maria Kahn, shared her own personal story during the program. Kahn was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 45 in April 2010, but now, after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, is free of the disease and back on the bench as a Superior Court judge. She lives in Cheshire with her husband, Benjamin, and teenage daughters Sarah and Emma.
"It was easy to be positive with the kind of support I had," shared Maria. "The staff at MidState Medical Center was exceptional and caring."
Radiologist, Linda Durhan, MD, also joined in the day and offered words on how survivors can cope and take care of themselves as they move forward after their treatment ends. "Where there's life, there's hope. Whatever bad happens, remember, this too shall pass" she said.
Chaplain Doreen Bottone offered the invocation for the day. Additional music selections were performed by Lewis Avenue. Survivors enjoyed chair massages, while children were treated with balloon animals from a roaming balloon artist.
The Palladino Family Cancer Center would like to thank Medical Oncology & Hematology, P.C. and Eastern Rehabilitation Network for their support of this event, as well as the many volunteers who donated their time to make this year's Cancer Survivors' Day a truly special day.
To see more photos from Cancer Survivors' Day, please visit midstatemedical.org and click on Photo Library on the left-hand side.
Cancer Survivor Speaks
Dave Zajac / Record-Journal
Maria Kahn speaks at MidState Medical Center's Cancer Survivors' Day in Meriden's Hubbard Park Sunday afternoon. Kahn was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2010, but now, after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, is free of the disease and back on the bench as a Superior Court judge. She lives in Cheshire with her husband, Benjamin, and teenage daughters Sarah and Emma.
MidState Medical Center to Offer Free Prostate Cancer Screenings
MERIDEN - In honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, MidState is offering prostate cancer screenings for men who are under- or uninsured. Three screenings will be offered at various locations in Meriden as follows:
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with urologist Anthony Kim, MD
The Palladino Family Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with urologist Richard Allen, MD
Meriden Health Department
Thursday, October 6, 2011
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with urologist Jean Wong, MD
LaPlanche Clinic at the Meriden Senior Center
MidState Medical Center Hosts Annual Cancer Survivors' Day
MERIDEN - The Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center announces its annual Cancer Survivors' Day to be held on Sunday, September 18, 2011, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Meriden's Hubbard Park. This day is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the lives of cancer survivors.
Survivors are encouraged to bring their family and friends to share in the day. Activities for children include face painting, balloon animals, and caricature drawings. Survivors can treat themselves to a relaxing chair massage; and of course, musical entertainment and refreshments can be enjoyed by all. Both survivors and caregivers will share how cancer has changed their lives and offer inspirational messages and words of wisdom to others.
Last year Cancer Survivors' Day attracted nearly 300 people. For more information or to register, please contact The Cancer Center at MidState at 203-694-8631.Ã‚Â Registration is preferred.
MidState Medical Center Announces 2010 Cancer Survivors' Day
The Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center announces its annual Cancer Survivors' Day to be held on Sunday, September 12, 2010, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Meriden's own Hubbard Park. This day is dedicated to honoring the lives of our cancer survivors, especially those treated at MidState Medical Center. The theme of this year's event is "The Magic of Survivorship."
Cancer survivors are encouraged to bring their family and friends to share in the day. Activities for children include face painting, balloon animals, and caricature drawings. Survivors can treat themselves to a relaxing chair massage; and of course, musical entertainment and refreshments can be enjoyed by all. Featured musicians this year are Kelley and Sean Moore. Both survivors and caregivers will share how cancer has changed their lives and offer inspirational messages and words of wisdom to others.
Last year Cancer Survivors' Day attracted nearly 300 people. For more information or to register for Cancer Survivors' Day, please contact the Cancer Center at MidState at 203-694-8353. Registration is preferred.
Students' "Funky Flowers" Cheer Up Cancer Patients
MERIDEN - For Sue Murphy, arts and crafts are more than just a hobby.
The Wallingford resident and her entourage of students paint, glue, cut and paste to raise money for cancer research and provide comfort to the sick.
Murphy and four of her art students arrived at MidState Medical Center's cancer treatment unit Tuesday with a donation of 56 "funky flowers" for the patients. Painted in vivid neon hues, the flowers consist of plastic strips taken from old soda bottles.
"They're just so much fun," Murphy said.
MidState Cancer Center Director Abbi Bruce said gifts such as these lift the spirits of cancer patients. She noted that the plastic flowers are especially beneficial in a cancer treatment setting, where patients with low immunity cannot keep fresh flowers due to the potential for infection.
"It brightens our patients' day," Bruce said. "Some of our patients can't have fresh flowers in their rooms, so this is a good substitute."
Three students of Murphy's private art school in Wallingford, The Artist's Loft, presented the flowers: Maddie Severson, 11; Camryn Christensen, 11; and Amy O'Keefe, 13. Also presenting the gifts was 11-year-old Cauley Comerford, who goes to Holy Trinity School, where Murphy teaches art.
Murphy's students also participated in the Relay for Life team for her charitable arts and crafts organization, Create to Donate, for which she is trying to get nonprofit status.
Christensen said it "felt really good" to walk around the track and sell crafts to raise funding for cancer research.
Murphy said she began crafting for a good cause, in memory of her son Brandon, who died nearly 25 years ago at 5Ã‚Â½ months. A mong the first items she created were baby hats made out of socks to be provided to sick infants.
Under the banner of Create to Donate, Murphy has been traveling to senior centers and other gathering places to hold crafting workshops for a good cause. Items produced at the workshops are either sold for fundraising purposes or donated to the sick.
Murphy said her next goal is to provide therapeutic arts and crafts classes at hospitals.
More information about Create to Donate is available on Facebook under that name, and her art school website is www.theartistsloft.net.
email@example.com (203) 317-2275
MidState Medical Center Nurse Named a Breast Patient Navigator
MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce that Katherine Clements, RN, OCN, CBPN-C, CBCN, hailing from Cheshire, has received the designation of Certified Breast Patient Navigator through her completion of The National Consortium of Breast Center's Breast Patient Navigator Certification Program.
This certification program validates Clement's knowledge and skills in navigating a breast cancer patient through the continuum of care, a process that is highly complex and individualized. This complexity is significantly reduced with the assistance of an individual like Clements who is trained to help the patient work through, reduce, or eliminate barriers to appropriate breast health.
During the breast imaging stage, the Breast Patient Navigator ensures the patient receives timely exam results and is scheduled for appropriate follow-up care. In the case of breast cancer, the navigator guides the patient through the experience to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment, and movement through the care delivery system.
Clements has been the Breast Care Coordinator at MidState Medical Center for 7 years. She provides patient navigation, education and support to women with breast health issues. She also coordinates the MidState Cancer Risk Assessment Clinic. She graduated from Mattatuck Community College with an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community Services from the University of Massachusetts and a Master of Science in Education from Southern Connecticut State University. She has been employed at MidState for 23 years holding a variety of positions including staff nurse, nurse manager and nursing supervisor. In 2008, she was named a Healthcare Hero by the Connecticut Hospital Association.
New Entertainment System Helps With Cancer Treatments
MERIDEN - The other day, John Pirie had the 17th of 37 scheduled radiation treatments for prostate cancer. The 63-year-old Wallingford resident underwent surgery to remove the prostate in 2008, but subsequent prostate-specific antigen testing showed elevated levels, which called for radiation.
"Initially, the treatment scared me," said Pirie. But now his treatment is accompanied by music and video, and it's made a significant difference.
"It distracts you," he said, "almost to the point where you forget you're being treated."
The entertainment system, which includes speakers and three 32-inch flat panel screens, is now part of the radiation therapy at the Cancer Center of MidState Medical Center. MidState recently started using volumetric modulated arc therapy, an advanced system that employs three-dimensional imaging and more accurate targeting of tumors.
The entertainment is thanks to a $27,000 donation from the hospital's Auxiliary, and it's not as much a luxury as it might seem. While the advantage of soothing patients as they undergo a serious procedure may be hard to measure, it's certainly significant, said Tracy Bielert, radiation oncology manager.
"Sometimes people have a lot of anxiety in this room - they're here for cancer treatments," she said. "We're trying to help them relax and not think of why they're here." Geraldine Meoni, the Auxiliary president, said she was gratified to hear that the new system was being so well received by patients, and that some were making arrangements for their music ahead of their appointments.
"I don't view it as any kind of extravagance," said Meoni. "We all know people who have cancer and are dealing with it. If it can help them for a few minutes to feel better, I think it's fabulous."
Radiation treatments typically last from seven to 10 minutes, so there's not likely to be many requests for full-length motion pictures, though titles like "A Beautiful Mind" and "The 40-year-old Virgin" are available. Pirie, who plays guitar, enjoys Animusic, in which computer-animated virtual instruments dance and perform music.
One of the video screens is located on the ceiling above the patient platform.
The other two are on opposite walls. The screens are situated to accommodate positioning of the patient, said Bielert.
The Kaleidescape System allows for a simple way to organize collections. Patients can select from an ambient collection, which includes titles like "Ocean Tranquility" and "Alpine Elements," or bring their own CDs or DVDs. Song titles in a growing list include music by Elton John, Celine Dion and Jimmy Buffett.
MidState's Auxiliary, of which there are about 200 members, supports the hospital and its patients in various ways, and holds fundraising events throughout the year, including a golf tournament in June.
The Auxiliary holds its annual open meeting Tuesday, beginning at 2 p.m. in the hospital's Medical Services building on Pomeroy Avenue.
Advanced Tumor Treatment Improves Accuracy, Efficiency
MERIDEN - You don't usually think of what's inside you as a moving target, but such movement is one of the major challenges when it comes attacking cancerous tumors with radiation.
The goal is to deliver as much of the dose as possible at the intended target, the cancer, and avoid as much as possible the surrounding tissues and organs. The challenge isn't limited to patients squirming on the treatment table, but involves the movements within the body, often caused by breathing.
Evolving technology is giving physicians and support staff greater tools to help accomplish the mission of more precise targeting.
For the past few months, staff at the Cancer Center of MidState Medical Center have been setting up and preparing to use a sophisticated radiation treatment system that employs volumetric modulated arc therapy and three-dimensional imaging via a computer. The approach also makes use of the fourth dimension, time, by targeting problem areas before, during and after treatments. The hospital has just started treating patients with the new system.
"We're doing so much at such a high level for a community hospital," said Dr. Allan S. Kratzer, radiation oncology medical director.
For patients, more accurate positioning of radiation and improved control of radiation levels makes for treatment times reduced by as much as a third, to five minutes or less.
Volumetric modulated arc therapy is an enhanced form of intensity modulated radiation therapy, which allows for greater control of the intensity and accuracy of radiation doses.
The patient reclines on the table while lasers are used to make sure the patient is in the right position. The hardware, or gantry, moves around the patient, controlled by digital imaging, delivering the radiation treatment. Three-dimensional imaging allows technicians to more accurately identify the tumor and its shape. The movement of the gantry sweeps around the patient, delivering a continual radiation treatment.
The image guided control is "what's really cutting edge about it," said Kratzer. The availability of real-time imaging "opens up a whole range of possibilities," he said.
"Now we can dynamically manipulate the intensity of the beam while the machine is rotating," he said.
The linear accelerator, the device that delivers the radiation doses, can also be used for stereotactic radiosurgery.
More rapid treatment also reduces the risk of patient movement, said Letty Morrissey, a medical physicist.
The sophisticated nature of the equipment, manufactured by Elekta Infinity, of Stockholm, Sweden, presented a learning curve, said Morrissey.
"It's not plug-and-play," she said. What took some getting used to was using the digital imaging, said Tracy Bielert, radiology oncology manager.
The equipment, which involved a redesigned and rebuilt treatment room, is about a $2.3 million investment for MidState.
"The hospital has been very, very supportive," said Kratzer. "Cancer is something that everybody deals with."
"This is really the best accelerator out there," he said. "As a community we're very well-positioned for the next five to 10 years."
Along with the Elekta Infinity system, MidState's recent commitments to technology include robotic assisted surgery for certain types of cancer.
"We can't let these opportunities go by," said Lucille A. Janatka, MidState's president and chief executive, who noted that both techologies include a less invasive approach to treatment.
"When you think about cancer and general surgery, these are the kinds of things that, unfortunately, most of us are going to experience," she said. "When I think of these two large items I think about how, at your local community hospital, you should be able to get that great level of care," she said.
MidState Cancer Center Adds New Technology to Improve Radiation Therapy
The MidState Medical Center Cancer Center is pleased to announce the addition of a new, advanced radiation therapy system that will allow clinicians the ability to better treat and target tumors more aggressively than ever before.
The Elekta Infinity radiation therapy system incorporates a sophisticated feature, known as Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT), which reduces the time it takes to administer radiotherapy treatment sessions to patients to nearly five minutes or less. Shorter treatment times mean patients are more comfortable, making it easier for them to remain still during treatment and increasing the likelihood of delivering radiation more accurately and safely.
Additionally, the new equipment features a suite of imaging tools that enable high quality, 3D imaging at the time of treatment, significantly minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues. The Elekta Infinity is the most advanced technology of its kind. The Cancer Center anticipates treating patients on the new system beginning in March.
Forum Focuses On Technological Advances In Cancer Screening
MERIDEN - Last fall was a controversial time for breast cancer screening, following a government task force recommendation that counteracted long-standing practices. Recognizing that confusion likely remains among many women, MidState Medical Center has put the subject of mammography among the topics in an upcoming forum focusing on women's health issues.
On Thursday, in the conference room of the hospital's still relatively new complex on Pomeroy Avenue, Dr. Holly Dey, a MidState radiologist will discuss the latest advances in breast imaging as well as guidelines covering more advanced procedures, including magnetic resonance imaging.
In November, the U.S. Preventative Services Task force, a panel made up of doctors and scientists, recommended breast cancer screening every other year for women beginning at age 50.
Part of the recommendation was based on the conclusion that screenings at an earlier age led to too many false positives, unnecessary anxiety for patients and unnecessary follow-up procedures.
The panel's recommendations caused a stir. Instead of changing course, most hospitals, including MidState, continue to follow the guidelines of the American Cancer Society, which recommends annual mammograms for most women beginning at age 40.
"We do have a long history of doing mammograms for women at 40 and above," said Dey. "The decision to have a mammogram is a decision made by a woman with her physician based on risk factors."
One advantage of starting mammograms at age 40 is that it establishes a baseline from which future tests can be measured, said Dey.
Mammograms also measure the tissue density of the breast, an import ant consideration when determining whether to pursue additional procedures. Routine self examinations, which Dey says are still a good idea, can't tell breast tissue density.
Digital mammography enables enhanced and magnified images, but dense tissue still makes it more difficult for mammogram testing to find suspicious lumps. Further testing includes ultrasound and MRI. Those tests are more sensitive and can reveal more false positives, but the risk of false positive results may be considered worth it in cases where breast tissue is dense.
Breast tissue density is considered so significant a factor Connecticut passed legislation last October requiring that mammography results given to patients include information about breast density. Patients with dense breast tissue must be told that it can hide small abnormalities and that they may benefit from further screening tests.
The legislation caused "a bit of havoc," said Dr. Gary Dee, a MidState radiologist.
"The intent of the law is great," he said, but it's led to some confusion among patients and put pressure on physicians. MidState affiliated radiologists are working with local doctors to track patients "so they don't get lost in the system," Dee said.
While the new state law and the national task force recommendations have made breast cancer screening a more confusing issue for many women, "it's starting to make people aware that there are different tests for different situations," said Dee.
Factors that increase the risk for developing breast cancer include a genetic predisposition and family history, particularly if a close relative has had the disease.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women and the second leading cause of cancer death.
MidState's health program for women runs from 5:30 pm. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, and includes dinner. The charge is $10.
Along with Dey, speakers include Dr. Aziz Benbrahim, a MidState surgeon, who will talk about how obesity affects health, and Dr. Joseph Peccerillo, an obstetrician/gynecologist, who will discuss recommendations about how often women should get pap smear tests.
Registration is available by calling (203) 694-8733.
MidState's symposiums on women's health are designed to offer a variety of topics and are the result, in part, of a recognition that women tend to be the ones making health-care decisions for their families.
"We want to make sure that the women in our community are aware of the services we have to offer them," said Donna Sassi, the hospital's director of women's health services.