Cancer Survivor Attributes Hope to HMFW Cancer Resource Library
04/12/2006

FORT WORTH, Texas – Dianne Blankenstein could hardly believe the diagnosis she received from her physician in the summer of 2003. How could she have ovarian cancer when her ovaries had been removed during a hysterectomy years earlier? But it was true. Microscopic ovarian tissue harboring cancerous cells remained in her pelvis following her hysterectomy and grew into a tumor nearly the size of a tennis ball.

The mass was surgically removed on Aug. 11, 2003, but Blankenstein awoke to the news that she still faced six rounds of intensive chemotherapy. Her mind was filled with so many questions about her diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis.

“I wanted to know everything,” Blankenstein said. “I wanted to understand what was happening to me.”

Blankenstein found the answers to her questions at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital's Cancer Resource Library, an integral part of the services offered at the hospital's Klabzuba Cancer Center. It is also where she met Meg Wagner, MLS, RN, medical librarian.

“It was amazing how she could always find the answers among all of the library's resources,” Blankenstein said. “The kind of ovarian cancer I have is not a common type, yet Meg found very useful information about it in a book about female cancers. When my hair and eyelashes started falling out, she found a book about that, too. Every step of the way, every crisis I encountered, Meg and the library's resources were there with the information I needed. It gave me hope. It changed my outlook and my life.”

National Commission Takes Note
Blankenstein's story is just one example of why, in March, the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Services (NCLIS) named the Cancer Resource Library the Texas state finalist for the 2006 Health Awards for Libraries. As the federal agency charged with advising the president and Congress on national and international library services, the NCLIS recognized the Cancer Resource Library because of its commitment to provide free cancer-related information and resources that help citizens learn how to live healthy lifestyles.

Celebrating a Decade of Progress
The recognition comes at a fitting time as the Klabzuba Cancer Center and Cancer Resource Library celebrate a decade of providing Tarrant County residents cancer prevention, screening, education, medical care and support. Since opening in 1996, the cancer center and library have offered hope and answers to thousands of cancer patients and their family members. In 2005, the library provided information or referrals for more than 2,000 individuals who visited, telephoned or e-mailed with requests for help in evaluating the enormous amount of information that confronts them when faced with cancer-related risk factors or a cancer diagnosis.
“The Klabzuba Cancer Center has truly been a community partner over the last decade in dealing with the full spectrum of cancer issues, and the Cancer Resource Library is a great example of how we can create services that match the unique needs of the people we serve,” said Susan Shields, director of the cancer care services at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital. “We continue to look for opportunities across the continuum of cancer care where we can make a difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones.”

In fact, the most recent opportunity will make the Klabzuba Cancer Center the first in Texas to add the newest version of a breakthrough treatment technology known as the G-4 (generation four) CyberKnife® System. The G-4 CyberKnife System is the next generation in non-invasive, image-guided radiosurgery systems used to destroy cancerous or benign solid tumors anywhere in the body with sub-millimeter accuracy. According to its manufacturer, the system uses intelligent robotics to continuously track, detect and correct for tumor and patient movement throughout the treatment. Harris' Klabzuba Cancer Center will begin offering CyberKnife treatment in the third quarter of 2006.

Walking for Hope, Progress and Answers
The cancer center is once again partnering with another integral community resource – the American Cancer Society (ACS) – to raise awareness about cancer prevention and to celebrate survivorship at Fort Worth's annual Relay for Life beginning at 6 p.m. on April 28. To celebrate 10 years of the Klabzuba Cancer Center's dedication to education, prevention and treatment of cancer, HMFW employees, physicians on the medical staff, cancer survivors, patients and their family members will join the ACS in its Relay For Life

As for Blankenstein, she completed chemotherapy and has been cancer free for the past two years. She went from using the library as a resource to being one of its most trusted resources as a spokeswoman for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. She often visits the library to drop off new information, to keep Wagner informed of newly discovered ovarian cancer resources and to offer an ear and understanding heart to newly diagnosed patients.

“I've evolved into the circle of resources by working with cancer patients and supporting them through recovery, and I attribute a large part of that to my connection with the library,” Blankenstein said proudly. “It is very important for me to get the word out, and with the help of the library, I'll keep doing it… this from someone who used to be very shy and introverted. This experience has literally changed my life.”

For more information about the Klabzuba Cancer Center's Cancer Resource Library at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, log on to www.texashealth.org/hmfw/cancerlibrary.

About Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital
Opened in 1930, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital is a Magnet-designated hospital, and Tarrant County's largest and busiest hospital and regional referral center. A member of Texas Health Resources, HMFW is licensed for 710 beds and provides the following services: cardiovascular; high risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology; neurosciences; orthopedics and sports medicine; rehabilitation; adult critical care and neonatal intensive care; trauma and emergency medicine; cancer care; medical/surgical; kidney transplants; occupational health; and more. The campus is home to almost 1,000 members of the medical staff, more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and the new state-of-the-art 100-bed Harris Methodist Heart Center. For more information, please call 1-888-4-HARRIS, or visit www.texashealth.org/hmfw.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States. The 13-hospital system is the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served and includes Arlington Memorial Hospital, Harris Methodist Hospitals and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.