Patient's Who Have a Choice, Choose Payson Center for Cancer Care
In August of 2017, Ray Luscinski learned from Lahey Clinic doctors in Burlington, Mass., that he had neck cancer. He then had a choice of where to seek his cancer treatment. When he consulted with a specialist in Manchester, he learned that he could receive care at an excellent cancer center much closer to his home in Newbury — Concord Hospital Payson Center for Cancer Care.
“I was told ‘You have a world-class facility in Concord,’” Ray said. He and his wife, Betsey, chose Payson Center for Ray’s radiation and chemotherapy and are very happy they did.
Ray, who is 58, underwent seven weeks of daily treatment in the fall of 2017 for squamous cell carcinoma. He and Betsey were relieved by the warm welcome, pleasantly surprised by the state-of-the-art facilities and treatment technology and very gratified by the compassionate care.
Ray’s radiation therapy was delivered with Payson Center’s new TrueBeam™ linear accelerator. It provides highly penetrating radiation beams, which are shaped to conform to a patient’s tumor. The device also includes a special table that enables very precise positioning of the patient for radiation treatment that is less harmful to healthy tissue.
Ray and Betsey felt they were the center of a vast treatment team, with nurse navigator Caitlin Roberts making sure everything came together.
“She got me in touch with the right people in the radiation and medical oncology departments, nutrition and everyone else I needed to deal with my issue,” said Ray. “Caitlin was my team leader and if I didn’t have her, I wouldn’t have had one common voice in the Hospital. That settled my nerves a lot.”
Betsey said having Caitlin and such a comprehensive team caring for Ray was very reassuring.
“The team let us concentrate on Ray instead of being concerned about everything and wondering where do I go to find answers,” she said. “The answers came to us as soon as we asked the questions, whether they were about nutrition or treatment or anything.”
Betsey, a pharmacist, said Dr. Su Metcalfe, Ray’s radiation oncologist, considered her medication knowledge as part of Ray’s care.
“We bounced a few ideas off each other,” Betsey said. “I was very appreciative that she included me and let me help him. There were times that we figured it out together.”
Ray was impressed with the personal attention that went beyond medical treatment.
“It is not a production line,” he said. “Each doctor talked to us like we were a person, not a number. How often do you go out of an office and get a hug? They care. Everyone – from the radiation oncology department, the medical oncology department, the staff – everyone.”
Because of his successful treatment, Ray rejoined Betsey on the ski slopes, where they teach skiing to special needs adults and children at Mount Sunapee Resort as volunteers for the New England Healing Sports Association. Ray also is looking forward to getting back to his job as an airline pilot for Delta Air Lines.