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Barnhart Cancer Center celebrates 10th anniversary at Sharp Chula Vista – GNT NEWS

Ten years ago this month, the Douglas and Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center opened at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. It marked an important step in health care for those living in the South Bay, providing a place for treatment, all under one roof.

On Friday, the center reunited two cancer survivors with their oncologist, Dr. Marilyn S. Norton, and caregivers at the center who have been there for their difficult journeys.

“All I knew was that you get cancer and you die,” said Don Rice, a two-time cancer survivor. “I knew nothing about cancer.”

76-year-old Rice was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2006 and colon cancer in 2016.

Snooky Juarez-Rico, 64, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. She said she knew something was wrong but didn’t follow her instincts to get checked.

Chemotherapy was difficult.

“I have to say, this warrior, this warrior wanted to stop. I wanted to stop,” she said.

Both credit their survival, from doctors and caregivers to a so-called “navigator” who helped them through every step of the process, including support groups. The convenience of having all the treatments — chemotherapy, infusions, radiation, etc. — also helps. — in one place.

Oncologist Dr. Marilyn S. Norton has been at the center since it opened in the fall of 2012. Since then, it has treated 8,600 patients.

“A patient can say, ‘OK, there’s a cancer center in Chula Vista. I don’t have to leave my hometown; I don’t have to drive an hour in traffic.’”

Ten years of helping people on their journeys. Time to celebrate. It’s time to remind people that prevention is key.

“If I hadn’t had that colonoscopy, I wouldn’t be talking to you today. It’s one of the most important things you could ever do,” Rice said.

“The journey doesn’t have to be yours,” Juarez-Rico said. People can walk you through it, but get you a mammogram.”

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