At the Cancer Care Center of Maine the staff has seen an increase in just about everything over the years including the number of patients and physicians.The one thing that hasn’t grown is the size of their facility. “It’s been a shuffling of staff, a shuffling of offices,” says Ambie Hayes-Crosby, a C0linical Research Nurse Manager, “all the while trying to maintain a spacious area for the patients which is why we’re really in a pinch now and that is we’ve got this great cancer center coming.” They serve about 250 patients daily at the facility, now located at Eastern Maine Medical Center, but the center is only equipped to handle half that many. Besides having one of the oldest populations in the nation, Maine also has the highest cancer rate of any state. There are other key factors that have contributed to the rise in patients at the center. “We have new new treatments that are are buying more and longer lives for patients,” says Hayes-Crosby, “so therefore we have patients living longer, we’re in the disease of cancer which has become more chronic than it has become acute.”More patients means a bigger workload for staff. “We’ve extended our hours, depending on day-to-day, it depends on what time we get out, we can be here until 7:30 treating patients just to fit everybody in,” says Carol Guptill. She’s a radiation and oncology manager with 41 years of experience.The extra time and effort the staff puts in does not go unnoticed by the patients, like Paula Harmon who commutes from Hancock County to recieve her treatment. “Wonderful, wonderful care, people always concerned,” says Harmon, “you know, they’re always asking you how are you doing, how are you today, can I help you, and any issues, do you have any pain.” Harmon was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, and again in 2006, and has come to the center for all of her treatments. She hopes she doesn’t see much of the new facility in Brewer but she does think the extra space will be crucial for the care and treatment of other cancer patients. “One of the nice things is when people come and they have to be treated for many different illnesses, they’re like a group, a community group that gets to talk and I think that space will be a big difference to do that type of support system and talk to each other.” While the new facility will have a plethora of new and improved amenities, there is one thing the old center here provides that they will carry over to their new place: Hope.”Again the whole hope that people are surviving, and surviving, and surviving,” says Harmon, “unfortunately this has a terrible name called cancer but we all have to deal with things in our life, we have to move on and deal and let’s go on, it’s a great life!”The new facility is scheduled to start seeing patients on December 14th if all goes according to plan. For more information on the new facility in Brewer, you can see the website at www.championthecure.org.