The Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center offers advanced therapies and treatment options based on years of extensive local and national research studies. We offer these cutting-edge treatments to our patients in the hope that, together, we can battle this disease, and we can win.
Our experienced team of providers includes nationally-recognized medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, and hematologists. We also have mental health professionals, chaplains, registered dietitians, and other supportive practitioners on our team to treat the whole person — medically, emotionally, and spiritually. The Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center houses everything you need for personalized care to meet your unique and individual needs.
In addition to treating cancer, we also have an innovative cancer prevention program that can help you identify if you are at risk for certain cancers based on hereditary and lifestyle factors. Once identified, our team will work with you on lifestyle changes to decrease your risk factors.
Breast Cancer Survivor
Patient Norman Smith and Dr. Susan Tannenbaum
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Smith. “I have never heard of men getting breast cancer.”
“Thanks to UConn I am looking forward to a happy rest of my life,” said Smith. “The UConn experience was great. All my doctors proactively coordinated all my care needs. It really made my cancer journey as efficient and easy as possible.”“The new Outpatient Pavilion facility is absolutely awesome. Same great people caring for you but the atmosphere is so quiet and relaxing that it really helps patients like me deal better with our cancer care visits and infusions.”
Smith is now passionate about raising awareness about male breast cancer for his sons and all other men.
Breast Cancer Survivor
Patient Christine Bennett and Dr. Peter Deckers
When Christine Bennett first discovered the lump in her breast in November 2011, she did what so many women are inclined to do at first: She ignored it. “My first thought was, ‘It’s nothing. It will go away,’” Christine recalls. “Ignorance is bliss. You don’t want to think anything’s wrong.”
When the lump was still there three weeks later, though, Christine scheduled a mammogram, which was several months overdue. The screening and subsequent testing showed that Christine had breast cancer. Dr. Peter Deckers performed a mastectomy on December 30, 2011, and Christine began chemotherapy under the care of medical oncologist Dr. Susan Tannenbaum. Plastic surgeon Dr. Rajiv Chandawarkar performed reconstructive surgery.
Christine would have chemotherapy for a year, beginning with weekly treatments. A UConn Health employee since 2008, she would have chemo every Monday morning, then go to her job in Health Care Administration. “I tried very hard to live a normal life,” Christine says. “If you stay home, you tell yourself you’re sick. If you’re at work, you can feel as if you’re not sick.” She felt as if keeping up her normal routines also made things easier on her family. While her children are grown and on their own, her elderly mother lives with her, and Christine tried to spare her from worry.
Still, the treatments that were saving her life also took their toll. She struggled with nausea and fatigue—and the loss of her hair. “The first time I cried was the morning I shaved my head,” Christine says. “But then I said, ‘OK, Christine, this is just hair. Get over it.’”
Christine drew strength from her faith and her personal relationship with God. She knew that her family and people all across the country were praying for her recovery. “I believe that the Lord asked me to take this walk as a testimony to His care and love. He put these doctors in my life for a reason. They took care of me, and I’m fine,” she says, adding, “I truly feel blessed to have gone through this trial.”
Christine worked on the committee that planned the UConn Health’s July 14, 2013, Cancer Survivors Day at the Rock Cats Stadium in New Britain. She and nearly all of her children attended. She was especially excited to be part of it because her son was tapped to sing “America the Beautiful” at the start of the baseball game.
More than 18 months after discovering that lump, Christine has a new perspective on the care provided at UConn’s Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I would never go anywhere else but UConn,” Christine says. “They’ve taken such amazing care of me. If anyone comes to UConn Health for care, they’re in the best place they could be.”
Her experience has given her a new perspective on life, as well. “I know now that I can do more and handle more than I thought I could,” Christine says. “I never thought I could handle cancer, but I did.”
Colon Cancer Survivor
Tina M. Ponder
Patient Tina M. Ponder and Drs. David McFadden, Molly Brewer, and Jessica Clement
My journey with stage 4 colon cancer started back in 2014 and at the time I thought it was just a pesky growing fibroid tumor that was causing me such pain.
I had to have over six blood transfusions while in the hospital. After a colonoscopy revealed a cancerous tumor, I underwent dual surgery of a full hysterectomy and colorectal surgery removing 12 inches of intestine and three tumors that had attached to my Fallopian tubes. Drs. McFadden and Brewer did a fantastic job of getting me through a scary ordeal.
The UConn John Dempsey Hospital has been amazing to me and my family. They always told me what was happening throughout my treatment and always followed through.
What I loved most about the oncology staff at UConn was that they didn’t just treat me as the patient. They cared for my entire family. At Christmastime, they provided gifts for me and my family that we were in no way able to afford at the time.
Patient Andrew D. and Dr. Upendra P. Hegde
When the cancer metastasized, Dr. Hegde was ready with a plan of action.
First, I highly recommend Dr. Hegde as a truly great physician. He has always listened to me and discussed my treatment and options from the very beginning. Early on, he directed me for a second opinion at the National Cancer Institute. The doctors at NCI assured me that the course of action Dr. Hegde prescribed at UConn was the best course of treatment currently available to me.
When the cancer metastasized, Dr. Hegde was ready with a plan of action. I am currently undergoing treatment at the UConn Infusion Center, Farmington, CT where everyone is always very helpful, cheerful and friendly. Now located on the 4th floor of the new outpatient building, the Infusion Center is beautiful and efficiently run. I am so grateful at how easy the nurses have made everything for me. I could not be more thankful.
Prostate Cancer Survivor
Patient Raymond Vail and Dr. Peter Albertsen
When Raymond Vail was diagnosed with prostate cancer he put his trust in Dr. Peter Albertsen, an internationally known urologist and prostate cancer researcher. Vail was not disappointed. He’s cancer free and credits Dr. Albertsen for giving him a second chance at life.