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Sunday, November 7, 2010

St. Rae’s Cancer Center launches head, neck cancer support group

NEW HAVEN - The Father Michael J. McGivney Center for Cancer Care at the Hospital of Saint Raphael this fall started a new support group for people suffering from head and neck cancers.
The group has partnered with the national Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer to become the organization’s New Haven chapter, the only one in the New Haven/Fairfield County area, according to a statement.

Head and neck cancers, like the throat cancer afflicting actor Michael Douglas, are the sixth most common kind of cancer in the United States, the statement said..

"These cancers affect upper body structures including the thyroid, nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, throat, lips, mouth and salivary glands and can be deadly as well as disfiguring," the statement said. “Like most cancers, early detection and diagnosis are critical to treatment success rates,” Vanna Dest, organizer of the new Saint Raphael’s support group. said in the statement. “But once the treatment is over, people need the emotional support and a forum to talk about their experience to help them through the healing process. That is the primary purpose for offering this support group.”

The group began in October but welcomes new members, it meets every second Tuesday of the month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the main conference room at the Father Michael J. McGivney Cancer Center, 659 George St.

Free parking is available in the adjacent cancer center lot.

The formation of the support group follows the success of the Hospital of Saint Raphael’s first-ever head and neck cancer screening event in April, which drew more than 130 people, the statement said. A second screening is planned for May 2011.

For more information on the head and neck cancer support group and other Saint Raphael’s cancer support groups, call Vanna Dest at (203) 789-3131.

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