Cancer institute celebrates one year and 150 patients

The Northeastern Oklahoma Cancer Institute celebrated on year in Claremore Friday with free music, food and snow cones.

They were also celebrating the treatment of 150 patients with state-of-the-art machinery and a dedicated staff.

Dr. Diane Heaton, the lead oncologist for the facility, said she was proud of her team for successfully making it through the first year.

“We are the only new enterprise cancer institute that has been built in Oklahoma in 10 years,” Heaton said. “It’s really neat that we made it this far.”

In addition to being a resource for Northeast Oklahoma that doesn’t require driving into Tulsa, the cancer institute also has a radiation oncology machine that puts most others to shame for its speed and precision.

“We are able to treat patients rapidly and with much more comfort,” Heaton said.

The Varian Halcyon machine that the facility uses completes radiation therapy in five minutes, as opposed to the 15 to 20 minute average of most radiation machines.

“It has been such a blessing for our patients,” Heaton said. Especially for those with mobility issues or who are experiencing extreme pain.

The Northeaster Oklahoma Cancer Institute has been recognized as a site of excellence by the Varian manufacturer.

However, Heaton added, the institute would not have survived its first year in Claremore without its dedicated staff.

“The machine is just a machine, but without the people, it is nothing,” she said.

Heaton said she was excited to bring this practice to Claremore, where it can reach a rural area.

“Typically you have to compromise for smaller communities,” she said. “This is not a compromise.”