The script was flipped Friday evening.
While cancer is commonly a solemn and somber topic, people affected by the disease showed up in the masses at the Richland County Fairgrounds on June 14 to celebrate survivorship.
Cancer survivors of OhioHealth Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals were invited, along with their guest, to attend the 32nd annual Cancer Survivors Day Dinner and Program.
Patti Kastelic, director of cancer services at Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals, told the crowd of approximately 500 attendees how heartwarming it was to see them at the event.
“I cannot begin to tell you what that does for us through inspiration and continued passion and dedication for those of you to know that we can take care of cancer patients every day in support of you and your family, so we thank you,” she said.
Before leading everyone in a moment of prayer, Faith Proietti, director of pastoral care at Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals, shared a few words.
“It is always wonderful to be here on this day and to celebrate with all of you,” said Proietti, who was diagnosed with cancer in 1995 and then again in 2000.
She referenced a passage from Barbara Taylor’s book, “Learning to Walk in the Dark,” which says during the day it’s hard to remember that the stars in the sky are always shining.
“I think sometimes we need to sit a moment and reflect, and sometimes it is in the lights of radiation or in the quiet night of surgery or chemotherapy,” she said. “If we just take a moment, we can still the see the stars. They are always there. They are always there to brighten and lighten our way, even in the dark.”
Linda Perry, of Mansfield, was seated with her sister, Peggy Mosier, also of Mansfield, at the event. They said they were first-time attendees.
“It’s nice that they do this,” said Perry, who had stage two breast cancer and underwent approximately 37 radiation treatments and four chemotherapy treatments.
Dr. Vincent Daniel, a thoracic surgeon and chief of surgical oncology, shared a success story of one of his patients with lung cancer who was found to have a nodule in his right lung during a lung cancer screening chest CT. A subsequent biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of lung cancer.
“He had absolutely no symptoms from this (the nodule),” Daniel said. “He looked the epitome of health.”
Through the use of robotic technology, the patient underwent a minimally invasive surgery last fall. A recent CT scan showed no sign of cancer recurrence, Daniel said.
“This is just one example of many examples that I’ve personally experienced where early CT detection can really significantly change the outcomes of patients with lung cancer,” Daniel said.
He urged anyone with a history of smoking to undergo lung cancer screening, which is provided by OhioHealth.
“Without a doubt, smoking is the single greatest risk factor that you could possibly have for lung cancer,” he said.
Over one-fourth of all cancer deaths are due to lung cancer.
"For this reason, we really need to be aggressive about how we go about diagnosing and treating lung cancer,” he said. “Our ability to treat and cure patients with lung cancer are best when it’s at that early stage.”
Friday’s event also featured an announcement that OhioHealth Infusion Services at Mansfield Hospital has expanded to serve additional patients and to create privacy for patients receiving treatments.
Infusion expanded into the main lobby between the gift shop and volunteer services, adding 1,400 square feet to the unit.
Construction began Jan. 21 and will be completed June 28.
“Now when you walk into the main lobby of the hospital, you will see infusion conveniently located right before the gift shop,” said Kastelic. “This new entrance will provide easy access for our patients who are oftentimes tired and not feeling well.”
The expanded square footage will feature 15 private bays, in addition to a common room for patients who prefer the company of others.
Mansfield Hospital is the busiest infusion location in the OhioHealth system, serving an average of 900 patients a month and approximately 55 patients daily.