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Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care Debuts

April 20, 2010 | by Marla Paul
Maggie Daley (center front) with Mayor Richard M. Daley, Ann Lurie, a Northwestern trustee and philanthropist, and Steve Rosen, M.D., director of the Lurie Cancer Center and of Cancer Programs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Photo by Nathan Mandell

CHICAGO --- The Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care was unveiled Monday night, April 19, at a ceremony that marked the debut of a novel center for treating breast and gynecological cancers and honored the First Lady of Chicago.

The Center for Women's Cancer Care, part of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, is located within Northwestern Memorial Prentice Women's Hospital.

Mrs. Daley, who receives treatment for breast cancer at the Lurie Cancer Center, attended the ceremony accompanied by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The new two-floor center offers a unique "one-stop shopping" integrative, holistic approach that addresses and centralizes all of a woman's needs -- emotional, aesthetic and physical -- during treatment.

A patient can easily access services to improve her quality of life in the same place she is seeing internationally renowned medical oncologists, gyne- and surgical oncologists and receiving cutting-edge therapy for breast and gynecological cancers.

A radiant and beaming Mrs. Daley, speaking from a wheelchair, talked about the healing power of caring. "The tremendous care I have received from Northwestern Hospital and the Lurie Cancer Center has impressed upon me the remarkable healing power of care, in every sense of the word -- from treatment to thoughtfulness, protection and sensitivity."

"When people walk into this center for women's cancer care, which now carries my name...a fact that has honored me more than anyone will ever know....I feel certain that they will receive the utmost care possible -- both medically and emotionally, in both big and small ways," she said.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and other leaders at the event spoke of Mrs. Daley's grace and courage and about the comprehensive programs the new center provides for patients. Steve Rosen, M.D., director of the Lurie Cancer Center and of Cancer Programs at Northwestern Memorial, noted her "heroic strength" in fostering vital programs that benefit the public while contending with the challenge of breast cancer.

"Today we honor you for your image of hope in the face of a life altering event, your promotion of knowledge and ... your ability to inspire all of us in the medical profession to work with a sense of true urgency" to prevent and successfully treat malignancies that affect women, said Rosen, the Genevieve E. Teuton Professor of Medicine at Feinberg.  "The Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care will be a unique resource for our community and the nation. We are indebted to you for your commitment to this important cause."

Ann Lurie, a Northwestern University Trustee and philanthropist, said, "Just as my late husband, Robert H. Lurie, represented the concept of individualized therapy one patient at a time, Maggie Daley represents all patients who will be cared for in the Center for Women's Cancer Care, each with the dignity, respect and medical expertise afforded to Maggie during the course of her long battle with cancer. We aim to optimize each day of survival and improve the quality of life of our patients while providing world class treatment for their disease." 

At the new Center for Women's Cancer Care, women can get acupuncture or Reiki, visit a nutritionist or see a health psychologist to cope with their diagnoses and life during treatment. Adding to the convenience, a woman can receive many of these services while she is being infused with chemotherapy. A new program also offers rehabilitation services for women to maximize their strength and endurance. A new "healing boutique" offers wig and prosthesis fittings, hats and makeup consultations for patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Centralizing these services is important because finding and driving to various locations often feels overwhelming to a patient whose primary focus is cancer treatment.

The Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care is a partnership between Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

The Center for Women's Cancer Care offers patients access to novel therapies and drugs and the access to more than 100 clinical trials. A cancer genetics program within the center screens patients at higher-than-average risk for cancer and provides education and guidelines for early detection and possible prevention of the disease. The center includes 11 private chemotherapy rooms, most with lake views, and a group chemotherapy area, providing patients with a choice of environments.

"This represents an opportunity to care for the whole patient in one place," said Julian Schink, M.D. director of gynecologic oncology for the Lurie Cancer Center, Feinberg and Northwestern Memorial in an interview before the Monday night event. "We identified what someone really needs to be well in addition to their cancer therapy. " He said the small things that can drastically improve cancer patients' quality of life get overlooked because they don't seem paramount in comparison to cancer treatment.

As an example, Schink mentioned the center's wig fitting service: "Does your wig stay on? How do you keep it straight? If you wig doesn't stay on, then you don't go outside.  If you just got chemotherapy, you are not going to get in your car to have someone teach you how to do that."

Schink also noted the center's responsibility to care for the diverse population of the city just as Mrs. Daley cares for the city's diverse population. "We are about taking care of the whole patient, wherever they are in Chicago and whoever they are," he said, noting the breast and cervical cancer screening program for the economically disadvantaged. "We care about everyone in Chicago." 

Topics: Campus Life