ROGERSVILLE – There are few diseases more terrible than cancer, an incessant ravager with treatments whose side effects are sometimes worse than the symptoms of the disease itself.

One of the most effective treatments – outpatient chemotherapy – is also one of the most trying. Side effects from the cancer-fighting drugs can leave patients fatigued, nauseated and in pain. While in such a state, the last thing a cancer patient wants or needs to do is ride in a car for nearly an hour to get to and from the hospital.

Cancer patients in the Rogersville area will no longer have that problem. Beginning Wednesday, July 3, a new outpatient chemotherapy clinic will open at Hawkins County Memorial Hospital to serve the people of Hawkins County and the surrounding area.

“There is a significant population in the service area of this hospital, but up to this point patients had no access to cancer treatment without driving at least 40 minutes in any direction,” WHCMH President Greg Neal said. “That’s terrible – it’s adding insult to injury. You shouldn’t have to make that trip when you’re already sick.

“Our outpatient chemotherapy clinic will provide convenient, accessible care with the same Wellmont commitment to quality patients have found at the outpatient center at Holston Valley Medical Center. But this will be in their back yard.”

The new clinic is part of HCMH’s growing focus on cancer treatment. Chainarong Limvarapuss, MD, an oncologist with Kingsport Hematology-Oncology Associates, has been making weekly visits to Rogersville for several months to see patients, and he will oversee the new outpatient clinic.

“Cancer will make a patient weak, and having to travel for treatment will only make that patient weaker,” said Dr. Lim, as he is more commonly known. “This will obviously cut down on travel time.

“And by housing the clinic within the hospital, immediate care will be available if there are complications with the treatment.”

The Hawkins County clinic is expected to expand quickly as patients become familiar with the facility.

“I helped start an outpatient chemotherapy clinic in Norton, Va., in 1993,” Neal said. “The area was about the same size in terms of population, and we started with about the same set-up we’ll have here.

 “That clinic has grown to the point that there is now one full-time physician at the clinic, and they’ll probably add another in the near future. We expect to see the same pattern here.”


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