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Continuing to Collaborate: Northeast Regional Cancer Institute Celebrates Silver Anniversary

Formed with the idea that collaboration between local hospitals, physician practices and other organizations could result in more effective cancer research, for more than 25 years, the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute (NRCI) has integrated these resources with their cancer surveillance, education and patient services.

“The mission of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute has been and continues to be to ease the burden of cancer in our region,” said Laura Toole, vice president of Community and Patient Services. “If anyone needs help or has questions about cancer, we want them to know they can call our office for assistance. A cancer diagnosis affects the entire family, not just the individual with cancer.”

All of the NRCI’s programs are aimed at reducing the burden that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis, which is something Toole is very passionate about. Along with the fight against cancer, the Institute also seeks to end common misconceptions about the disease.

“Cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases, it is not just one disease,” Toole said. “All types of cancer are characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells within the body. There are hundreds of cancers, each acquired differently and treated differently, with different outcomes.”

“Many people overestimate the role that inheritance plays in the chances of developing cancer,” she added. “Only about 7-10 percent of all cancer is related to inheritance.”

The NRCI began a Patient Navigation Program in 2010, which helps individuals who are uninsured or underinsured get up-to-date on breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings. The program has completed more than 2,500 screenings since its inception. Plans are underway to add lung cancer screening to the program.

Looking ahead, the NRCI plans to further its mission by continuing to help cancer patients through diagnosis, treatment and beyond, as well as collaborating with regional partners.

“We will continue to be a community resource for all those affected by a cancer diagnosis,” said Amanda Marchegiani, community relations coordinator. “We have been helping to ease the burden of cancer in northeast Pennsylvania for more than 25 years and we will continue to do so until cancer is finally eradicated.”