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Cancer center at Davis Memorial a good investment

Thousands of West Virginians are in a war today, Sunday, July 16, 2000.

The front lines: Their homes, where they're trying to win against cancer.

It's a war where the battles are often brutal: In addition to the devastating effects of the different kinds of cancer, there are also the terrible side effects from some of the treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation.

Lance Armstrong, well on his way to winning the Tour de France, has called his struggle with cancer and cancer treatment comparable to nothing else he's faced, including the grueling, more than 2,000-mile long Tour.

For West Virginians who have cancer, there's yet another problem. Medical care for cancer is often far away, across winding, mountain roads.

And treatments such as radiation are often necessary 15 minutes a day, five days a week, for six weeks.

Because those ill with cancer often cannot drive after their treatments, that can mean staying overnight, or finding someone willing to drive them.

That's been the case in part of our region. In Randolph County, and other counties nearby in the rugged Monongahela National Forest, getting treatment for cancer often means a trip to Clarksburg or Morgantown.

But soon, they will have another choice: A special center for cancer radiation treatments at Davis Memorial Hospital in Randolph County.

Davis Memorial officials decided to open the center after a a review of health statistics showed cancer and heart disease would become egregious problems for West Virginia's aging population over the next 10 years.

Davis Memorial's decision will be a great benefit for the people of Randolph County and its environs.

Cancer victims will not have to travel so far, for one thing. And businesses from outside the state -- and people, for that matter -- may consider that available medical service an important plus in deciding whether to relocate in the resource-rich area near and in the national forest.

That, in our opinion, makes the new unit's cost of $3 million a bargain.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of both the Exponent and Telegram editorial boards.

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