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VCU Massey Cancer Center

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Cancer Care in Emporia

By E. Brent Perkins, M.D., Ph.D., hematologist-oncologist at VCU Massey Cancer Center

More than 20 years ago, VCU Massey Cancer Center founded the Rural Cancer Outreach Program to provide state-of-the-art oncology care in areas of rural Virginia identified by high cancer rates and with limited resources and poor access to oncology care. In Emporia, Massey’s Rural Cancer Outreach Program partnered with the community hospital, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC), to staff a cancer clinic.

For the last two decades, one or two doctors and one nurse traveled once per week from Massey in Richmond to SVRMC in Emporia. Most recently, that has been nurse practitioner Kevin Brigle and me. We evaluated patients with new diagnoses of cancer, provided follow-up to patients on treatment, made referrals for radiation therapy where appropriate and consulted with local physicians about the care of their patients.

The program was designed to enable the primary doctors to care for their patients when the outreach doctors were back in Richmond. The outreach clinic operated daily, administering chemotherapy, transfusions and monitoring pain under the supervision of the local physicians and nurses.

The goals of the program were to provide as much care as possible within the community; teach physicians and nurses living and serving in this community about the care of cancer patients; and bring advanced treatment through clinical trials.

VCU Massey Cancer Center’s (MCV Associated Physicians’) lease at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) has since expired, and Massey was not offered the option to renew it. I regret to share that as of April 19, 2019, Massey will no longer practice at SVRMC.

While Massey would like to remain in Emporia as a cancer care provider, resources are not available to ensure a sustainable model for patient care that is independent from SVRMC. The Outreach Program was designed to operate in partnership with them.

To continue cancer care with Massey, we can offer local patients an appointment with another Massey provider at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) in South Hill. Oncology physicians at VCU Health CMH are part of Massey Cancer Center, are well qualified and compassionate and will be able to continue to provide Emporia-area patients with high-quality cancer care. A fully operational clinic is offered five days a week there with hematology, medical and radiation oncology care. Additionally, Massey is assessing the transportation needs of existing Emporia-area patients and will work with them individually to assist them with their transition of care.

Our providers at Massey’s clinics in the Richmond area are available for referrals and appointments as well. Southside Regional Medical Center, which is not affiliated with VCU Massey, also offers high-quality cancer care in Petersburg that patients may find convenient.

Furthermore, Massey Cancer Center will continue to serve the Emporia and surrounding communities with health education, screening and prevention programs through our Cancer Research and Resource Center in Lawrenceville.

It has been my sincere pleasure to serve this community and to get to know many of you. I will miss spending time in Emporia each week. If my team and I can be of assistance to you, please call us at (804) 628-1918. 

Cancer Research and Resource Center of Southern Virginia Welcomes New Employee

The Cancer Research and Resource Center of Southern Virginia is pleased to announce the newest staff member, Elias Berhanu who joined the Center in the later part of June 2017 as the Education Coordinator.  The CRRC is an outreach site of VCU Massey Cancer Center that provides educational and support programs to residents of the Southside Virginia on cancer and cancer related topics.

Mr. Berhanu comes to the Cancer Research and Resource Center from the MD Anderson Cancer Center of the Office of Health Policy in Houston, Texas.  As a research intern there, he participated in statewide research programs on cancer prevention and the development of strategic planning for the State of Texas.  He also worked for CAN DO Houston where he lead and participated in the logistics and implementation of a walking school bus initiative for after school students.

As CRRC’s Education Coordinator, Elias will have a vast array of tasks to include coordinating the center’s educational activities for the public, cancer survivors and their families; and health professionals.  His main research interests are cancer prevention, chronic disease prevention through lifestyle modifications, global health and physical activity.  Elias stated, “I amvery excited to join the VCU team and work in the community, help everyone address their health education needs, practice healthy eating and active living; and stay happy and healthy.”

Mr. Berhanu received his Master of Public Heath from the University of Texas Health Sciences at Houston.  His area of concentration was health promotion and behavioral science with a minor in health disparities.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Washington. 

Please feel free to stop by the CRRC at 221 North Main Street, Lawrenceville, VA and welcome Elias to the area.  The Center is funded by VCU Massey Cancer Center and the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.  Like us on Facebook.

Plan to Attend the Veteran's Support Group on June 13

VCU Massey Cancer Center’s  Cancer Research and Resource Center of Southern Virginia is pleased to host monthly a Veteran’s support group every 2nd Tuesday at the Center, 221 North Main Street, Lawrenceville, Virginia  23868.  On June 13, 2017 at 10 am, Susan K. Spence, Veterans Service Representative from the Virginia Department of Veteran Services from the South Hill office will be present along with facilitator Mr. Jose A. Illa, a Transition Patient Advocate from Hunter Holmes McGuire Veteran Administrative Medical Center, Richmond, VA.  They will be available to all Veterans from Southside Virginia who need assistance regarding questions on benefits, applications, doctor’s appointments, transportation, etc. Veterans can receive interactive session in enrolling them in the HealtheVet program.  HealtheVet is VA’s online personal health record designed for Veterans, active duty Service members, their dependents and caregivers. The HealtheVet helps Veterans partner with their health care team providing opportunities and tools to make informed decisions.  Among the newest features available to Veterans with a Premium Account include VA Notes.  These are clinical notes that your health care team records during your appointments or hospital stays.  Also available are your VA Immunization records, more detailed lab reports and a list of your current medical issues. These features are in addition to prescription refills, VA appointments and secure messaging.  All Veterans are welcome to attend.  If you need further information, please contact the Cancer Research and Resource Center, 221 North Main Street, Lawrenceville, Virginia  23868. Phone 434-532-8190 or email ttaylor37@vcu.edu.  The Center is funded by VCU Massey Cancer Center and the Tobacco Region Revitalization Region. Like us on Facebook. 

VCU Massey Cancer Center Presents “Cooking with Sweet Potatoes”

How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? Much more than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are two key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk according to the American Cancer Society. Youcan protect your health, feel better, and boost your ability to fight off cancer and other diseases by making smart food choices.

VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Cancer Research and Resource Center of Lawrenceville is pleased to present the second in a series to the community a demonstration on “Cooking with Sweet Potatoes”, Friday, April 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm.  The event will be held at the Center at 221 North Main Street, Lawrenceville, VA. 

Sweet potatoes are a member of the red/orange vegetable subgroup.  They are high in beta-carotene, the plant version of Vitamin A and also are high in potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C reports the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense food that we should be eating more of.

Chef Angie East and Gardner Bernard Jones, Sr. will provide tips on growing sweet potatoes, different types of sweet potatoes and demonstrate cooking sweet potatoes. Samples of their products will be available for tasting at no charge. They brings years of experience to the event.  Their passion for gardening and cooking are shown through their enthusiasm and their contagious smiles when they speak on the topics.     

Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. We look forward to offering the residents of Brunswick County an opportunity to learn how to prepare and cook healthy vegetables with delicious samples. 

You may contact the Cancer Research and Resource Center at 434-532-8190 or email Vivian Taylor at vjtaylor@vcu.edufor more information.  The Center is funded by VCU Massey Cancer Center and the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. Like us on Facebook.

Help Fight Cancer with Greens

How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? Much more than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are two key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk according to the American Cancer Society. You can protect your health, feel better, and boost your ability to fight off cancer and other diseases by making smart food choices.

VCU Massey Cancer Center Cancer Research and Resource Center of Lawrenceville is pleased to present to the community a demonstration on “Cooking with the Greens”, Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 11 am – 1pm.  The event will be held at the Center at 221 North Main Street, Lawrenceville, VA. 

Come and learn how to prepare and cook healthy greens. Chef Angie East and Gardner Bernard Jones, Sr. will provide tips on growing greens, selecting greens and demonstrate cooking healthy greens. Samples of their products will be available for tasting at no charge. 

Chef Angie teaches culinary arts at the Brunswick High School for over 5 years.  Her passion for cooking started at a very early age with dappling in the kitchen beside her father and grandparents.  “Family gatherings were always a magical time and I loved helping with all the cooking” Angie stated with a smile. 

Her tip for cooking anything is mise en place. Thisis a French culinary phrase which means "putting in place" or "everything in its place." It refers to the set up required before cooking, and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients. The practice also applies in home kitchens.  Angie stated that many time you are interrupted during cooking and having everything lined up on your counter in the order they go into the recipe will help you pick up where you left off.  “Grandchildren are a blessing but sometimes a distraction.” She added, “You will know exactly where you stopped.”

Chef Angie earned her bachelor’s degree at St. Paul’s College and her culinary arts degree at J. Sargent Reynolds. She is married and has one grown daughter, two granddaughters and one grandson.  You can find her recipes in the Brunswick Times Gazette.

Gardner Bernard L Jones, Sr. lives in Brunswick County and is the Chairman of the Brunswick Board of Supervisors.  He retired from Verizon after more than 37 years. 

His passion for gardening goes back to his early years growing up on a farm.  He continued his agricultural endeavors farming himself in addition to maintaining a contracting company. Now after retirement, he meticulous attends to his garden growing more than 20 varieties of vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, collards, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and the list goes on.

Very proudly showing some of his greens, Gardener Bernard chuckles and says that he can cook delicious collards in 30 minutes.  This challenge to Chef Angie will be proven at the demonstration.

Gardener Bernard tip on gardening is to start off small.  He said “Do your research on what to plant and when to start planting in your area.”  He also added that you need to test your soil to see what fertilizers need to be applied.  The Brunswick Virginia Cooperative Extension offers kits for soil testing.  They can be contacted at 434-848-2151.

Not only is Bernard very involved in his garden, but also in the community chairing the Mayfield Recreation Center.  From planting and until harvest season, you can see Bernard with his farmer’s hat. He has a grown son and daughter.

Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. We look forward to offering the residents of Brunswick County an opportunity to learn how to prepare and cook greens with delicious samples. 

You may contact the Cancer Research and Resource Center at 434-532-8190 or email Vivian Taylor at vjtaylor@vcu.edufor more information.  The Center is funded by VCU Massey Cancer Center and the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. Like us on Facebook.

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