A Place for Patients

Criser Cancer Resource Center offers variety of services to patients

The twice-weekly yoga classes at the Criser Cancer Resource Center are a bright spot in Roberta Benton’s cancer treatment regimen.

“You feel better (because of the yoga) and then you get to meet these positive-thinking people,” she said. “Everybody’s there because they want to be there and they also think that yoga helps them in their daily life.”

Benton, who has multiple myeloma and is a breast cancer survivor, said several months of consistent yoga sessions chased away her neuropathy. Neuropathy, common in cancer patients, caused significant pain in her leg.

“That was the only change in my life, so I attribute it to the yoga,” she explained.

Established through a gift from Marshall and Paula Criser, the center exists to help patients such as Benton and their families deal with the challenges presented by a cancer diagnosis or long hospital stay. The center is located off the lobby of the Shands Cancer Hospital at UF and is open to anyone for free.

Marshall Criser is president emeritus of UF and a former president of Shands HealthCare’s board of directors.

In addition to yoga, the center offers dance, meditation, visual arts workshops, movement sessions for Parkinson’s patients, group breathing sessions, high tea, arts and crafts activities and supplies, a collection of health-care resources, DVDs available for check-out, creative writing resources, caregiver support groups and computers with Internet access.

Through the center, Shands Arts in Medicine workers handle requests for visual art, music, meditation, relaxation and gentle yoga techniques at patients’ bedsides.

Lauren Arce, R.N., is the center’s resource coordinator. She also works two shifts a week as a nurse on the hospital’s hematology/oncology floor.

She said she loves the opportunity to help others through her work at the Criser Cancer Resource Center.

“We all have what life is about for us and, for me, it’s about interpersonal connection with others,” she said.

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Spring 2011

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The UF Shands Cancer Center is one of fewer than 20 centers across the country and the first in Florida to debut Intrabeam, a promising type of radiation that could transform the way breast cancer is treated.

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Her husband placed the newspaper by her chair, carefully positioned so the article would be the first thing she saw. When Janice Northrup glanced at it, she discovered the answer she’d been praying to find.

Too Many Surgical Breast Biopsies?

Thousands of women receive unnecessary surgical breast biopsies in Florida each year, University of Florida researchers state in an article recently published online by the American Journal of Surgery.

A Place for Patients

Yoga classes at the Criser Cancer Resource Center are one of many ways the center helps patients and their families deal with the challenges presented by a cancer diagnosis or long hospital stay.

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