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Montefiore opens first-stop cancer center on Jarrett Pl.

Remember when your friend was diagnosed with cancer? Remember how your friend schlepped from doctor to doctor? The surgeon. The radiologist. The therapist. The psychologist. Remember the frustration and fatigue?

Forget about it. On Wednesday, October 7, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine opened the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Cancer Care on Jarrett Place.

Designed as a one-stop shop for Montefiore patients newly diagnosed with cancer, the center will handle up to 3,500 visits a year when fully operational, administrator Beverly Michael said. Surgeons, radiologists, therapists and psychologists will team up to treat patients at the 8,200 square foot center, and then huddle to discuss plans for care.

“The idea is to focus on the patient,” director Steven Libutti said. “The idea is to put different doctors in the same environment, so that the patient doesn’t need to travel.”

The center sits on the Montefiore Jarrett Place campus, steps from the Montefiore radiation therapy and Montefiore outpatient oncology clinics, and represents collaboration between Montefiore and Einstein, a top research institution.

Einstein performs many clinical trials, often in partnership with the National Institutes of Health. At the new cancer center, Einstein nurses will guide patients to clinical trials.

Super doctors and nurses will flock to the center in order to work alongside and learn from knowledgeable colleagues, Montefiore vice president Robert Conaty said. The center will also appeal to pharmaceutical firms eager to run tests, Conaty added.

Anne Faustin of the American Cancer Society in the Bronx praised the new center. Doctors diagnose 5,200 Bronx residents with cancer each year; cancer claims 39 Bronx residents each week, Faustin said.

“We’re thrilled about the center,” she added. “It will complement the work we do.”

The center occupies the first floor of a two-story building. Montefiore plans to renovate and add the second floor of the building to the center in 2010. Painted in soft green and browns, the center is designed to soothe.

“Cancer concierges” will greet patients at confidential counters in a spacious waiting room. “Nurse navigators” will shepherd patients through treatment from diagnosis to resolution, Libutti said.

The center boasts an on-site phlebotomy lab, so patients won’t need to wait long for blood test results. Doctors will discuss treatment in video-equipped conferences rooms.

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