Mission Hope Cancer Center celebrates 5th anniversary

Facility has treated 5,500 patients since opening

Mission Hope Cancer Center celebrates...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Five years have now passed since cancer treatment on the Central Coast was forever changed. In April 2012, Mission Hope Cancer Center in Santa Maria opened its doors, providing the area with its first fully integrated advanced comprehensive cancer care facility.

"We've been thrilled over the last five years," said medical director Dr. Robert Dichmann. "I think Mission Hope has turned out to be everything we wanted it to be and more, and so we've been able to do a lot for our patients over that time period, which has been great both here in the facility and in terms of the support we've been able to offer them as well."

Dr. Dichmann, who was one of the leading forces in the creation of the 44,000 square-foot, three-story building, is particularly proud the facility is able to offer so many services under one roof, many of which were not available in the area when the center first opened.

"We've been able to make life so much easier for our patients by being able to come for everything in one place, whether that's lab work or their CT scan or the PET scans or radiation treatment or chemotherapy treatment," said Dr. Dichmann.

Cancer patients like Thomas Puerling of Orcutt appreciate the convenience Mission Hope provides in their treatment.

"It's all in one building," Puerling said. "The radiation is on the first floor, the doctors are on the second, and the chemo and infusion is on the third floor."

With so many services now available in Santa Maria, many patients no longer have to endure long trips out of the area to receive life saving treatment.

"You're going through all this stuff," said patient Susan Rodriguez. "All the treatment and the side affects and the emotions, the financial stresses, and the fact that I just drive across town for treatment was a blessing. I couldn't imagine having to drive an hour, two hours to receive all the treatment that I've had here. It's just incredible that it's right here in our backyard."

The Orcutt resident is currently going through treatment for breast cancer. She says the care she's receiving goes beyond just medical treatment.

"The doctors have all been excellent," said Rodriguez. "They've all been great. The doctors and nurses take a lot of time with you and explain everything. I never felt like I was rushed or that they were waiting to get to the next patient."

Patients are able to access free transportation, either on the center's van or car, both of which were provided by the popular Cruzin' for Life fundraiser that is held each year in Santa Maria.

"We've literally have driven people in our vans from the valley, Solvang, Lompoc, Five Cities, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, even above the (Cuesta) Grade coming to see us," said Dr. Dichmann.

Mission Hope also provides a vast and varied array of other support services, including massage therapy, acupuncture, classes from yoga to nutrition to golf to art and much more.

"You kind of forget while you're there, why you're there," said Puerling. "It's absolutely marvelous."

Since its opening, the center has treated 5,500 patients. They have come from all corners of the Central Coast, including 335 who have gone through clinical trials.

That allows us to offer them not only the latest treatment, but actually treatment that's not even approved yet," said Dr. Dichmann. "We've been fortunate to see many of the drugs that we've been using in these research protocols to actually go on to be approved by the FDA, so those patients were getting treatment well before they would have normally been through those clinical trials."

Making everything possible is a dedicated team of physicians, nurses and support staff who one singular mission; to fight and beat cancer.

"You can build a great building and a great facility, but it means nothing if you don't have the right people in it and we've have been very fortunate to have tremendous staff from top to bottom," said Dichmann.

Dr. Dichmann notes Mission Hope continues to bring in new specialists, thus further enhancing its services.

"We've added positions," said Dr. Dichmann. "We have two new medical oncologists. We've got Dr. (Cheryl) Decker, who is serving as our survivorship doctor and genetic counselor. We've also got Dr. (Christopher) Lutman, who is our new gynecologist.

For motorists who pass Mission Hope will traveling on Main Street, the facility may look like an ordinary building from the outside, but for those who relay upon its services inside, it means much more.

"It's a lifesaver, yes it is and thank God for that," said Puerling.

"This place saved has saved my life," said Rodriguez. "I'm just so blessed I'm here at mission hope is here to help me."

On Tuesday, April 11, the annual Day of Hope fundraiser will raise money to benefit Mission Hope patients. Hundreds of volunteers will sell special edition $1 Santa Maria Times newspapers in an effort to raise money.

The event will be held from 7 a.m. to noon in Santa Maria, Orcutt, Lompoc and Nipomo.

For more information, visit <a data-cke-saved-href="http://Five years have now passed since cancer treatment on the Central Coast was forever changed. In April 2012, Mission Hope Cancer Center in Santa Maria opened its doors, providing the area with its first fully integrated advanced comprehensive cancer care facility. " href="http://Five years have now passed since cancer treatment on the Central Coast was forever changed. In April 2012, Mission Hope Cancer Center in Santa Maria opened its doors, providing the area with its first fully integrated advanced comprehensive cancer care facility. " we've="" been="" thrilled="" over="" the="" last="" five="" years,"="" said="" medical="" director="" dr.="" robert="" dichmann.="" "i="" think="" mission="" hope="" has="" turned="" out="" to="" be="" everything="" we="" wanted="" it="" and="" more,="" so="" able="" do="" a="" lot="" for="" our="" patients="" that="" time="" period,="" which="" great="" both="" here="" in="" facility="" terms="" of="" support="" offer="" them="" as="" well."="" dichmann,="" who="" was="" one="" leading="" forces="" creation="" 44,000="" square-foot,="" three-story="" is="" particularly="" proud="" many="" services="" under="" roof,="" which,="" were="" not="" available="" area="" when="" center="" opened.="" "we've="" make="" life="" much="" easier="" by="" being="" come="" place,="" whether="" that's="" lab="" work="" or="" their="" ct="" scan="" pet="" scans="" radiation="" treatment="" chemotherapy="" treatment,"="" cancer="" like="" thomas="" puerling="" orcutt="" appreciate="" convenience="" provides="" treatment.="" "it's="" all="" building,"="" said.="" "the="" on="" first="" floor,="" doctors="" are="" second,="" chemo="" infusion="" third="" floor."="" with="" now="" santa="" maria,="" no="" longer="" have="" endure="" long="" trips="" receive="" saving="" "you're="" going="" through="" this="" stuff,"="" patient="" susan="" rodriguez.="" "all="" side="" affects="" emotions,="" financial="" stresses,="" fact="" i="" just="" drive="" across="" town="" blessing.="" couldn't="" imagine="" having="" an="" hour,="" two="" hours="" i've="" had="" here.="" it's="" incredible="" right="" backyard."="" resident="" currently="" breast="" cancer.="" she="" says="" care="" she's="" receiving="" goes="" beyond="" excellent,"="" "they've="" great.="" nurses="" take="" you="" explain="" everything.="" never="" felt="" rushed="" they="" waiting="" get="" next="" patient.="" really="" you."="" access="" free="" transportation,="" either="" center's="" van="" car,="" provided="" popular="" cruzin'="" fundraiser="" held="" each="" year="" maria.="" literally="" driven="" people="" vans="" from="" valley,="" solvang,="" lompoc,="" cities,="" morro="" bay,="" san="" luis="" obispo,="" even="" above="" (cuesta)="" grade="" coming="" see="" us,"="" also="" vast="" varied="" array="" other="" services,="" including="" massage="" therapy,="" acupuncture,="" classes="" yoga="" nutrition="" golf="" art="" more.="" "you="" kind="" forget="" while="" you're="" there,="" why="" there,"="" puerling.="" absolutely="" marvelous."="" since="" its="" opening,="" treated="" 5,500="" corners="" central="" coast,="" 335="" gone="" clinical="" trials."="" allows="" us="" only="" latest="" treatment,="" but="" actually="" approved="" yet,"="" fortunate="" drugs="" using="" these="" research="" protocols="" go="" fda,="" those="" getting="" well="" before="" would="" normally="" making="" possible="" dedicated="" team="" physicians,="" staff="" singular="" mission;="" fight="" beat="" can="" build="" building="" facility,="" means="" nothing="" if="" don't="" very="" tremendous="" top="" bottom,"="" dichmann="" notes="" continues="" bring="" new="" specialists,="" thus="" further="" enhancing="" services.="" added="" positions,"="" "we="" oncologists.="" got="" (cheryl)="" decker,="" serving="" survivorship="" doctor="" genetic="" counselor.="" (christopher)="" lutman,="" gynecologist.="" motorists="" pass="" will="" traveling="" main="" street,="" may="" look="" ordinary="" outside,="" relay="" upon="" inside,="" lifesaver,="" yes="" thank="" god="" that,"="" "this="" place="" saved="" my="" life,"="" "i'm="" blessed="" i'm="" at="" help="" me."="" tuesday,="" april="" 11,="" annual="" day="" raise="" money="" benefit="" patients.="" hundreds="" volunteers="" sell="" special="" edition="" $1="" maria="" times="" newspapers="" effort="" money.="" event="" 7="" a.m.="" noon="" orcutt,="" lompoc="" nipomo.="" more="" information,="" visit="" https:="""" marian-foundation-home-page"="">

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