It’s hard to find someone among us who hasn’t had a friend or loved one affected by cancer. Early detection is key, but some people may not know where to start.
A new cancer center set to open May 4 in Fairfax, Virginia, can help, bringing patients the latest in technology, screenings and access to clinical trials, all under one roof.
"This actual center doesn't exist anywhere else in the DMV, and it's very unique. Only a few centers exist like this across the country," said executive director Dr. Rebecca Kaltman.
The Inova Saville Cancer Screening and Prevention Center will be the first of its kind in Northern Virginia. It's designed to be a one-stop shop to not only detect the disease but prevent it. Anyone can make an appointment, and referrals are not needed.
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"We're starting to see a shift, especially with the interest of President Biden's cancer moonshot on cancer prevention, that really the way we're going to fight cancer is actually preventing it from the beginning," said Kaltman.
The doctor said more than 40% of cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes related to diet, exercise, stress and sleep management. That’s part of the strategy here.
"We'll be doing biometric assessments on everybody that comes into our clinic to assess whether they could optimize diet or could optimize exercise within their plan to actually help prevent those risk factors that we know can increase one's risk for developing cancer as well as other diseases," Kaltman said.
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The facility is cutting-edge in terms of technology, with new tools to screen for several types of cancer, including skin cancer.
"Our melanoma screening group uses VECTRA imaging, which is a 3D record of the entire surface of one's skin and then enables the dermatologists to more aptly and appropriately target different lesions on somebody's skin for potential worrisome findings or changes," Kaltman said.
The new space is in the pavilion of INOVA Schar Cancer Institute and also offers genetic testing to identify those at high risk for cancer, and opportunities for clinical trials.
Kaltman said the goal is to get people back on track –– reaching out to the 9 million people who skipped cancer screenings nationwide during the pandemic.
"We really hope that being in a familiar space in a place where you can get pretty much everything done will make it easier for those screenings to happen," she said.
The facility was made possible thanks to a $20 million donation by Paul and Linda Saville in 2020.