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Cancer center takes new treatment approach

January 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center includes all the latest technology, but the overall mission is to provide loving support to patients and their family. "My dad, as you know, just died of stomach cancer, and so I've lived in that world now for a year, and I had no idea of the fear and the unknowns and the level of support you need to get through it," said Roy Disney.

"The patient is going to walk in here and feel like they matter. They're not just a number," said Marla Zack, a breast cancer survivor.

Zack says a caring medical team helped her navigate a double mastectomy, a hysterectomy and chemo. So she knows how important support can be.

"Remember, there are a lot of people who get cancer and the goal is how do we restore you back to family living. How do we restore you back to work," said Dr. Raul Mena, the medical director at the cancer center.

The center also addresses teen cancer patients making the adjustment into adulthood, who are often overlooked.

"Issues of fertility, body image, sexuality, exercise, ability to perform complicated tasks, schooling, insurance. They have lots of challenges," said Mena.

Researchers know that getting patients into the right frame of mind can help them tackle each phase of the treatment process.

Lying on a table getting ready for a CT scan or radiation can be very stressful. But in a particular room at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer, patients can look around at different screens. It's the only kind of setup like it in the world, and patient can select their very own images.

While the center is located in Burbank, doctors say the library, education and survivorship programs are open to anyone.

Disney is the parent company of ABC.