CHICAGO (Oct. 10, 2013) — Nearly 100 cancer survivors celebrated life and quality care at Weiss Memorial Hospital in honor of Survivors’ Day. Additionally, the hospital marked 50 years of accreditation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC)—Chicago’s only hospital (and one of two in Illinois) to receive the designation over such an extended period.“We are honored to have reached this milestone,” said Stuart Krauss, M.D., director of Medical Oncology at Weiss. “It confirms Weiss’ ongoing excellence in cancer care since its early days on Chicago’s North Side.” Weiss celebrates its 60th anniversary this year in the city’s Uptown community. Its oncology specialists and staff accommodate about 6,500 patient visits a year.
CoC accredited Weiss for providing the community with high-quality, multidisciplinary, patient-centered care, using the latest diagnostic and treatment modalities. Currently, there are 1,500 CoC-accredited programs throughout the U.S., but only 38 have maintained accreditation for more than 50 consecutive years.
Jody Wilson, 66, of Evanston, has received various cancer treatments at Weiss for more than 30 years. She has had three bouts with the disease since 1980, undergoing surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
“The care and concern I’ve received over the decades is nothing short of wonderful and genius,” said Wilson, who spoke before the crowd of cancer survivors and medical professionals during the breakfast event at Weiss.
In 2000 and again in 2011, she received two lung cancer diagnoses – the deadliest of all the cancers. An estimated 205,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. “To return to Weiss so many years later for treatment and have the same personal touch – many of the staff remembering me by name – and amazing emotional support has helped me move forward each time.”
The long-time smoker kicked the habit after her first lung cancer diagnosis. She is careful not to refer to herself as a survivor.
“I never want to be complacent,” she said. “Knowing cancer might come back helps me keep my follow-up appointments.” Wilson’s second lung tumor was discovered during an annual CT scan.
“The dedication and great strength our patients show inspire us to do all we can do to help them beat cancer,” said Keith Shulman, M.D., oncologist at Weiss.
Marina Kuznetsova, M.D., Ph.D., radiation oncologist at Weiss, also spoke at the breakfast event. She expressed her gratitude to patients for allowing the oncology team to play a role in their lives and trusting the medical professionals would make the right decisions in a difficult treatment process. To the survivors she emphasized: “You are evidence that our research is good, our medicine is strong and your wills are undefeatable.”
In recent years, enhanced technologies and treatment space have improved the patient experience at Weiss. The tumor targeting linear accelerator has pinpointed cancerous cells down to the millimeter, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue and resulting in fewer side effects. And the supportive environment of the Strauss Infusion Center has connected patients directly to their medical and chemotherapy care.
“Staff meet the complex and varied needs of our patients daily – both medically and emotionally,” said Karen Elarde-McCuaig RN, BS, OCN, Clinical Nurse Manager, Oncology Center, and organizer of the breakfast event. “We’re making sure our patients today experience the physical and mental connection they desire, the personalized care they’ve come to expect in our community.”
Professionals from Weiss’ Center for Integrative Medicine provided participants with massages and healing touch. Team Weiss, who will participate in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 26, and members of the Just Us Cancer Patient Support Group, which meets on the third Thursday of every month at Weiss, also attended the event.
For more information, please contact:
Weiss Public Relations