Francine Shanfield

Francine Shanfield

When Francine Shanfield was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she knew it was a serious situation that demanded the best medical care available. But at the same time, she says, she never felt the panic or fear that many patients experience when first diagnosed with cancer.

“For some reason, I was pretty calm about it from the start,” says Shanfield, a Simsbury resident who was treated by Dr. Kristen Zarfos, a breast surgeon at The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. “Some people think you have to go out of state, but I had a confident feeling from the outset that I had found a team of top notch doctors right here in Connecticut.”

Shanfield, 57, had many reasons to feel confident, most notably because her cancer was detected in the early stages. Married with two grown children, Shanfield says she also felt immediately comfortable with Zarfos and her staff, who have offices at The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s Comprehensive Breast Health Center in Plainville. The center is part of a newly built facility that sits directly on the Plainville-New Britain town line, adjoining a spacious and welcoming new cancer center on the New Britain side.

Shanfield’s cancer was quickly and efficiently diagnosed using the latest in imaging technology, and Zarfos set up an appointment to surgically remove Shanfield’s tumor less than two months later. Because the procedure went smoothly, Shanfield did not require extensive follow-up treatment options such as chemotherapy or radiation. Instead, she was asked to return for a series of examinations to ensure that the cancer was entirely gone.

Six months later, there are no signs that the cancer has returned. Shanfield credits the expertise and resources available through the cancer program within The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC), but also attributes her experience to the caring nature of the specialists who treated her.

“It was amazing how much everyone paid attention to me as a person,” she says. “I never felt like I was just another patient. That made such a difference in eliminating any anxiety I might have felt.”

Zarfos says the kind of care that Shanfield received represents the guiding mission behind the cancer program at HOCC.

“We want our patients to benefit from our range of resources, our technology and our staff of experts and specialists, all under the same roof in an atmosphere of compassion and caring,” she says.

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