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Impact of Maggie Daley's cancer center

Monday, November 28, 2011

The cancer center named for the late Maggie Daley has helped countless breast and ovarian cancer patients since it opened a year-and-a-half ago.

The Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care at Northwestern University sees about 1,000 patients a year, offering specific attention to them and their families. The Daleys have asked that in lieu of flowers,donations be made to the center, which not only bears her name but remains as a testament to Maggie Daley and to the way she chose to battle the disease.

Even as the dedication of the Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care took place in April of 2010, Mrs. Daley was showing signs of her declining health. A leg fracture had been diagnosed just a few hours earlier, but as always, she didn't let it stop her from doing what she felt she had to do.

"When people walk into the women's cancer center, which now bears my name, I feel certain they will receive the utmost care possible," Daley said at the April 19, 2010 dedication.

The cancer center, which is one of a handful of its kind in the Midwest, offers what doctors there call "one stop shopping" for breast and ovarian cancer patients, offering an integrated approach that treats not just the cancer, but the person as a whole.

"We have a breast imaging center, we have surgeons, the oncologists, the whole supportive oncology staff, nutritionists, social workers, psychologists, physical therapists, patients can get acupuncture here, a massage," said Dr. Nora Hansen, Maggie Daley Center for Women's Cancer Care.

But the center doesn't just bear Maggie Daley's name. Hansen says the former first lady was an integral part of the Northwestern community for years, lending her name and support to raise awareness. And though Maggie Daley ultimately lost her nine-year battle, she served as an example that even though metastatic cancer is not yet curable, it is manageable.

"Seeing Maggie Daley as a vision of hope has been a tremendous asset to patients and physicians. She really led her battle in such a strong and wonderful way. She let people know that she had breast cancer, but she didn't let the breast cancer beat her," Hansen said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, only 23 percent of all women who develop metastatic breast cancer will survive for more than five years. While the disease still kills about 40,000 women annually, doctors tell us Maggie Daley's example shows that there is a lot more hope than there's been in the past.

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