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Sarasota Memorial’s comprehensive Cancer Institute is moving forward, with premier facilities being built this year to house services across the entire continuum of cancer care — from prevention, screening and diagnosis to treatment, clinical trials, and lifetime follow-up, survivorship care and support. 
Last month, SMH broke ground on the first phase of its comprehensive cancer program, a new Radiation Oncology Center that will offer the most advanced radiation therapy and treatment technology in the community when it opens at SMH’s University Parkway campus in the summer of 2020.   
The new facility will be the health system’s first Radiation Oncology Center. 

The 17,000-square-foot center will include:

  • Two state-of-the-art linear accelerators for external beam radiation, designed to destroy cancer cells while leaving normal cells intact;
  • A CT simulator to define the location, shape, and size of treatment area;
  • Integrative care services to support a holistic approach to patient care;
  • Radiation oncology physician offices;
  • Serenity Patio to promote healing and enhance the patient experience.

The Sarasota County Public Hospital Board approved $220 million last year to develop a comprehensive Cancer Institute to care for a growing number of cancer patients in Southwest Florida. 

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed in their lifetime –approximately 1.7 million people in our country last year.
Florida tops the nation, second only to California. As the area’s population grows – and grows older – the impact on the local community will be significant. 

“Cancer is one of the most complex conditions to treat – as unique as each individual patient,” said SMH Chief Medical Officer James Fiorica, MD, at the groundbreaking ceremony. “There is a massive amount of research and data helping us to personalize and target individual cancers more effectively than ever before. And with that information, we can personalize treatments rather than rely on the old trial-and-error regimes. 

“But it takes tremendous coordination and collaboration across multiple subspecialties and disciplines to accurately diagnose, stage and develop those targeted treatments. That’s where a comprehensive cancer center like Sarasota Memorial can really make a difference,” he said. 
Ensuring cancer patients have access to   state-of-the-art radiation therapy at the University Parkway site is just the first step in the hospital’s cancer care plans.
This spring, construction also will begin on a new oncology tower on the main campus that will consolidate inpatient and surgical cancer care services in a 170,000 square-foot facility that will include:

  • Dedicated tower entrance, lobby and reception area;
  • Two upper floors with 56 private suites for hospitalized cancer patients;
  • Nine new operating rooms with dedicated robotic surgery suite;
  • Integrative care services offering patient navigation and family/caregiver support;
  • Clinical meeting area to host multidisciplinary care conferences;
  • Connectivity to the main hospital, ensuring critical 24/7 access to other clinical and emergency care services;
  • Rooftop café offering healthy menu options.

he main campus tower is projected to open in the Fall of 2021.
A third phase, still in preliminary planning, will include an outpatient cancer pavilion on SMH’s main campus, across from the oncology tower on Waldemere Street, pending necessary approvals.
When complete, the new Institute will serve as a center of excellence that offers services across the entire continuum of cancer care.
“Cancer patients will not have to leave home to access the latest research, technologies and subspecialists – our team will provide the multi-disciplinary care needed to support patients through recovery and beyond,” said SMH Chief Operating Officer Lorrie Liang at the radiation oncology center groundbreaking ceremony.

Even as our new facilities are built, SMH’s cancer care team is assuming a much greater role in managing patient care. 
“Our research team is meeting weekly to ensure greater coordination and integration across providers and a collaborative approach that focuses on best practice, the latest research and evidence-based treatment options and protocols.” Dr. Fiorica noted at the University Parkway construction event.

In addition, a Patient Advisory Group has been convened to help give feedback and suggestions as SMH plans the new Cancer Institute.

“Their input has been invaluable in helping us to identify priority areas and create an environment that provides hope, healing and support. “ said Lorrie.
Look for more updates as Cancer Institute plans move forward.  

Courtesy of SMH Messenger

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