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Alliance unites patients with specialists

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - Being diagnosed with cancer is tough enough, but navigating the road to recovery just got easier thanks to the recent formation of the Pacific Cancer Care Alliance.

There's a new organization on island that unites cancer care specialists and cancer patients.

A partnership between the Cancer Center of Guam and the Island Cancer Center, the Pacific Cancer Alliance strives to improve timing and efficiency for scheduling and treatment of patients, attracting additional resources locally, and supporting local non-profits involved in cancer awareness and prevention.

The alliance's Melissa Waibel said, "As we were talking to the provider the physician provider at Cancer Center of Guam he was telling us about some of the frustrations that he was seeing with his patients and we realized we had some of the same frustrations at the island cancer center so as we started talking about those things we thought well, if we're experiencing the same issues and the same concerns and are patients are experiencing those things perhaps if we work together we can create a better environment for our patients to seek care and treatment and we can make these processes faster and easier."

And the road to recovery just got shorter now that the two centers are located side-by-side at the Guam Medical Plaza in Tamuning.

"Which is really nice not only for the patient and their family members because radiation treatments are daily and chemotherapy agents are sometimes on a daily regiment as well come to one place and not have to go all over the island to seek the treatment they need obviously the patients are sick and sometimes the treatments make them sick also," she said.

Although newly formed, the alliance is already winning some of the battles to fight cancer on Guam.

Earlier this year we reported on a shortage of cancer medications locally due to an off-island supplier closing up shop.

Waibel says together, they tapped into their vendors and found options and ultimately, restocked much needed supplies.

"It was very exciting that during this formulation process of an alliance we were able to find and fix a problem for our patients here," she said.

For more information on the alliance call 646-3363.

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